Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A coward's introductuion to Craig Doris

Craig Doris in all her glory.
It was wet in Bangor, so Mason and Chris dropped out. Undeterred Owain and I drove down the the Lleyn in search of dry rock. At Pwllheli it was still raining. Blindly we kept driving to the end of the Lleyn and pulled up in the farm yard. It was now overcast and the road was dryish.

We walked round to the bottom of crag where we left our sacks beneath a tottering pile of terrifying, Stevie Haston, overhanging looseness. We scampered along to choose out a route.

I've done a reasonable amount of climbing on loose crags before but I've climbed nowhere like Craig Doris. It isn't just loose, it is falling down. In places you can brush the rock away with ease.

Owain demonstrating how loose the rock is!
We picked na E1 5a called Votes For Dogs. A leftward rising ramp/corner to the left of the classic Byzantium. Back at the bags we tossed for it and I won - or lost depending on your point of view. Every extra cam i added to my harness added to the anticipation. At the base of the route I saw it was wet. I wanted to hand over the lead to Owain then but my ego wouldn't allow it. Perched on the tiny ledge I uncoiled the ropes and put on my rockshoes whilst Owain invented a belay. 

Owain psyched for the lead after I back off!
I set of climbing, placing runners wherever I could, lobbing loose rock over my shoulder and trying not to panic. This went well enough until I got the wet section where I wussed out, climbed back down and gave Owain the lead. On the way down I pressed down on a large hold, which I had committed my weight to on the way up. It was about the size of my head and it came away. Spooked I left it there conscious that it would hurt Owain if it hit him, he was in the firing line and I'm not very good at throwing.

Owain overcoming the wet section that was too much for me.
Owain despatched the wet section quickly, but took his time on the steep top crack. Following this I wasn't surprised and I battled with wet arm jams and pleaded for a tighter rope.

Owain grappling with the steep, wet and not that loose top crack.
Next time I go to Craig Doris I think I'll go on a warm day with my trad head on!

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