When we picked him up Dan seemed rather vague, but it turned out that he hadn't slept for 72 hours, so I think that can be forgiven. After some more plan-changing chicanery and a nice kebab at the Conwy Kebab House, we ended up at Mr. Ripley's house in Bangor for a few beers and a meeting of the great minds of UKC. Or something. Tom let us doss on his floor, and after a refreshing light snack breakfast in Mike's Bites we drove over to Gogarth, where it was freezing. I persuaded the others that the crag would be sheltered so we headed over towards the Upper Tier. I was right as ever, but I made up for this by sandbagging myself like an idiot on the first route of the day. Given free choice of route I opted for Central Park, which has a first pitch described as "mediocre" and "serious". At HVS 5a. Well done me.
|Jon on Fail Safe|
|Oswald near the top of Emulator|
We dropped Dan back off home and spent the night at Ynys Ettws, before heading down to Tremadog. Jon was labouring under the mistaken impression that it was a rubbish crag, so we were determined to prove him wrong. Since there were three of us we decided to pick a route we each really wanted to do and just get on with it, rather than faff around. Jon went first, leading The Weaver in one huge pitch. The route finds a way up the left hand side of the Vector buttress, with a lot of 5b and a fair amount of 5c for good measure. Eventually after a whole lot of climbing it meets the top pitch of Vector and everything suddenly gets very polished. This helpfully coincides with a really difficult sequence to pass a well chalked undercut. Jon and James used some kind of laybacking tomfoolery whilst I attacked it with sexy wide bridging, but we all agreed that it felt pretty damn hard. A great route though, and nice to have finally done a route on the proper side of such a classic bit of rock.
I was up next and keen for Grim Wall Direct. I was secretly hoping some morons would abseil down it whilst I was climbing so I could tie their ropes off in a fit of righteous indignation, but I was denied that pleasure and had to console myself with the climbing, which was lovely. A tricky little crack and one of those bold slabs that gets easier as the gear recedes into the distance on pitch one, followed by a few exciting moves up to and round a little roof and a spicy little move right at the top. It'd be worth 3 stars if it wasn't stuck in a grotty gully. James rounded the day off with another very long pitch starting up the tricky groove of Leg Break, across an exciting slab between Grim Wall and Meshach, and through the top roof of Blinkers to the left of Shadrach. A quality pitch with an awful lot of good climbing on it.
After another night at Ynys, Jon fancied a day of easier soloing and scrambling about, so he wandered off up to the Parson's Nose whilst the youth and I made for Dinas Mot. I led Lorraine Direct, which was a classy HVS pitch with plenty of that bold, pockety slab climbing that the crag is famous for. Next we did West Rib, with me leading another long, bold HVS pitch in the middle (featuring an exciting run out above an RP3 again). James finished up the striking E1 finger crack of The Chain, although he spoilt things by placing way too much gear and falling off as a result. It's a brilliant pitch, and wouldn't make a bad first E1, being relatively short, not too strenuous and super safe.
|James seconding Lorraine Direct|
All told it was an awesome trip. I'm very psyched for some more climbing. And it's sunny. But I have an exam to revise for and then a conference in Norway, so it might be a while before I get out on rock again. Bah. Sometimes life can be so very unfair...