Monday, 2 April 2012

3 Days Of Win... And Some Welshness

The last 5 days started and ended with some serious sulking, but there's been a fair amount of winning in between, so I'll concentrate on that. Last Thursday, after some other plans fell through, a hastily-organised trip to Stanage with Lizzie materialised. She was pretty much fresh off the boat from two years in exotic far off lands (with no rock in them), so she needed reminding about the delights of grit.

Luncheon de victoire...

We sauntered up to the slabs just left of High Neb, with me in a t-shirt and Lizzie wearing about 5 thermals and a fleece. There was a wee Severe in the graded list that I'd not yet ticked, so I started with that. Lizzie made an admirable effort at making it look substantially harder than Severe, and even tried avoiding all the holds and climbing a different route entirely for a few moves, but eventually she remembered what it was all about.

Next I led a very pleasant VS 5a called Rinty, which a few years ago I would have found desperate. There were no positive footholds, just lots of sloping nonsense, but the handholds and gear were good. It felt fairly easy. It seems that a little bit of footwork goes a long way. Lizzie then summoned the beans to lead Duo Cracks, a well protected (especially when Lizzie was placing the gear!) pair of slabby cracks (surprisingly).

I've decided that trying to lead an HVS every time I go out would be good for my soul, so I nipped up a pleasant little bold slab for the tick this time. Then rounded the day off with Typhoon, a ticklist VS that I hadn't done before. At Stanage. What a treat. It was quite good too. All in all a rather lovely day.

On Saturday I got up early(ish) and Jaime picked me up and we headed for Tremadog, where Marq, J-Ro and friends were spending the weekend. We arrived at lunchtime and quickly nipped up The Brothers, before hacking up to Pant Ifan for a speedy ascent of Borchgrevinck/Poor Man's Peuterey. The sun came out in the evening, so I felt compelled to keep my HVS challenge up, and manned up to the unknown challenge of Holloway. After running the first two pitches together to a superbly positioned belay on top of a pinnacle, the top pitch set off through a menacing looking bulge. This turned out to be the crux, with a lightly desperate lurch for a mercifully good jam required to ensure success. After this the angle eased off and there was time to enjoy the rather exposed traverse to the belay tree. We abseiled off and reached the bottom just as darkness fell. Good timing.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny, but Jaime was feeling a bit under the weather, so J-Ro and I climbed Grotto Direct, a reasonably soft HVS with some bold climbing (on a section which was in common with the non-direct VS version). Then, inspired by Marq's heroics on it, I manned up and finally got on The Plum. I've been wanting to climb it ever since, 4 years ago, I stepped onto the top arete on the Micah Eliminate and looked down the line. The new guide advises avoiding the famously desperate starting crack, and who am I to argue with the guide, so I dutifully avoided it. Having got established on the arete the route didn't disappoint, with loads of brilliant, varied climbing, excellent moves, and supreme positions. A proper 3 star classic.

On The Plum

After this Jaime had woken up a bit, so we yomped up Oberon via the original (rather polished) start at 4c, before Jaime fancied a crack at the initial layback crack of Belshazzar. She made the first 2/3 of the pitch look easy, but then psyched herself out at the overhang and backed off. It succumbed to my sexy wide-bridging assault, and I managed to run the second pitch up the rib (avoiding the random traverse of the original line), just reaching the top with one metre of rope to spare. Whoop.

We retired to Ynys Ettws after enjoying a pizza from the magic pizza shop in Llanberis and plotted some adventures for Monday. The forecast was good, with only a small risk of "Isolated pockets of drizzle to the North of Snowdon", we decided to head to the Moelwyns. When we got there, it was raining. So we went to Moel y Gest, where it was raining, and then Tremadog, where it was dry for a few minutes, but then started raining again. Harrumph. The forecast for Tuesday was horrendous, so we decided to bail and head back to Sheffield. Stupid bloody Welsh weather...

There was a crag out there somewhere

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