Wednesday, 5 May 2010

North Wales - Slate and Gogarth.

The LUUMC had a sort of 'bodged' trip as a result of a mini-bus hiring rejection, as a result we made our way to North Wales in people's cars, two quite psyched folk hitched!
Anyhow, we journied down to Bethesda, where we were staying, bantering between the four of us. Ewan, Conor, Huw and myself were on 'good form' with respect to jokes, anecdotes and this was epitomised with us rollin' into Bethesda listening to the music from Tetris, that we'd linked from Huws Gameboy to Ewan's Cars Tape player...good times.

The saturday was a dull looking day and we opted for the slate as it was showery. Ewan and myself were psyched to tick classic E2's, the first of which was Pull My Daisy (E2 5c***). This classic is described as being a 'poor mans alternative to Comes the Dervish (E3)' but it is a classic non the less. Ewan cruised the route, only taking time to commit to a rockover up below the Metal stake that forms the last piece of protection.
It then rained, so we sat under some slate overhang for half an hour or so, waiting for it to stop. During this time, there were two false starts for me and i was incredibly pissed off. Eventually however it did brighten up and i jumped on the Daisy, and dispatched it with similar ease, a very classy route with a gearfilled technical crack line, then a run out but much easier section above the stake-thing.

I then got on the retobolted 'Horse Lattitudes' (F6a+), as i had spotted the line (which climbs a Dolerite Dyke) in my guidebook with the grade E3. I climb for lines these days so decided to do it anyway, bolted or not. The climbing is pleasant, with some thin rockovers and interesting holds in quartz rich veins and the odd pocket. I made one tricky move and decided that was probably the crux, so i missed the next bolt and ran it out to the ledge, just to get a more 'traddy' feeling. The upper arete is climbed with a particularly pleasing rock rightwards.
Ewan was less enthused with this climb and we quickly departed to the German Schoolgirl (E2). However, just before abbing in it began to rain in earnest and we ended up at Pete's Eats after having a quick looking around the Quarries and fortunately meeting up with Huw and Conor at Bus Stop Quarry.

Day 2: Gogarth was chosen as the weather is nicer towards the west coast and this seacliff is as westerly as you can go on Anglesey. I'd never been to his most amazing seacliff so i was keen to get a feel for the place on the 'upper tier', plus it had the classic 'The Strand' (E2 5b***) which is a sustained, pumpy crackline in an impressive position.
I had a 10 minute warm up, as it was cold with a blustery northerly and it was out of the morning sun. I felt apprehensive and chilly to begin with, my beta for the climb would be not to look up the crack to see how much left you have to do!
This 43m pitch really does just keep coming, but it's all there as they say and so it should be at 5b. More gear than you could shake a stick at, i quickly realised that i would run out of quickdraws if i wasn't careful. This was much to the delight of Ewan for some reason...
My last gear below the final bulge was a nut, complete with the rest of my nuts clipped directly into the rope - but it didn't really matter as the moves here are juggy.
Very happy with this climb, i met Ian Moore from the moors who had come up to do the Strand. Myself and Ewan wandered into the sun and jumped on 'Fail Safe' (E2 5b). This routes first pitch is described as 'Funky' and it certainly was. Ewan lead the line well seconding i was impressed with the moves and rock architecture. I then lead the second pitch which is a 5a 'V corner' that is the second pitch of the HVS next door. Pleasant climbing on both pitches and well worth the effort.
We decided to retreat from Gogarth and it's cold wind to Rhoscolyn. I was psyched for the Hard E2 'The Sun' whereas Ewan fancied the E2 5b that he had climbed a few years earlier on second. Arriving at the crag however i lost all psyche to climb, as it was busy and there were people on the Sun. So Ewan quickly climbed the E2 5b and we departed to his house.
Day 3: We fancied a day in the Pass but that night it rained/snowed so we elected for the slate again, mainly as we all had routes we wanted to do there. I fancied actually getting on German Schoolgirl and Ewan wanted to do the E2 arete of Serengeti Slab and also Red and Yellow and... the E2 5b just to the left of Pull My Daisy.We started the day at Serengeti, with Ewan quickly climbing 'The Stick Up' (the arete) and Conor climbing the E1 'Seams the Same'. We then departed to Twll Mwr, where Conor and Huw climbed Combat Rock (HVS/E1) and myself and Ewan climbed 'Rhyfelwr' E1. Both particularly nice lines and the huge void that is Twll Mwr made me quite psyched to climb the massively exposed looking arete - which went at E2. However, it was cold and not in the sun so it wouldnt have been pleasant to climb or Belay. I'll come back!

We then swiftly made for German Schoolgirl, which i climbed with relative ease (even though i nearly fell off early on!) and this was particularly satisfying. A line i'd wanted to do for quite a long time and it didn't really disappoint - it would have been better when E2 was properly at my limit but never mind.

While here i met Matt, whom myself and Franco had met 2 years previous in Pete's Eats while we were dossing in the slate quarries. It was nice to chat to him, was amazed he remembered me.
Ewan didn't fancy German Schoolgirl so he ascended the ropes and made for Rainbow Slab where we found Conor on Bella Lugosi is Dead (E1+). He was stood about 2/3 of the way up in a most exposed position - good for a photograph said Ewan and myself pretty much in unison. However, Conor required some gear (cams and small wires) so Ewan lowered them down to him and i took some snaps. Conor then climbed the impressive looking crackline, after finally getting some gear that fit!
Ewan and I headed down and Ewan quickly (but not without interest) climbed 'Red and Yellow and..' I shouted up to him to ask what it was like, his answer was clear - if i didn't really want to do it, then i shouldn't. Fair do's i thought, as it didn't really impress me as i line so i took a cowards retreat and just starred longingly at Collossus (E3) that i feel i probably could climb, i just totally don't have the confidence!

1 comment:

Ewan said...

apparantly your getting on syretts if me and ralph do the box quarry traverse. Better invest in some large cams mate.