Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Big G

Fit and light after ten weeks in the Alps, I became obsessed with Gogarth when I first arrived at Bangor University. To the extent that some in the climbing club gave me the catch phase, "Wanna go Gogarth?" as that is all I seemed to say in the pub. I'm not sure what it is that I love so much about the place: maybe it's the outrageously good climbing, maybe it's adventurous situations, maybe that it's often warm and sunny there whilst the mountains are shrouded in clag, or maybe it's the seals! During my four years as a student I must have climbed close to a hundred routes at the Big G. Recently I had been neglecting the magical place. I'd only visited Goggers three of four times this year and each time doing a route I'd done before. In fact I lead Emulator twice! This had to change. I had to get back on new ground.

Duncan wanted to try and lead his first E5. He didn't really want to climb as a three. I ignored him and elbowed my way into Ben's car. Soon we were abseiling into Castell Helen and I was racked up and squriming my way along snappy breaks on the 4b first pitch of Kalahari. Duncan lead the main pitch and I seconded the traverse with alarm as I looked right and saw two runners which my rope wasn't clipped into. Thankfully I didn't fall off. Ben lead the excellent and tricky finishing crack, before we all headed over to the Main Cliff to Emulator yet again.
Check out those legs - Dunc on the tricky start to the main pitch on Kalahari.
DC on the tricky top crack.
Duncan on Emulator - Would you want to be anywhere else?
The next day I was back. This time just with Ben. The plan had been to do Tyrannosaurus Rex (a much, much better name than T Rex), but the sun wasn't on it yet and it was still greasy. We tried to scramble across to Zeus but the sea wouldn't let us, at least not without some extreme jumping! Instead I escaped up a no star VS on the wall opposite the Wen Slab. We coiled the abseil rope and descended down to Zeus with no expectations. Ben lead the first pitch, excellent 5a climbing leading to the Quartz Icicle stance. I set off up the excellent middle pitch. Reasonably sustained climbing with just enough fiddily gear and a couple of hard bits. I had to reverse to a ledge to remove my shoes before committing to the final overlap. The 4b top pitch described in the guide was nonsensical. Ben followed his nose, which provided brilliant jug pulling in the sky.
Ben nearing the belay on Zeus pitch 2.
A few days later I returned with Fingers. I abseiled into Easter Island Gully to climb Hombre, a bĂȘte noire of mine. Many years ago I'd ended up on perched on this ledge a short way up the route, unable to climb up or down and with no runners. Instead of committing to it and taking the lob, I slid my rack down the rope, untied and jumped into the sea, before escaping up a VS. Thankfully It turned out I'd been on the wrong route and Hombre climbed the next arete over, which looked near identical. I lead the first pitch, which wad brilliant and James jammed his was up the awesome second pitch. With two contrasting and sustained pitches the route is a strong contender for the best E1 at Gogarth.
Jimmy reaching the belay at the top of Hombre Pitch 1.
James wanted to do Supercrack so we abseiled back down. Unfortuantley he forgot his half rope and the route is too short to do on a doubled over one and too hard for a single half. Instead we escaped up Merchant Man, which was utterly brilliant and totally desperate for E1. You wouldn't feel short changed at E3!
Like the Beacon but outside - Jimmy on Merchant Man.
In other news I got engaged last week!
Nikki psyched for her new sparkly!

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