Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Moon, The Main Cliff and Castle Rock

I picked Gwen up with no real plans. She suggested The Moon so we drove to the Promised Land. Gwen offered me the crux, I was tempted, but politely declined. I racked up and we abseiled into the "dirty rotten chaos" that is Yellow Walls. After some deliberation we located the start and set off. Steep juggy moves off the deck, led to a good spike, which I slung and continued climbing. The next thing I new I was barndooring, I lunged for a jug to a no avail. A foothold had exploded.  I ended up upside down, not far from the deck. Thankfully there was no damage done apart from a broken helmet and bruised ego. Cheers for the catch Gwen. A little shaken up I climbed back up and finished the pitch.

Gwen setting of on The Moon Pitch 2.
Gwen set off on the second (crux) pitch. It looked tricky, but she did really well before disappearing out of sight. Some time passed before I heard her shout safe. The ropes went tight and apprehensively I started climbing. At well went to plan until I made tricky moves up the steep wall. I managed to do these okay but unable to find a rest got pumped and had a rest on a rope. To my horror I could now see Gwen at the belay at least ten horizontal metres away. I'd been here before when I did Creeping Lima with Rob Greenwood. Paralyzed by fear I stood for an eternity. Trying to think of a way out. the only solution my frazzled brain could come up with was to abseil off the single runner, I was clutching, into the sea below! Thankfully Rob talked me out of this madness and I manned up and seconded the pitch. Interestingly he hasn't asked to go climbing with me since!

Gwen on the crux.
It went more smoothly this time and after de-pumping I traversed the thin band to the peg above the belay, where I had another rest before continued down the belay. I racked up and started off up the last pitch, but my head wasn't in the right place so I handed the lead over to Gwen, who cruised it. I managed to second it clean, but it's a hard pitch that doesn't let up.

Gwen on the final pitch.
 The next day Dunc and I headed back to Gogarth. We started with Aardvark, which Duncan cruised. The climbing is tricky, with lots of small gear. I'm not sure of the grade, but I was pleased to second it clean. I then had a look at Fail Safe, but lack of gear and sore arms from the day before put paid to that, so we headed for Cordon Bleau, which neither of us had done before. The routes not that great, but climbs through some impressive terrain. It does however have an excellent and quite tricky crux, which I was pleased to lead.

Duncan leading Aardvark
Jon Ratcliffe climbing out of the chimney on Rat Race pitch 2.
We then headed to Holyhead Mountain. Dunc had his eyes on Snakebite Wall. He put in a really good effort, giving it everything, before getting spat off when the route joins Penny. I then lead King Bee Crack, which I'd dogged late last year. I managed it clean this time, but not without a fight. It's a proper battle.

Duncan bitten by the snake.
Ollie and I were working in the Lakes this weekend, but managed a couple of routes at Castle Rock in the evening. The North Crag is currently banned due instability on the left hand side of the crag, but I don't see the harm in climbing on the right hand side. We did Harlot Face, which offered brilliant face climbing, with a scary first pitch. On the second evening with did Final Giggle. I tried it before getting pumped silly by the pegs. I'm not very good at trusting pegs and with no other gear in sight I handed the ropes to Burrows, who dispatched it without issue. I got up it fine on second, but it's a sandbag at E1. Looking at Ted Chesby abseiling off reminded me that they don't give E grades out like sweeties in the Lakes!

Ollie on the crux of Harlot Face.

Ollie bridging above the pegs on the crux of Final Giggle.


  1. I think any trip to Yellow Walls is a deep, soul searching experience. Glad to hear you had you enjoyed The Moon (although it didn't sound quite as full-on as the Creeping Lemma 'experience'). If you're after a similar level of fun check out Pergyl, only gets a star but it very very good - more ridiculous exposure/big dusty holds.

    I'm pretty impressed by the amount of Gogarth activity that is going on with in the Bangor Uni scene, it's inspiring to see people getting out, keep it up.


  2. How did you break the helmet? Doing some helmet reviews at the mo' so am interested in who has broken what and how! :)

    I onsighted King Bee but thought it was a right proper fight. I wondered if it was because it was my first time on that type of rock, but maybe its just top end of its grade!

  3. Fell off inverted and banged my head! It's a Meteor III. It's not smashed to pieces but one of spokes on the side has snapped. I need a new one now if you've got any review one going spare/cheap...

    Good effort on King Bee Crack. I always suspected that you aren't quite as puntery as you make out! I reckon it is a sand bag at 5a but fair at HVS.