Thursday, 29 May 2008

Wales - Slate, Slate, Slate.

Franco and I travelled down to Wales, with Franco's parent's who were going to visit a friend in the area. We looked at the climbing around Llanberis and obviously knew there was PLENTY to do. We decided to try and divide our time between 'the Pass' and the Welsh Slate Quarries, Franco had his eye on a few hard lines. However, during the 4 days the weather was VERY changeable and we never did get up 'the Pass', still a good time was had around the Quarries climbing some very nice lines!

Bus Stop Quarry

We got to Wales on Saturday around mid afternoon and ventured up to 'Bus Stop Quarry' which my guidebook had 3 routes in, we decided that people would probably be there with a guide. There were and our first route on Slate was 'Equinox' - VS 4c. We climbed the route Solo, finish right, which is actually the line of the HVS, but it looked easier and more likely to be the route at the time. We then got the ropes out and climbed a Sport route (a first for me) called 'Whizz Bang' which we didn't know the grade of, it was hard work; crimpy and reachy and i rested and it turned out to be F6c.

Me on Equinox At this point, i knew i didn't really like Slate my shoes weren't sticking as well on the edges as well as Franco's Shoes, so when we left 'Bus Stop' to 'Dali's Hole' i just belayed Franco on a couple of routes, namely 'Launching Pad' - E1 5b, however Franco was unaware that a siderunner could be put in the crack to the right, so his ascent probably deserves E2.
The Bizzare Lake, at Dali's Hole
We then wandered over to Serengeti and bivvyed. It was quite chilly with a gusty wind blowing around and the noise of the Hydroelectric Plant kept me awake for sometime. Next thing it was about 5.30am and it was cold. We got up and Franco climbed 'Seamstress' - VS and 'Seams the Same' - E1/2 in good style and then he soloed the VS twice more before i had to drop a rope down for him when he tried to climb it Barefoot!

Serengeti Slab - Seamstress
We then wandered back to Dali's Hole and Franco climbed 'Holy, Holy, Holy' - E2 and i decided to second him and then lead it the next day, but i did get myself on 'Lauching Pad' - E1 as it looked ok today so far i hadn't really climbing anything so i was feeling abit shit. Then we wandered over, again to Bus Stop Quarry as we needed to find people with a guide! Franco and I soloed 'Equinox' - VS again and then Franco Led 'Scarlet Runner' - E3/4 which was quite annoying, as i had no chance; it's his kind of climbing though - Crimps and rockovers on small edges!

Anthony on 'Holy, Holy, Holy'
Tonight we slept in a old building, but the wind was knocking slates down and Rat faeces forced us to set my tent up; it didn't rain so i didn't have to dry it which i was happy about. We got up reasonably early and set off to Bus Stop, Franco climbed Equinox again and i talked myself out of a lead of 'Fool's Gold' - E1 i just didn't like the line it took! So we went back to Dali's Hole Again! and i climbed 'Holy, Holy, Holy' - E2 as i had promised myself. We also messed around on a few Sport climbs and then Franco Dogged the E4 called 'The Chiselling' which was a bloody good effort as i couldn't do the first crux so i handed my second to a good climber who was watching with interest, a bloke called Anthony who had just climbed 'Holy...' he enjoyed the route and did well. I was glad i didn't dog my way up on second.
We then searched for a place to bivvy, and once found decided a good meal at Pete's Eat's was in order, so we walked down and got LOADS of food and PINT'S of tea! - Great stuff!
We bivvyied in a small three sided roofed building, that night the rain began quite heavily and it was the stormiest night so far, the structure was good but it couldn't keep out the storm we got quite wet and cold. Ah... the joys of Bivvying!

We got up, cold and tired and walked down to Pete's for tea! a good warm up and the weather now retreating we headed to Vivian Quarry, reckoning that it would be quiet up there seeing as the weather had been miserable. It was quiet so we jumped on 'Comes The Dervish' Franco took a while on it but climbed it Clean and i was highly impressed. I not liking slate was left to decide whether or not to 'lose my Onsight' or try it on lead, which i'd have probably fallen off! I decided i'd rather Second Franco clean than Dog my way up on lead. I did second him cleanly and thoroughly enjoyed it, i don;t think i would have if i'd dogged my way up or backed off!

Comes the Dervish - Vivian Quarry
I made sure though, that before we left Wales, i did one thing. We walked over to Bus Stop and i got on 'Fools Gold' straight away, the crux is VERY well protected and i ended up running it out to the top after placing a cam from the creaky ledge. I very nice route and i felt i'd given Slate a good go, even if i don't like climbing on it!
Tonight was our best nights sleep, we slept under a good roof with a clean floor and even though it rained it was warm and dry. We went home feeling tired but having done alot of good climbing, Franco however wasn't finished, he was meeting Jack from Harrogate to climb at Brimham before heading to the Peak for a week, i was left to go home to study for Chemistry and Environmental Science A levels, ah well....

Friday, 23 May 2008

Old Haunts

Franco and I returned to Captain Cook crags, to visit the areas we had previously not paid attention to, such as the 'greener' end of Cooks Quarry and also it would be my first visit to Cockshaw hill, reputed to have the worst rock quality of any crag in the guide/the Moors.
We climbed for a good 2 hours on 'The Nose' which has a good concentration of harder routes which are bold in character, being a bit too big to solo but with no gear meaning a lead is out of the question really. We managed to gibber up 'The Nose - E2 5b' but decided to leave and seekout Cockshaw Hill, before we left the crag.

We arrived at Cockshaw with about 40-50 minutes before our pickup, so i raced around trying to climb all the routes i could, starting with the nice HVS solos at the left end of the crag and then a gibbering solo up 'Cut and Run - E1 5c'. I then got to work on the 3 E2's that are all in the same place! the best line being 'Morning Wall - E2 5c' which takes a flake crack set in a small corner, the crux is low, and i luckily got it without much problem, i couldn't however, repeat this feat.
Franco then turned his attention to 'Mind Release - E2 6a' a line he had previously thought 'abit mad' but we dispatched the line after a couple of goes each, the rock quality is questionable on the middle section but the climbing is good, reachy and strenuous, after this we enjoyed the sunset and then walked back to the car park.
This was a much more productive day than the last time we journeyed to 'Esoterica'. A few weeks back we went to Esklets and the strong wind, light rain and overall 'inability' to climb, so this is what we do when were bored at crags.