Thursday, December 29, 2011


As 2011 draws to a close here are a few words, with photos, about some of the more memorable days out I have had this year.

Roughly in chronological order...

Vanishing Gully
Welsh winter magically to disappeared shortly after the new guide book was published. Unfortunately I only managed one trip to Scotland with Dad. The best route we did was Vanishing Gully on the Ben. It's a short route with fun climbing and plenty of spindrift.

Boysen's Groove

Climbing Boysen's Groove in the Pass with a big group of mates on Duncan's Birthday. This was my first V4 and I had to try really hard, sticking the jug on my umpteenth attempt was well worth it. It made me realise that bouldering is great fun and makes you better at climbing. I should do more of it!

Green Light
There was a thread on UKC about the best VS routes in Britain. The problem is that there isn't a really good Gogarth VS. A few people suggested the likes of Rap and Pel, which are jolly good routes but aren't really comparable to the likes of Eliminate A. Some deranged individuals suggested the loose horror show Green Slab in Mousetrap Zawn. Another option Green Light, tucked away in Smurf Zawn, was also quietly suggested. Dave and I went to investigate and what a route. I've done twice since and still found it totally gripping.

Idwal Link Up
Back in April Livingstone and I ran from Ogwen Cottage to the base of the Slabs. We roped up and moved together/sort pitched our way up Tennis Shoe, Orginal Route and Groove Above. We then ran up and across to the base of the Grey Arete. We whizzed up that before finishing up Manx Wall. Just as we topped out on Glyder Fawr just as it started to rain. We then ran up and over Y Garn and  got back to the car soaked to the skin.
Pinched from Google!

Alex and I drove to Holyhead on a grey day with low expectations and no clue of what to do. We decided on Flytrap, a *** but quite obscure E2. Al lead the first easy pitch. Then I lead the cool traverse pitch into the cave. By this point it had started to rain, but thankfully Flytrap is an all weather route. Al lead up and then started traversing across the green wall. He stood there for an age, hanging on with his E5 arms puzzling it out the moves, he lowered on a loop of rope for more chalk and then committed. Soon I was struggling up the pitch, gripped silly on the green traverse. Al coaxed me across towards the belay. The final moves involve powerfully climbing onto the chockstone where Al was belayed. I gave it a good go, but ended up hanging in space. Wild and desperate for E2.

Pinched from Google!
The Pouce
Nikki and I had a trip to the Alps in June. The best route we did was the Voie De Dalles on the Pouce. I don't really the rate Aiguille Rouge but over the back and out of sight of the valley the Pouce is different. Nikki and I caught the first the lift up. We slogged up and over to the base. It was brilliant day climbing with fantastic climbing never much harder than VS. I managed to keep up with a guide, who showed us the way. The long walk back to Cham was well worth it.

Pinched from Google!
The highlight of year was making the first ascent of the South Face of Chichicapac in Cordillera Carabaya in Peru with Hamish. After our unsuccessful trip to Pakistan the year before it was great to be successful in the bigger mountains. We climbed the route in a long day from a high camp. The climbing wasn't too hard, but was sustained and loose. Getting to the top of the face and realizing that we were the first people to stand their ever was a pretty special feeling.

The line of our ascent.

Me low down on the face.

Hamish and I on the summit.
Death Road
After our climbing trip in the Cordillera Carabaya Hamish and I spent a couple of weeks traveling around South America. The highlight was definitely cycling the death road. Starting at a 4600m high mountain pass and finishing 61km down in the jungle at 1200m. If you are out in Boliva and fancy biking the death road we had a great time with the guys at Gravity.

Back in October DC and I had a quick trip to Devon. We managed the super classic Moonraker at Berry Head, which definitely deserves its Hard Rock status. 

The Lion's Face 
Nikki and I had a great trip to Morocco in November. The highlight was climbing the Lion's Face, the feature that dominates Tafraout. Although, the climbing is never desperate the two hour approach up a steep gully and the lack of protection due to compact rock made me certain that it was no place to fall off.

All in all a pretty good year. I've done nothing spectacular or super hard but I've had some good days out and done some good routes.

A few points for reflections:
  • As far as I can remember, I've only taken one fall this year. That's a pretty poor effort by anyone's standard. The number of routes that I've properly committed to this year is also pretty small. Next year I need to commit to more routes. This will probably result in more falls!
  • Carry my camera more often. That way I won't have to steal people's photos from Google!
  • Oh and don't set yourself on fire in the bathroom of a Peruvian hotel...


1 comment:

  1. I assume you mean "some deranged individuals" as a compliment, right? :)