Wednesday, March 14, 2012

El Chorro, Gilbratar, Tremadog and Banned Goodnesss...

Nikki and I have just come back from a week in El Chorro. We did some cool routes, but neither of us were particularly psyched. It was nice to get away from the UK for a week and be in the sunshine.

The best routes I did on the trip were Asfalto at El Torcal and Tinto de Verano at Frontalas.

Me leading the excellent Asfalto.
We also did the King's Walkway, which was quite sketchy but good entertainment.

Nikki on the start of the King's Walkway.

Nikki going back through the railway tunnels after the walkway.
The Olive Branch, apparently the place to be, was fully booked so we ended up Staying at Finca La Campa. It wasn't too great to be honest. We paid extra for a double room, which was tiny with no natural light. The vibe was pretty bad too - the other guest were a group of Germans who enjoyed standing around topless and applying suncream to each other...

By the end of the week we both needed a change of scene so we head to Gibraltar. I'd not been Gibraltar before and it was pretty cool; warm and sunny with lots of friendly people. Perhaps Brits would be as patriotic if our weather was as good? We headed up the rock on the cable car to the check out the Macaques (not apes!), which were quite entertaining.

Visiting relatives in Gibraltar.
Did I mention I had a shop in Gibraltar...
I didn't know it was alcohol free beer honest...
Back in the Wales Dunc, Ollie, Livingstone, Harry and I had a cool evening causing mayhem and jumping off the bridge. It was pretty exciting when Dunc snapped the rope!

Duncan looking psyched to back almost back on the bridge having just snapped the static.

Remember kids ropes aren't strong even if you have a negative mass, you can snap them if you know how...
Livingstone proving to us all that he is better than us!
After three hours sleep Ollie and I got up and drove to Tremadog. I sandbagged Ollie into leading a wet Barbarian. He cruised it and I promptly fell off seconding.

Burrow cruising a wet Barbarian.
We then wandered over to Falcon. I've been wanting to do this for ages and have been putting it off for nearly as long. The bottom was wet and I nearly fagged out. After a fair amount of faffing on the allegedly loose (is it really?) bottom section I was committed to the crux. The climbing is sustained, excellent, absorbing and technical in the first half. The top section is pretty tricky too, it follows a crack that doesn't relent until right at the top. I had to properly try on this route and was chuffed to pieces on the top. It is far and away the best E1 at Tremadog and one of the best E1 pitches in North Wales. Cheers for belaying me for so long Ollie.

After lectures the next morning Polly and I headed to Craig Y Forwyn for more banned goodness. We abseiled in and climbed Route 66 a great, but slightly over grown, VS. I then had a go at Mojo the classic E1 of the crag. I did the difficult start moves and reached the first break. I got a small cam in, but I wasn't too inspired. I tried to fiddle in more gear, but got progressively more pumped and then lowered off.

PH on an abseiling masterclass...
We then climbed Fido's Redemption, which I had had a complete mare on last year. I don't know what I was on that day because I cruised it this time. As I reached the belay a posh voice traveled up from the caravan site: "CLIMBERS! YOU ARE TRESPASSING!" Thankfully Polly saved the day by apologizing profusely in her best school girl voice and he left us alone.

Polly leading the awesome top pitch of Fido's Redemption.
We then finished that day with some extreme abseiling to retrieve my gear from Mojo... 

By the end of the day Polly had progressed to extreme abseiling jiggery pokery...

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