About me:

Originally from Hull, I now live in Llanberis, North Wales. Totally addicted to climbing, I work at the Indy Climbing wall and as a freelance routesetter to fund my dirty habit.

21 March 2011

Weekend blog.

The weekend was a prime example of pathetic fallacy. Saturday morning, the sun not so sure of itself began to burn its way through the clouds. We walked through the woods, catching glimpses of the looming crag. After 15 minutes we were stood in the shadow of grandeur, beneath Castell Cidwm, a large square wall littered with a dozen or so roofs, the biggest of which produces the focal point of the route Dwm (E1 5b, A1/E3 6a) a classic aid climb which made it into Hard Rock. This is probably the worst route at the crag, nearly always wet and shady. The Toms (Ripley and Livingstone) dogged up it for 4 or 5 hours. Meanwhile, me and Ed Booth had an awesome time in the sun!

First off, the uber jugfest of Vertigo (HVS 5a, 4c), an amazingly exposed route tiptoeing out across the lip of the undercut wall. Potentially the best HVS in North Wales, and one I'm sure a confident VS leader could jump on. Next up, Central Wall (E3 6a, 5c). The sun beaming down and a gusty wind provided the perfect backdrop for the giddy exposure of the day's main event. Some say this route is an E3 for E5 climbers, I reckon it's a good E3 to go for if you're going well. Ed took the first pitch, up a smooth groove and left to beneath a diagonal roof. Here a few hard pulls on slopey jugs gains the sanctuary of the belay. I took pitch two, a tremendously juggy affair, with perfectly spaced gear and perfectly choreographed moves by Gaia. The finish is spectacular, pulling through the steepness on sinker jugs with a small cam way below your feet. This crag must be the most one of the most undeservedly neglected in all of Snowdonia.

The sun disappeared behind the hills so we hot-footed it over to Clogwyn y Wenallt. Solid rough rock in an idyllic setting. Racing to the bottom we chose to do Torero (E2 5b, 5b). The first pitch went by uneventfully, but the second pitch had brilliant climbing, on immaculate face holds. What an awesome day checking out some of North Wales' lesser known gems!

We had to make a swift getaway as I had other engagements. I had been invited to the 60's and 70's Bangor university climbing club re-union as a guest speaker. I have to admit it was quite a daunting experience, making idle chit-chat with a group of old friends who hadn't see each other for years. The evening consisted of inspiring conversations, tales of huge whippers into Whillan's Harnesses, a few impressed comments on having done Central wall that day 'without any points of aid', pronounced awkward silences, and a gut-busting load of buffet meat.

Sunday, the cumulonimbus hung heavy on us. A late start, even then only heading to the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival. We had a quick look around for freebies and entered a few raffle draws, then spying a gap in the clouds we ran to our car. We bombed it down the Pass looking out for the hallowed sun spot we'd seen, instead spotting Mikey and Ed doing a bit of bouldering. We nipped across to meet them and I managed to rapidly dispatch Fear of a Slopey Planet (V6) just after the other two.

Back to the cars, we drove up to try and find sun Nant Gwynant instead finding thick cloud and more rain. Back down the Pass, and the sun had found its place on the Grochan. Like a sailor to a Siren, deaf to any reserve, Ed marched up with one goal, Cockblock (E5 6b). Me and Mikey followed splurting out beta all the way. Once at the bottom of the crag, the sun went in and the clouds came down. I would have gone home at this point, but Ed, unpeturbed, racked up, had a quick Birkett-esque warm-up and went for it! Moving rapidly through the bottom section, looking solid and steady, he reached the rest on the arete, unable to make it work for him in the moist conditions. He pressed on. Bomber nut in, he launched into the crux sequence. A misjudged slap and he came off. After another couple of attempts in vain and rain, we left. 

Near his High point on Cockblock (E5 6b); Laura Perry Collection
 No more attempts were made for dry rock, and we went to the Beacon for a session, but my knackered tendons couldnt take it. I now have a dark cloud hanging over me. Are my fingers fucked? Should I take yet more time out?

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