Wednesday, March 28, 2012

In the summer time...

The last 6 days having been hot, scorchingly so for March. I finished my assignment on Friday and headed to Lligwy beach for a barbeque to celebrate Duncan's and Burdy's birthday.

The assembled cast of heroes and choppers on Lligwy beach.
My mum came down for the weekend so we spend saturday bumbling around the slate quarries looking at the 'industrial archeology'. Nikki and I nipped to the summit of Elidir Fawr, which is very majestic with great views of the Glyders and down Ogwen.

On Sunday the clocks went forward (Hurray!) and I went cragging in the Pass with Mark Reeves who I'd bumped into a few times before but had never climbed with. I wasn't too fussed about what we climbed but mentioned I hadn't done Overlapping Wall, so we headed to the Wastad.

Mark Reeves on the first pitch of Overlapping Wall.
Me pulling through the crux on Overlapping Wall. Photo: Mark Reeves.
I'd done the first pitch of Overlapping Wall a few years previously but it got dark before I got a chance to do the main pitch. Mark had done the route many times previously so was happy for me to lead the crux. I climbed up to the overlap got a couple of runners in and tentatively went up and down a couple of times before committing to the bold and quite pumpy crux sequence. Thankfully the climbing is in balance and a good nut appeared before too long. Another tricky sequence followed and then it was pleasant romping to the top.

Next came Elidor which Mark recommended as more of the same. Again I got the crux pitch, which involved another pull over an overlap on funky holds, perhaps not quite as tricky as Overlapping Wall.

Old Holborn next the first route I ever did as a Bangor Student. I can vividly remember struggling through the crux, an innocent fresher, desperate to impress and Burdy in his blue Ron Hills seconding up still pissed. Mark's never done it. I lead the first pitch, which goes well until I get lost. A few minutes of faffing and I'm back on track and at the belay. Mark cruises the pitch and soon it's my turn I cock up the crux and end up swinging on the rope. The top pitch is tricky, more bold 5a rather than the straightforward 4c the guide suggests, thankfully it doesn't require too much thought. I'm keen for a route on the Mot to hide from the heat, but Mark's feet are killing so we call it a day.

Nikki is on nights this week and decides that climbing is more fun than sleeping so we headed to Ogwen to enjoy the sunshine. We swung leads up the super classic Grooved Arete on Tryfan, which was brilliant and lived up to the hype. The Knight's Move pitch is especially good. At the top we leaped from Adam and Eve before heading back to the car.

The East Face of Tryfan
Nikki leading Grooved Arete.
Nikki high up on the route.
Nikki, Adam and Eve.
That even I climbed Wrinkle on the Wastad with my Mum (who doesn't climb) and her husband Ian (who does). It was good fun and Mum did really well.

Mum and Ian on Wrinkle.
On Tuesday we headed to Lliwedd and climbed the Classic Rock tick Avalanche, Red Wall, Longland's Continuation. It was good fun and felt very alpine. It was so hot that the crag was bone dry (rare at any time of year and unheard of in March) and we climbed in tee shirts. The last pitch is a cracking little slab that tops out right on the summit.

Lliwedd - Dark and Gloomy
Nikki climbing towards the sunshine.
Tall Mark and I got up early and headed to Cloggy today. We were first at the crag and it was bone dry (well as dry as it ever is). Jelly Roll was the order of the day. I tried to persuade Mark to lead the Drainpipe Crack as I'd lead it before and hadn't enjoyed, but he'd seconded it before and also hadn't enjoyed it, so I dutifully set off. I wasn't as bad as I remembered, quite leg pumpy with lots of face holds. Thankfully you don't need to use the damp crack. Mark lead the second pitch, which continues up the crack before stepping left and traversing across the top of Indian Face. This pitch is steeper than it looks and I found it tricky to second, a notch up from the Drainpipe Crack.

Cloggy in the early morning light.
Mark Freestone seconding the Drainpipe Crack.
Mark leading Jelly Roll Pitch 2 with the Indian Face only metres away.
Mark leading Jelly Roll Pitch 2.
Konrad Doyle leading the Drainpipe Crack.
I was now stood above Great Wall looking up at the steep imposing groove above. After some dithering I got some good runners in and bridged my way up the groove. The climbing was sustained, but thankfully the holds and the gear were both good and plentiful. After a welcome respite at half height it was more of the same followed by a series of final powerful moves into the finishing chimney. The exposure looking down the groove at Indian Face was jaw dropping. One of the best routes I have ever done.

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