Another day, and this one was much better, we actually had sunshine in the Ogwen Valley. Today we headed to Tryfan Bach, which was a great place for Damien to practice more mock leading, before I had him lead a few short easy pitches.
It was great to have the sun on our backs, despite the wind it was lovely over there, and such a difference from earlier in the week. Not too sure about tomorrow, as the weather is looking bad again, although I am wondering if its time to play the Holyhead Mountain, Castell Helen or Rhoscolyn Card?!
After waking up to more rain, my heart sank, as I have spent the previous three days teaching climbing in the Beacon rather than Outdoors. It was meant to be day two of an Intro to Trad climbing, so despite the rain we decided to try Tremadog. So we drove through the rain to get to the crag, where the drizzle stopped.
I can’t say the crag was dry, but it was dry enough, so with Damien who was on the course we climbed Christmas Curry, One Step in the Clouds and Yogi. I got Damien to place gear in the belays and tie into them on the first two routes. However I am trying to build Damien up for lead climbing, which is extremely hard with just one client.
However, the solution was for me to climb the pitch, make a bottom rope and descend to the belay below and then get Damien to simulated lead the pitch and clip into my belay, and then bring me up the pitch. It was way more work for me than I’d usually have to do, but it seemed to work really well.
So probably do some more of that tomorrow, it the rain holds off.
Well the weather was awful this weekend, it has rain pretty much continuously save for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon/evening. So teaching climbing has been restricted to using the beacon climbing centre.
So with Andy Newton and the Ceunant Mountaineering CLub, we have been teaching them to climb better, tie into belays, place gear, eascape the system, basically a thorough MOT for there climbing. It has been great despite the weather, and we have made good use of the wall.
I am back out working again tomorrow and it’s not looking good either, so maybe more beaconeering! We shall have to see in the morning.
It seems I start too many stories nowadays, with the immortal words, ‘Back in the day…..’. Its not like I don’t live an adventurous life now. But sometimes a day out climbing now is as much about remembering all the routes I could have, should have or did climb. Today was one of those nights, revisiting one of the routes I did climb, it stands like one of the gates to Llanberis Pass, in setting alone it has a command view that was destined to make it a classic
The rock is smooth, you can see the striations etched across it, for the rock it has only been a blink since the ice touched it as it carved its way towards the Irish sea. For me it has been over ten years since I last climbed this route, and it seems a life time away.
So away back in the day… I think I had a couple of hours off between indoor wall sessions, and a friend had recommended me this micro route, Mabanogion. ‘Don’t worry with a rope, its a great solo’. So with that route in mind I headed up the Pass, warming up by nipping up Rib and Slab, a lovely VDiff, big but relatively straight forward for the grade, a great way to put yourself in that mindset, that place where you are totally focus on what is happening now, nothing else matters, the world fades to grey, and all you care about is the next foot hold, the next hand hold, until you reach the top.
Traversing down across the top of the crag my mind is focused as I arrive at the base of the route, a slender crack up a short wall polished wall. I feel my breathe deepen as I sit at its base, lacing up my rock shoes tight. As I touch the first hold the world shrinks and I am back in the bubble. High stepping, and laybacking up to a pocket, the crux over and a long reach left to another sinker jug and up to a large ledge.
As I look up at a blank wall from the ledge, I am suddenly back in the room. The world has come scream sideways at at me, and I am no longer surround by calm certainty. I suddenly realise I am alone, half way up a cliff, and I can’t see a way to get either up or down. The way up the wall looked improbably at best, yet reversing down didn’t seem much much likely.
I don’t know how long I stood on that ledge, it wasn’t hours but it was most certainly not seconds. In that time, I manage to explore my small world and realised that there was an easier way, well off the the right, the calm returns briefly before reality hits again at the top, 30 minutes till the next indoor taster session.
Cue this evening when we only had an hour to fill, and climbing the route again seemed like a good idea. This time with a rack and a belayer. It was a lot harder, higher and steeper then I remember, and spending all that time hanging around placing wires meant it was also a lot pumpier. However more than before I took in the place, and the shape of the rock, and the climbing.
Yes it was an amazing route to solo back then, but not now. Too hard, although with a couple of pads, and a ladder for the top wall, maybe. What really amazed me today though was that at some point in the past I felt confident enough in my own climbing ability to just head up and solo an E2.
Went upo to teh Crouchan again today, thought it was going to be cold,as it has been windy up at the house all day. Instead it was very humid and warm. Perfect midge conditions, so I was relieved that there was a slight breeze up the pass.
Katie lead Kieserberge Wall and then Llion nipped up Wind. Unfortunately as Llion headed up Wind, the irony happened. The wind dropped and the midges came out in force, so we had to hurry Llion up the pitch and I was by the first runner by the time, Llion said On Belay.
Well i am still without my computors, as my new one is being cloned to the old one! Hopefully i’ll get them back tomorrow, the repair man thinks he’s repaired the old one as well.
So this afternoon i headed up in the sun to the skyline buttress, to climb a few of the sports routes i hadn’t done.
The climbs were OK, however they are slightly friable and probably over bolted for my particular taste of slate. More importantly though, they were all over graded, as they were more top end F5 than the F6a many of them are given.
Mainly because i didn’t have to pull hard on any of them. In the vast majority of the climbing the footholds are all positive.
The routes are well worth doing though as they are 50m long and you need att least 15 quickdraws or you can skip a few of the bolts if you don’t have enough or climb up and down back cleaning the quickdraws as you climb up.
I was contacted today by a production company who are in the process of making a documentary about ‘The Keep‘, which was filmed in Glyn Rhonwy Quarry during the early 1980’s. A few years back I took the co-producer down into the quarry, which requires an abseil approach and I had to haul them back out, as they simply weren’t going to be able to jumar out.
This company is keen to contact anyone who worked on the film, as safety, rigging or extras. The film has a cult following, as it was one of Micheal Mann’s first films.
If you know anyone who worked on this film then if you contact me through the comments function I can send you the production companies contact details, as they are planning on doing some filming in the Llanberis area at some points.
They did send me some photos of the quarry back then, it has since become very overgrown.