Lighthouse Arete!

This post may be a little more boring than usual, no colorful images due to being unable to take a camera down to the be ledge due to the rough seas! Hopefully you’ll enjoy the post anyway…

As you’ve guessed, I got out to Gogarth to do Lighthouse Arete today, a lovely VS 4c. I met up with Ann at around 10:30am and headed over to South Stack. The weather had finally broken, the dark skies and cloud soon changed to blue skies and sunshine, the blustery winds remained, however. We arrived at South Stack and decided to rack up, sort the ropes and have a cup of tea at the cafe before heading for the route. The winds were still high and it was still chilly despite the sunshine, so we drank quickly and sorted the kit we’d require on the route before leavening the rest in the car and walking the short distance to the top of the route and the abseil station.

We promptly set up the abseil using the insitu pegs backed up with good wires, another two climbs joined us at the top and were planning to climb for longer than us, so we headed down on their abseil rope. Ann went first, abbing a full 60m pitch and expertly finding the large belay ledge; I followed and soon we were flaking the ropes out on the large ledge, ready for Ann to lead the first 4a pitch. Ann lead away, I was secretly hoping she would lead the pitch quickly as the waves were crashing over the ledge,wetting me each time! Ann climbed well and soon she was setting up an anchor on the top of the first pitch, she announced that she was safe and I quickly followed her along the leftwards rising traverse to meet her at the belay ledge. A really lovely pitch!

I decided that I’d lead the second and third pitches in one go, we sorted the gear and the ropes and soon I was on my way. Climbing easily up the blocky arete that made up the bulk of the second pitch- 4b. After this, I arrived at the base of a large hanging crack/corner, pulling through the overhang into this crack was the crux. I placed a good wire beneath the overhang and pulled through into the crack more easily than expected, I thought this move was only 4b. I promptly climbed the blocky corner crack to a large belay ledge, where I set up an anchor and let Ann know that I was safe. I told her she was free to climb and she began, making short work of the easier second pitch before reaching the crux on what should have been pitch 3.  She climbed it in fine style and agreed that 4b was a fair assessment. 

We sorted out the gear and re-flaked the ropes, ready for Ann to lead the easier final pitch. The last pitch was a little more broken and less pleasant than the climbing  that proceeded it; Ann lead it easily and set up an anchor at the top. Soon I was following her and joining her at the top ledge. We sorted all the kit, derigged the abseil rope and packed away the stuff before heading to the cafe. 

We ate some lunch whilst we packed away our kit, ropes and clothes and put them back in the car. The plan was to head over to Rhoscolyn to do another route, however after abbing in we realized that the weather was coming in, so we soloed a diff arete to escape and headed for the pub.

A really pleasant day! Thanks Ann.

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Ogwen Link-up!

Today, Dad and I decided to make use of the good weather and head to the Ogwen valley to do one of the classic Idwal link-ups! I’d lead the harder sections and Dad would lead the rest; the link up would consist of: Tennis Shoe HS 4b, Lazarus S 4a and The Groove Above S 4b.

We left at around 10am and arrived at Ogwen Cottage a little after 10:30am, we grabbed the bags and headed for the start of the walk-in. It was overcast but still very warm so we headed up in just a shirt, we made quick progress passing tourists heading for devil’s kitchen on the wide motorway-like path that skirts beneath Idwal Slabs and our first route. We arrived at the bottom of the route to find that we would have to wait for two climbers to climb before us, before we could set off, so we leisurely racked up our harnesses, flaked the ropes and drank some tea whilst we waited. We decided to take one small bag with approach shoes and some water in, whoever was seconding would carry it, leaving the leader unhindered. After around 20 minutes, we were able to begin Tennis Shoe.

I lead the first pitch, judging by the guidebook and UKC, this pitch was in the 4a/4b region and very polished. I set off up the slab, arranging a wire after a few meters and made progress up the small polished holds that lead to a blank step right into a deep pocket to meet the place where the slab met the side wall.

Photo 1.1 – Climbing the initial polished slab on the first pitch of Tennis Shoe, HS 4b.

ImageSeveral smeary bridging moves lay ahead before a large ledge; from the ledge, a short slab is climbed before a bulge that separates the lower slab, from the upper. Good jams and smeared feet alloy one to pull through the bulge with ease, a pleasant crack leads to a large belay ledge where I set up an anchor and belayed Dad up. Dad climbed nicely, making good progress up the polished pitch and soon he arrived at the belay with me; we sorted gear and ropes ready for him to lead through. The middle two pitches were considerably easier, Dad lead them in fine style, each pitch was around VD standard- Tennis Shoe gets HS 4b for the first and last pitches really. We raced through the middle two pitches, Dad lead them both and soon we were at the belay below the last obstacle. I lead the last pitch, it started with a series of delicate moves up a polished rib to reach the crux. The crux involved a move to get from the rib onto a slabby ramp, I found that move easy for the grade and overall thought the first pitch was harder, probably due to the polish. The slabby ledge lead leftwards to a crack and bulge onto the upper slap, a short pull through this leaves a few meters of padding on the upper slab to reach they belay, and the top.

Photo 1.2 – Me leading the top pitch of Tennis Shoe HS 4b.

ImageI set up a belay, well, clipped into the rope sling that’d been left around a large block and brought Dad up to me. He climbed well; however, he felt the crux was tricky. We coiled the ropes, sorted the gear and scrambled up and across a huge ledge to reach the bottom of our second route, Lazarus S 4a. Overall, I thought the first pitch of Tennis Shoe was harder than the top, but the crux was more difficult on the top pitch- overall HS 4b is a fair assessment.

I lead both pitches of Lazarus, due to it getting 4a. Two very contrasting pitches, the first pitche was a thrutchy ledgy corner-that was pretty wet!-to reach a belay. After bringing Dad to here, I set off on the second pitch, a gently rising leftwards traverse to reach the base of a steep groove. Lovely, though polished, climbing lead across the rising traverse until the short steep grove lay above, positive holds lead up this with nice moves before an easier run out landed me on the large grassy ledge above. Dad followed me in good style, remarking however, that it was very slippy on the polished holds- I agreed. I thought that it was perhaps a little stiff for the grade, more like easy HS and easy 4b would better describe the climbing.

Photo 1.3 – Me trending leftwards on Lazarus, S 4a

ImageThe Groove Above lay in wait above us, we moved our belay to the base of the large groove, racked up our harnesses and I started leading away. The first move was the crux, a horrendously shiny lay back move to get established in the groove proper. The groove proper, however, was absolutely lovely smeary climbing, uninspiring gear but straightforward climbing. The crux was around 4b, but the rest no more than 4a. I topped out with a smile on my face, I wasn’t expecting much from this pitch but the climbing was much better than I expected. Dad followed in fine style, equally impressed with the climbing. What an excellent way to finish a link-up!

We set about sorting the gear, coiling the ropes and putting on our approach shoes before taking a moment to appreciate the scenery. However, the bright blue skies had been replaced by dark clouds on the brink of spewing their heavy load of rain over the Welsh mountains. We quickly set off down the grassy blocky hillside towards the descent path and romped to the base of the crag to collect the second bag and remaining gear.

We had a quick sandwich and a drink, packed away all the kit properly and yomped back to the car in an effort to avoid the rain. We did so and soon we were heading home for a cup of a tea and a good meal. We were really pleased with the day, climbing some nice routes in a nice setting!

Can’t wait for the next day at the crag!

A Double Cragging.

This week, on Wednesday and Today, I headed cragging at Holyhead Mountain. Now, I was going to post about Wednesday earlier in the week; however, we never managed to get any photos- we did today, so I thought I’d combine a post of the two. It can be all colorful now! We did some really great routes during the two days, Wednesday with Hannah, Today with Matt. So where do I start? The classic of the crag, of course. Tension VS 4b, what a stunning route.

Tension was a route I’d wanted to do for ages; dominating the quartz buttress lies two striking lines. A VS that traverses a the huge roof before finishing over a bulge and the better, 3 star, Tension that moves left under the roof, and swings left around the arete to a steep crack system…fabulous climbing. So good in fact, that I lead this on Wednesday with Hannah and today with Matt! Leading it the first time was a real joy, finally getting on the route and starting the initial corner before trending left and climbing the first corner to the overhang….then swinging out on the jugs around the arete (crux).

Photo 1.1 – Me, leading Tension-just below the crux swing.

ImageOnce the crux swing is over, one move remains-don’t fall off this, the last gear isn’t close- and you’re standing on a large hold with both feet. Here it is possible to swap arms and shake out, more importantly, it’s a good time to slot in a bomber wire! The steep crack is easier than the crux; however, a series of many 4b moves remain, strung together. The gear, though, is also excellent and the holds positive-it is steep though. A fabulous, fabulous route!

Photo 1.2 – Me placing gear after the crux of Tension (don’t ask why I left the green rope out).

ImageSo, Tension was definitely a highlight. However, there were some other routes that stood out:

Today, the first route we did was A Pleasant Surprise HS 4c, I lead it and thought the climbing was excellent; however, definitely not 4c imo…more 4b. Also today, I lead a bold and delicate slab climb called Duffel, wonderful delicate moves lead across a thin slab to an arete and then back across the slab diagonally on small holds- wonderful thin climbing, the gear wasn’t inspiring though. You’d probably deck from the crux!

We managed to get lots of other routes done, including: The Sump Direct HS 4b, I lead this on Wednesday and seconded it today. Comfortably Numb VS 4c, I lead this today. Rock and Ice HS 4a, lead on Wednesday. New Boots and Panties S 4a, seconded today.  Lost Hope HS 4a, seconded today….and a few others.

All in all and excellent couple of days! I’ll post tomorrow after climbing in Ogwen!

Outdoors for Hannah!

Last week, I saw a post on UKC from Hannah stating that she was keen to graduate from indoor climbing to outdoor climbing. To cut a long story short, I made contact with her and after making some arrangements I offered to take her outside to door some climbing..

We met up at around 8:45am and introduced ourselves and soon we were on our way to South Stack ready to do some climbing at Holyhead Mountain. We parked up and chatted as we headed towards the crag, we decided to start easily on a VD called “hat”, it would be a good way to asses how Hannah was climbing and what she was comfortable with. I lead “hat” a delicate slabby groove line on the extreme right of the crag, Hannah seconded the route with ease and I could see that she’d done plenty of climbing inside. We continued in much the same vein, deciding to do a two pitched VD called Black Owen, I lead both pitches and again Hannah seconded them in fine style…due to this, I decided to take her on something a little harder.

On the decent from Black Owen, we passed a little VS 4c called Comfortably Numb, a very nice route. I decided I’d lead this and see how Hannah got on. The easy first slab climbs to a ledge before the wall rears up into your face, small cams protect the very thin moves on the head-wall from a ground fall; however, not from the ledge below: always an enjoyable lead. Hannah climbed well, despite falling from the crux she got it on her third go and her foot work was excellent!! Based on her climbing, we decided to head to another VS 4c called curains; however, it’s more like HS 4b.

I lead both pitches in one go, it’s relatively straight and short so there’s really no need to do it in two. The delicate rib continues through the crux and up a steeper crack at the end. Hannah climbed in good style again and soon we were heading down and planning her first lead…

We selected a Diff for her first lead, I gave her some tips and she set off. Not perfect, but most of her gear was great, I must say, in hindsight it wasn’t the best route for a first lead, the woman on it previously said it was. It was more like HD/VD and Hannah did very well. I lead the top pitch before we headed down for one final route.

As the last route, I took Hannah on one of my favorite Severe routes at the crag: Pigeon Hole Crack, I lead it quickly in really windy conditions, keen to get to the top and get down out of the wind. Hannah, given her slight and light frame, was being blown and buffeted and was relieved to top out without being blown from the crag. We headed down, racked away kits and ropes and headed from the car and back home.

A really nice day with excellent company, next post- Sunday!

 

Rhoscolyn, Day Two.

Day two climbing with Ann! We decided that we’d take a trip to one of my favorite little crags, Rhoscolyn. Being the host, I was keen to show Ann around some of the nicest lower grade routes the crag has to offer, principally: Symphony Crack, probably the best Diff in the world and Truant, a nice VS 4c!

We arrived at Rhoscolyn at around 9:15am and took a leisurely stroll across the headland; It was obvious that Ann was keen to do Symphony Crack, it had been on her wishlist for some time. We made swift progress and soon we were racking up and scrambling down to the first belay. I set up an anchor and waited for Ann to join me, she readied herself and began leading the first pitch; I decided I’d follow her in my approach shoes, she’d get a much better experience by leading the route!

Photo 1.1 – Ann, about to step on the slab on Symphony Crack. 

ImageShe made quick progress up the route, announcing that she was safe and that I could start climbing. I stepped across the lovely delicate traverse and romped up the remaining immaculate slab and crack above. Ann was delighted at the route and agreed that the only disappointing thing about the route is that it isn’t longer! Beautiful climbing in a wonderful setting; who said Diffs aren’t worthwhile?!

We coiled the ropes and put our kit away and headed the short distance down the cliff, to the top of a route I’d lead a few days previously called Truant-VS 4c. We set up the abseil rope, racked our harnesses and headed down into the zawn. Ann said she’d rather I lead both pitches, which was absolutely fine. I set off on the rightwards traverse, deciding I’d take Ann up the slab and belay below the crux, again, to avoid the wet crack-line below. Soon I was belaying Ann up to me, she made short work of the easier slab and soon she was passing over the gear ready for me to lead again on the second pitch. I started leading and noticed a sling and grab hanging from a thread on the wall to the right, I retrieved it, always enjoying finding crag-swag!! I continued and placed gear ready to pull through the crux, which I did easily due to prior knowledge, I then romped on larger holds to the top!

Photo 1.2- Looking down the route, ready to bring Ann up!

ImageAnn required quite a tight rope on the crux, saying: “That was a hard move”, she seemed to enjoy it though and she climbed the easier section above in fine style before topping out with me. We sorted the ropes and kit and went back to the bags for a spot of lunch and some guidebook scouting!

After having a bite to eat, we saw this lovely arete just to the left of Truant, we decided it must have been S Hawk ally, Diff. It obviously didn’t get climbed much so I set off not expecting much; however, the climbing was lovely. First off was a leftwards trending crack on jugs, followed by a long blocky arete set in a fantastic position- another easy route, but absolutely stunning, such a hidden gem.

We sorted gear, ropes and packed away all the kit, commenting on a very good couple of days! With big smiles on our faces, we headed down for a pint at the White Eagle. What a great two days…THANKS ANN.

Cragging at Holyhead!

Today, I met up with Ann for a days cragging at Holyhead Mountain. We didn’t manage to get photos unfortunately; however, we did some great routes and we even bumped into Johnny Dawes! So hopefully this post will still interest you guys! During the day we did several routes including:

Comfortably Numb VS 4c
Curtains VS 4c
Pigeon Hole Crack S 4a
Stairs S 4a

The day started a little day with thick clagg encasing the mountain and the crags; we met at the car park a little before 8:45am, picked up some ropes and kit and started the short walk across to the base of the crags. Despite the thick cloud and sea mist it remained warm and soon we were regretting wearing our jackets. We made quick progress and soon we were at the base of the first of our chosen routes, a nice little warm up line called Pigeon Hole Crack S 4a.

It was decided that I’d lead the first route of the day, the rock was still slightly damp from the sea mist but otherwise perfect. I made short work of the initial cracks before climbing a grove and making quick progress, past the a lovely thread to the top. The climbing was very straight forward, yet still very pleasant. Ann, too, enjoyed the route and climbed in fine style; we coiled ropes and headed down for route number two.

Secondly, we decided to head for a two pitched Severe called “Stairs”; I’d done the route a few times and enjoyed it very much. I lead the first pitch, a diagonal slab to an overhang; I placed some gear and pulled through the overhanging wall until I reached the upper slab. I traversed left and climbed the thin delicate arete before making rightwards moves to the belay stance. I belayed Ann to the stance; she thought the move through the overhang was quite hard for the grade but she climbed the rest in fine style. Ann lead through, the second pitch consisted of a short slab before a narrow ramp leads around a large block- Ann lead this in good style and soon she was bringing me up and we were coiling ropes and kit and heading down towards the base of the crag once again.

We’d not been rushing between routes, we enjoyed the time we had, especially considering the cloud had now brunt off leaving warm, bright sunshine. We leisurely headed further down the crag to the base of the next route…

Curtains, VS 4c was the next to-do route. The guidebook stated that it was a serious route that was bold and short of gear; however, I looked up at the route and felt that it was easily within my comfort zone. I racked up and started the bottom slab; soon I found a nice sling runner before making thin moves over a bulge. Another sling runner appeared and soon I was climbing the delicate and thin slab above; I placed yet more gear before reaching the final wall before the belay. Two mirco-cams and a small wire protected the next moves, arguably the crux, I made swift progress, unchallenged to the belay and romped up the easy second pitch rather than splitting it. Ann was soon following me to the top and afterwards, we both commented that we thought it was no harder than HS 4b.

It was now lunch time, so we set ourselves down and devoured our food, discussing the morning’s climbing. We packed away our kit ready to move down the crag again, in search of our next route. During our walk down the crag we passed the crack of King Bee Crack, I peered up at the climber making his way so smoothly up the crack- it was Johnny Dawes!! After saying a “hello” and watching the master ease his way up the classic climb, he shouted down to me that he had copies of his autobiography with him, if I liked one…how could I resist. We waited around for Johnny to complete the route (it didn’t take long) and to bring up his second, soon he reappeared at the bottom of the crag and took out a copy of his book from his bag. He wrote “To Chester, Johnny Dawes” and signed it, I was made up! I’d read about his exploits since I was a child and now we were sitting discussing routes, climbing and plans with a signed copy of his book in my hand!! I could have heard his stories for hours and watched his majestic climbing for even longer; however, we both needed to get back to the main point of the day- climbing! Me and Ann continued down the crag towards a VS 4c that I fancied doing; Ann was keen to do a VD next to it, that’s what we did next.

Ann lead the first pitch of a VD heading up a large crack in the slab before taking a belay below a chimney. Ann lead the first pitch quickly and easily and soon I was at the belay and climbing the steep, easy chimney above. A lovely route, despite the easy climbing, the moves were always interesting! We sorted out the ropes again and headed for our final route of the day.

Comfortably Numb, VS 4c was a route I’d wanted to do for a while. What the actual grade was, was much disputed. The eliminate nature of the route meant that one could move left/right and find easier ground; hence, some thought it was 4b. If the wall was taken direct, it was solid 4c, some saying 5a. Anyway, I romped up the easier lower section, reaching the ledge below the crux wall. I placed a cam under the bulge and pulled through before placing another cam. I ascended the wall direct on very thin crimps before reaching horizontal ground; the direct line was definitely 4c. Ann followed me, she found the crux tricky and announce that my lead was impressive and she agreed that route was definitely 4c! 

We packed away our gear, chatting about the routes and meeting Johnny. We’d had an excellent day, I was particularly chuffed to have done a couple of 4c routes and even more chuffed to be carrying away my signed book! We made the short walk back to the car park, eager to sample the coffee and cake on offer at the cafe!

An excellent day, me and Ann will be climbing again tomorrow at Rhoscolyn. Let’s hope for more good weather…

Rhoscolyn- a quick hit.

Tonight Dad and I found ourselves with a few hours spare before the weekend began. We decided we’d go to Rhoscolyn- a local sea cliff-to do a route we’d been meaning to do for a while, called Truant (VS 4c). The route was a short two pitches so seemed perfect for a quick hit.

We arrived at the parking area at around 8pm before making the short walk to the crag, the walk is across headlands on flat grassy paths and tracks enabling us to soon be at the top of the crag.

Photo 1.1 – Me heading for the cliffs!

ImageWe found the top of our route and proceeded to set up the abseil station next to it; once we’d racked our harness, put on our shoes and kitted up we descended into the Zawn below, eager to see the route ahead! We landed on a large ledge just above the high tide mark and began flaking the ropes out ready for me to lead away; strictly, the first pitch of the route should have followed the corner but it was wet and seeping badly. Hence, I decided to climb the slab variant to the first belay. According to the guidebook, the first pitch was much easier than the crux and that’s what it proved to be, quite an easy lead to the first belay.

Photo 1.2 – Me leading the easy lower section. 

ImageI set up a belay at the halfway ledge and shouted to Dad that I was safe, soon he began following me up the easier lower slab to reach me at the belay. We commented that the climbing was nice and that the crux was the bulge above the belay. We sorted kit out and soon I was ready to lead away again! I made short moves to gain a small ledge below the crux, the crux seemed to be two big pulls over a bulge in the slab. The gear around the crux wasn’t fantastic, one number 1 wire placement, not a fantastic one either. I climbed through the crux easily, it didn’t feel 4c to me, hard 4b would be my estimate.

Photo 1.3 – Me having just lead the crux. 

ImageAfter the crux, the climbing was easier. A slabby wall following the corner before stepping left slightly and climbing direct to the top. The climbing here, again, felt around 4a! The climbing was nice, though- interesting moves and a nice setting!

Photo 1.4 – Leading the head wall to the top! (sorry about the flash!)

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Soon I found myself at the top, a little disappointed that the route had been considerably easier than I thought it would be- HS 4b in my opinion. I set up a belay and shouted down to Dad that he could begin climbing; he took some time on the crux, finding the strenuous moves awkward. He climbed through in fine style however and made short work of the head wall above. We topped out a little before 9.45pm, swiftly sorted out the ropes and kit, eager to get home for a brew and a slab of cake! We romped the short few miles back to the car, the sun was setting over the fields and we felt in good spirits having made use of the evening. Rhoscolyn really is a lovely setting, I imagine we’ll be back soon to sample some of the other routes at the crag!

Photo 1.5 – Back at the car, ready for tea and cake!

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Slanting Buttress Ridge Route and The Horseshoe!

Considering we spent the night in a small tent with just sleeping bags and no bed mats to sleep on, Dad and I slept very well. The alarm woke us with a shock at 7am; we took a few minutes to find the motivation to get out of our warm sleeping bags and go outside into the cold, the sun had not yet risen over the mountains above us. I was first out and started up the stove to make a brew before heading over to the shower blocks for a wash. I returned to be handed a cup of tea and a bacon roll that Dad had made whilst I was away, perfect! After chatting, eating and finishing our tea, we packed away the tent and chucked ropes and gear into bags ready to make the hour long walk to the base of Lliwedd.

We parked, again, by the Cromlech Boulders and got the soonest bus up to Pen Y Pass. We arrived at the Pass at around 9:45am and began the walk to the base of the crag, the path is boring, wide and very touristy but allows one to make good progress before turning off the main path to arrive at the base of the crag.

Photo 1.1 – The broad path with Lliwedd in the distance.

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We continued along the broad path before breaking off left, traversing the steep grassy hillside and making our way to the base of the steep scree slope and eventually the bottom of the climb.

Photo 1.2 – Lliwedd getting nearer as we traverse the grassy slope. 

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We made good progress up the steep scree slope and arrived at the base of the route in 60 minutes, just like the guidebook suggested. Although the cloud had started to come over, it was still very warm and we were glad to be at the start of the climb and not to be slogging towards it any longer.

Photo 1.3 – The view back towards where we started, from the base of the route.

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We began to kit up, we decided that in the interest of speed, we’d move together Alpine style. I’d lead, placing gear between us but instead of pitching the route, we’d move continuously. This would make the 10 pitch route far quicker! I racked my harness before showing Dad how to take coils and to tie the coils off, I then set off instructing Dad to climb at the same pace, keeping the rope fairly tight so that he would not fall too far if he slipped. The climbing was straight forward but nice, very much a mountaineering route in feel and some pitches were quite exposed. Easy slabs continued through to around 150m, the route steepened before climbing a rampy groove just around the corner from the steep slab. The route then continued along the arete, steeply at first before a narrow ridge feature appeared- easy but exposed. I managed to get a photo of Dad following me along the ridge:

Photo 1.4 – Dad on the narrow exposed ridge.

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After this, we continued up a rightwards ascending traverse before turning the arete and climbing a series of grooves. Due to moving together, we were able to move quickly up the groves. We ascended the last grove slightly too far left, meaning that I had to make a short unprotected traverse across a steep wall to rejoin the route; the traverse was fairly easy but exposed, I decided I’d make an anchor and belay Dad through this section. He made it through ok but needed some assistance from the rope. Once past this section, only 60m of climbing remained, a leftwards slanting ramp followed by a short rightwards facing chimney section; we climbed these quickly and soon we were at the top. We snapped some photos, sorted kit and ropes and packed our bags up knowing that simple walking remained.

Photo 1.5 – Myself above Lliwedd after leading alpine style on SBRR. 

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It was still early due to climbing the route quickly, moving together; hence, we decided to walk the horseshoe back to the car. This involved a short ascent to the summit of Snowdon, a grade 1 scramble on the ridge across Crib Y ddysgl and Crib Goch and a descent back into the Llanberis pass.

The cloud had now disappeared and we found ourselves beginning the ascent to Snowdon in just a baselayer; the sun was baking hot! We made swift progress across the saddle before joining the Watkin path that lead to the summit of Snowdon via a steep scree slope. We walked up this quickly despite the heat and bags full of climbing gear and found ourselves at the summit. I always disliked the summit of Snowdon, it was always a circus of tourists that had either taken the train or walked the tourist path from Llanberis, making it unbearably crowded.

Photo 1.6 – Looking back at Lliwedd from the summit of Snowdon. 

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Due to our dislike of the summit of Snowdon, we spent little time here and headed down the broad path before turning off to make the short ascent to begin the scramble across Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch.

Photo 1.7 – Looking back towards Snowdon with Lliwedd to the left.

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From here, rocky paths interspersed with occasional scrambling sections lead across Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch. The section is probably one of the most famous ridge walks in Britain, Crib Goch notorious for it’s exposed and photogenic ridge.

Photo 1.7 – The ridge over Crib Y Ddysgl and Crib Goch in the distance. 

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We romped along the ridge, enjoying the scenery but eager to get back to the car after a long day. We continued over Crib Goch before heading left over another short ridge before descending steeply down a scree bank to enter Cyrn Las. We stopped briefly to refill bottles in a stream before descending the grassy col for an hour to the road in the Llanberis Pass. We were both glad to be at the road and made short work ascending the half a mile stretch of tarmac back to the car!

Hot from the day, I changed into shorts and flip flops and chilled right out by the car sorting kit into the boot. We’d both thoroughly enjoyed the climb and the walk but we were both eager to head the 40 minute drive home and have a nice meal and a cold beer!

A thoroughly enjoyable end to an excellent weekend!

Couldn’t pass, on the pass!

This weekend the warm and sunny spell of weather we’ve been treated with continued and I couldn’t resist a weekends climbing, based in Nant Peris. As you may have expected from my title, Saturday consisted of cragging in the Llanberis pass with a friend of mine, Paul. Now, before I continue, I must warn you that we didn’t manage to get too many photos of the day; hence, this post will be a little less colorful than usual.

Having spent Friday night with family in Aberdaron, I met up with Paul in Pete’s Eats in LLanberis at around 11:15am, after exchanging hellos and cups of tea we headed for the Pass. We finally found somewhere to park near the Cromlech Boulders; we discussed a few routes and decided to cross the road and head for Dinas Mot with a plan to do The Cracks, a lovely HS and then to do the supposedly hard and polished top pitch, graded 5a in my guide book. We made the steep but short walk to the base of the crag, dropped our bags and began to kit up. We chatted in the sunshine as we sorted out the ropes and racked up our harnesses.

Photo 1.1 – Dinas Mot, complete with climbers on various routes.

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Paul lead away on pitch one, a series of rocky steps and a leftward trending groove line to take a belay below an overhang; he set up a belay and brought me up.

Photo 1.2 – Myself seconding the first pitch, arriving at the belay. 

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I took over the lead on pitch two and three- stringing them together into one. I tiptoed along a delicate traverse beneath the overhangs before making steep moves up a short chimney; the second 4a pitch. I decided to tackle the crack above, despite this being the 4b part of the route, it felt as easy as the 4a pitches below and soon I was belaying Paul up to me with the fourth pitch waiting above. Paul took over the lead and made a delicate mantle onto the slab above and right of my belay, he tackled similar a similar but 4a crack and made his way to the top of the fourth pitch before bringing me up to him.

Photo 1.3 – Myself seconding pitch four!

ImageWe commented that the climbing was lovely; we discussed whether or not to take on the hard 5a pitch above or whether to avoid it- I took over the lead and decided to go for it. The pitch began with a rightwards blocky traverse; this felt around 4a. Soon, however, I was beneath a shallow groove that was glass like with shine- the 5a part of the pitch. I arranged some protection, a small cam along with a number 1 wire- both excellent pieces. I shouted to Paul that I was about to go for it, taking the side pull with my right hand and smeared my feet against the smooth and polished slabby grove, soon I was able to reach up with my left hand and gain the small hold at the top of the groove; with a heave, I was onto the ledge above. “That wasn’t bad at all”, I thought. A move of similar difficulty lay above, I made short work of it and soon I was belaying Paul up the pitch, I made a comment that I thought it was only 4c and Paul replied thinking that the crux was easier than the top moves. We quickly abseiled down the descent gully, packed away the ropes and kit and headed down to the road- Next stop, Carreg Wasted!

We decided that we’d like to get on Crackstone Rib, a supposed classic S 4a. We made the short walk along the roadside to the base of the crag before traversing the steep hillside to the base of the route. After some guidebook scoping, we found the line of the route and soon we were kitting up ropes and kit once again. It was Paul’s lead, so he took the first pitch, the easier but nicer part of the route.

Photo 1.4 – Paul on pitch 1 of Crackstone Rib.

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Paul made good progress up and across the slab, meeting the arete and climbing it steeply to the first belay. I followed swiftly and arrived at the belay, we were both disappointed with the route- considering it’s a classic, there was a lot of loose rock! I took over the lead and headed up a shiny slab to a corner, here I trended left and ascended the final steep crack to the top of the crag- a pleasant pitch! I belayed Paul to the top where we coiled ropes and headed down for our last route of the day.

we decided that our last route would be Skylon, a nice HS 4b on the left of the buttress. It was Paul’s lead and enviously gave him the gear so he could lead the fantastic looking wall above us. Paul climbed with ease before reaching the crux, after some thinking he made progress past the crux and up the head wall above. He shouted that he was safe and soon I was making my way up the lower wall, I reached the crux, removed Paul’s gear and made good progress before stepping onto the lip of the overhang and climbing the easier wall to the belay. I took over the lead and climbed the remaining walls to the top, the climbing was much easier and I was gutted I didn’t get to lead the first pitch- it was excellent!!

It was 6:45pm, we’d had a great days climbing but it was time for Paul to drive back to York and for me to meet Dad at the campsite in Nant Peris ready for Sundays climbing. We packed away the gear and romped back to the car. We chewed over the days climbing on the drive down to Nant Peris and both agreed that The Cracks and Skylon were the highlights of the day; I commented that I was pleased to lead the tough 5a pitch and do the route properly! Soon we were in Nant Peris, Paul dropped me off and then made his way home. I headed over to the campsite, Dad had just arrived, we picked a spot and pitched the tent. The sun was still warm and the breeze light, we sat out in the sun and made some food before heading over to the Vaynol Arms for a couple of beers. We met a couple I’d met earlier on Dinas Mot and had a couple of games of pool before leaving at around 10pm. We headed down to Llanberis to grab some fish and chips for supper and ate them in the still warm evening by the tent before turning in at 11:30pm, a good nights sleep was needed before heading up to Lliwedd in the morning! An excellent day!

A Weekend In The Hills!

It had been a week since arriving home from the Alps and as usual, I was feeling fit and restless and eager to get into the hills! This weekend was scorching and too good to miss, I’d originally planned to get out climbing but unfortunately all my climbing partners were busy so it was a solo/hill bashing weekend in the hills!

I started out in Llanberis on Saturday at around 2pm and followed the usual circus of tourists up the Llanberis path; It always amuses me seeing the kinds of people heading up the path- some of the looking moments from collapsing, probably the only peak they’d ever done! The usual ascent time for this route was around 2.5hrs, I managed to summit in 1hr 30mins including buying water at the halfway station, still fit from the Alps. I took a few moments on summit before deciding to decend to Rhyd Ddu via the South Ridge, I always liked the South Ridge, it was always quieter, In all the times I’ve been up and down it, I’ve probably seen a handful of people on it- certainly never crowds of rowdy, shirtless tourists! I descended in good time, arrived at Rhyd Ddu car park and refilled my water bottles.

The plan was to head to the base of the Nantille Ridge and bivvy for the night; however, it was still early, I felt fit so I pushed on to the second of the six summits on the ridge before taking a bivvy.

Photo 1.1 – Bivvying On The Ridge.

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I had a fairly good nights sleep and woke at around 7:30am; I’d planned to do the double traverse of the Nantille Ridge- 21km and around 1200m of ascent. I was keen to get the day started as it would be a long day, I was meeting my parents for lunch in Rhyd Ddu at 1pm that afternoon so I knew I needed to start quite early. The ridge was a little disappointing, even if the scrambling sections were taken direct it was quite boring and uninspiring. I got through the main hills quickly and soon I was at the end of the ridge, good time was made and it was only 9am so I decided to take a leisurely stroll back along the length of the ridge, knowing that I’d waiting for my folks. The sun was already hot in the sky and I was walking, once again, in just a baselayer. The ridge was no more inspiring on the return leg, though it was apparent that it had been a long day with lots of ascent. I made swift time over the six summits and was soon descending towards Rhyd Ddu car park. I settled in under a tree in the car park on the grass and relaxed whilst I waited.

My parents arrived soon after 1pm, we exchanged small talk and remarked that the ridge was disappointing- nowhere near as good as the Snowdon Horseshoe. We decided that we’d take a short walk around the lake and through the forest before heading to the pub for lunch, it was a nice little bimble- all that mum really enjoyed doing these days, she wasn’t any longer a keen hillwalker.

A nice lunch and some real ales topped off what had been a nice weekend; quite a change of pace to the Alpine mountaineering the week before, but nice nevertheless.