Classic Slate Afternoon

Mark Dicken on Mental Lentils HVS

Modern life is full of things that get in the way of climbing, whilst I don’t suffer from the affliction of a family or WAG to hinder my climbing days out. I do suffer it by proxy, as many of my favourite climbing partners are with family. If that’s not bad enough we also have to battle with no synchronised working life, if only we all worked Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, it would be so easy to meet up at weekends.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the weather, and given North Wales seems to try and stand resolute against the Atlantic conveyor, lining up storm front upon storm front. So given that my climbing partner has a climbing pass, neither of us are working and the weather is suitable for climbing then and only then are we able to get out. So as you can image that’s not as often as you might like!

Llion Morris dancing across the crux of Psychotherapy

Today though like a lunar eclipse all the necessary celestial bodies came into alignment and we got out. Whilst the media are warning of a cold snap, the sun was out and a locals circuit of Vivian was just magical.

It is the joy of living in Llanberis that when it comes good you can run out of the house and be on sun drenched rock in 3 minutes. Although if you read this blog you’ll know I have reasonably regular hits of Vivian quarry, but is so good is criminal, the trick is to mix and match the route. So today it was a warm up on Mental Lentil and Psychotherapy, before running up to the Dervish level.

Now I had kind of psyched myself up last night to climb the ‘Dervish’, the classic E3 first ascended by Stevie Haston, in 1981, cleaned with the famous knife ‘borrowed from Pete’s Eat. Now I ran into Katie his eldest daughter today, she was working in V12 for a day off from looking after her three lovely kids, whilst daddy took them to the climbing wall. Climbing seems to be in their blood!

Rob Aide on Comes the Dervish (archived shot)

Anyway I haven’t climbed Comes the Dervish for a few months, and for one of the first time pushing myself this year it was a pleasant cruise up familiar ground. It funny, whilst for many this is the route of their dreams for locals it seems like one of the main annual fitness check ups. Each time though I am blown away with its quality, a slender line of weakness heading up a blank swathe of rock, a testament to Stevie’s vision, and undoubtedly a key turning point in slate climbing where people turn to the eponymous slabs.

Anyway I hope you got out before the weather turn and had at least one day at least half as good as the one I had today, then you’d have had a classic day. Why is climbing so good?

Mike Raine enjoying the Sun 

Enjoying Mentil Lentils

Mark Dicken romping up the crack of Psychotherapy

Mark Dicken on Mental Lentils

Llion Morris belay in the winter sun

Mark Dicken on Mental Lentils

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