Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Trees, mud and the first rock of 2012

Untypically North Wales has been blessed with gorgeous weather over the last couple of weeks. Typically I've been stuck inside cramming for exams, whilst everyone else was scarring themselves silly at South Stack.

Exams over Gwen and I headed to Tremadog in search of dry rock. I'm a pretty big fan of Tremadog and have spent more time there since living in Bangor than perhaps any other crag. I suppose this is for a number of reasons, but mainly because the rock is excellent, great fun to climb on and normally offers bomber gear.

Pulling up beneath the Vector Buttress the crag was a little wetter than I'd hoped.  We both descided that it would be good to blow the cobwebs off by revisiting some old favorites. We headed for Merlin Direct first. Gwen lead the easy bottom pitch and I led the top, which offers brilliant well protected climbing, on good holds, with a tricky reach to top out. HVS heaven.

Gwen at the top of Merlin Direct.
The Fang next. I lead the burly first pitch and Gwen cruised the bold and technical top pitch. I've done the Fang a number of times now and still find it tricky, it's certainally no push over at the grade.

Gwen reaching the belay at the top of the Fang Pitch 1.
The final route of the day was the easiest on paper but definitely felt the hardest. Striptease an interesting VS 5a up a gully/chimney that allegedly stays dry in all but horizontal rain. It wasn't raining but being winter it had been and there was quite a lot of seepage as a result. This didn't cause too much of a problem until the final roof, which is well protected by a calcined thread. Unfortunately this also the hold. It was was very, very slippery and like holding onto a anti-chalk. After a few heave-hoes I was over the roof and belaying Gwen up.

 At the top.
We had talked about doing One Step to finish the day, but by this point it was almost dark and being soft I wasn't particularly psyched. Just as we drove off it started to rain so I guess we made the right decision.

In other news I acquired a new camera the other day through some dodgy deal. I haven't had much luck with cameras. I either drop them, they get nicked or I buy half broken ones off ebay due to my moronic inability to read. Anyway my new camera is a second hand Nikon and it seems to be in full working order. I'm pretty pleased with this photo of the Menai Bridge I snapped on my way home.

The best bit of architecture in North Wales.

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