The British Are Coming

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The British Are Coming
 
By Tom Higgins
 
 
My picture of British climbing?  Oh, I  visualized some fellow gleefully climbing unprotected 5.10(1) far above the ground, or hand jamming ceiling cracks. And, I wasn't far wrong.

While my companion, Bud Couch, and I were touring England, we sought out the Llanberis Pass and Snowdon area, both well-known for keen British rock climbing. Our visit was perhaps the first by American rock climbers; or so we were informed, and so would their notions of American rock climbing indicate. More in the line of rock engineers, "The American boys cling for days and nights to pins and bolts and slings  and .   .   .  things." (Hammocks,  perhaps?) At any rate, difficult American free climbing(2) was unheard of and, in fact, Wales was thought to be the center of severe, unaided climbing. "Not a bolt or piton in these cliffs" also seemed an interesting claim, but true enough, for the British have a startling substitute. Quite simply, they use steel or brass nuts threaded with sling and jammed with a downward tug into cracks. One merely clips into the sling for protection, and later pulls upward for removal!