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!