Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cleaning Tremadog, talking, bouldering and Big G...

Three assignments, crappy weather and the arrival of Felicity (my new road bike) have prevented me from getting out over the last couple of weeks. Friday came and went and at last my last assignment of the year was handed in.

On Saturday Duncan, Gwen, Ollie and me drove to Tremadog to take part in the BMC clean up festival. The weather was pretty crappy when we arrived, but undeterred Duncan and I donned full waterproofs and head up the start of Christmas Curry towards Grotto. As I reached the bottom of the route of the route drizzle turned to rain and the crag into a waterfall. I decided that ground up cleaning Grotto in these condition would be a bit much so headed up the original finish to Christmas Curry, which was interesting in the conditions. Thankfully as I topped out the clouds cleared and the sun came out. Dunc seconded and did a bit of gardening to the top pitch. He lowered me down Grotto which need a good clean. I then top roped back up it. It will be a nice climb when a few rains have washed all the dirt away.

Dunc training for Alpinism on Christmas Curry.
Extreme gardening on The Neb.
The sun had been out for a few hours now and the crag was drying up nicely. Duncan and I were keen for the Neb/Broken Edge combo. However a shower of rocks indicated that it was still being cleaned do we decided to look elsewhere. We were a bit flummoxed of what to do and were heading towards Vector (which we’d both done) when I remembered Daddy Cool/The Sting, which neither of us had done. I nipped up the easy first pitch. Duncan then set despatched the tricky second pitch, which has an interesting move through a roof, without difficulty. I then scampered across the 5a traverse pitch to the base of Sting corner, Duncan found this surprisingly difficult on second.

Duncan getting perplexed by pitch 3 of Daddy Cool/The Sting.
The Sting corner was my lead. It looked hard and I was sorely tempted to whizz up the perfect hand jams on Reinetta instead, but if you don’t try these things you’ll never get up them. At this point a voice shouted up from the road that we had half an hour until the raffle started. I up climbed and down climbed the strenuous, but safe corner a couple of times, before cocking up my foot work and slipping off. With the clock ticking I swallowed my pride and aided my way out. Dunc seconded it clean and reckoned nearly 6a.

I’d be asked to do an evening talk about my BMC sponsored trip to Peru last year. Having never given a lecture before I was pretty nervous about it. I’d run through it a few times and had a good idea of what I was going to say. The talk seemed to well received and even the joke I made about the time I found a dead body went down okayish.

We spent the rest of the evening getting pissed on free beer and watching Miles say progressively more horrendous things before crashing out in the bunk house. The next morning we woke to rain so after breakfast at Eric’s we headed home. Back in Bangor the sun came out so we headed to Braichmelyn boulder for a bit of light entertainment. I flashed the V1 and V2, but could get anywhere on Central Wall (I reckon if would go at A3 of C4!) At least Ollie couldn’t get anywhere on it either! Duncan crushed it after a few goes before dispatching the sit start first go!

All those scriptures and self flagellation prevents Ogwen Cottage's resident monk from sending Central Wall...
The domain of heroes...
Gwen said she was mad keen for the Assassin so on Monday afternoon we headed to the Main Cliff with Matt and Polly. I gave the burly first pitch a good few goes before admitting defeat to the steep holdless crack. Gwen walked up it without issue! I seconded the pitch ok but had to frig it a bit to get the runners out. At the base of the crux it was clear that there was no way I’d be leading that one so I handed over the lead to Gwen, who cruised the pitch. I'd not climbed at Gogarth for a while but sitting on the belay looking out to sea I remembered what I love about the place so much. I managed to seconded it without too much trouble but I definitely don’t have the composure to deal with the scary run outs at the moment. Good lead Gwen but put more gear in next time!

Gwen ready to assassinate...
Gwen starting up the bold crux of the Assassin.
Gwen at the top of the crux pitch of the Assassin. You don't want to fall off here!
We finished the route and wandered back down to bags. I was pretty easy, but Burdy was mad keen for another route so we all ran down. Burdy dispatched Stimulator in style, while I cruised my way up Emulator. I had seconded it a couple of times before and always found tricky so I was pretty chuffed to lead it. The day finished in the dark, which always the sign of a good days climbing.

Me using my big legs to their full advantage on Emulator!

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