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.

Image

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. 

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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. 

Image

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. 

Image

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.

Image

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. 

Image

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!

Advertisements

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.

Image

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. 

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.