If I was Andy K, I would start this story with I nearly died, and perhaps I nearly did, but it was from over exertion rather than climbing dare doing. The day started like any other cragging day, coffee and porridge. I am a big porridge fan at the moment due to its cost, the economy of a hearty porridge and treacle start to the day is by my reckoning the cheapest breakie via alcoholics diet of a can of Special Brew, and I haven’t quite reached that stage yet. Anyway my dietary habits aside team extreme, headed to Tremadog today, and found the conditions to be reasonable favourable. Llion had eyed up a line with the rather worrying name called Leg Break. It takes a great eliminate line through the Meshach Buttress at about E2. He made it look very easy. I then had the idea that E2 is a nice grade so went to climb The Snake, if you don’t know this route, then is take s a traverse across the top of the Vector buttress from the base of the Void Pod. I remember it being hard when I first did it many years ago. Today, I found the initial moves into the hanging pod/groove reasonable, whereas the traverse is somewhat pumpy.
I also had to try and protect both Llion and Katie, what resulted was the worse rope drag I have had, in years. As I was Battling my way across the head wall, I was having to pull rope through to move an inch. By the time I reach the top few moves of Cream which I had to finish up, it was like dragging another human up the route. I might have shouted alot, and apologise for my rather colourful language.
In my defence I had the last move of a route to do, my elbows were round my ears, and I felt like I was getting pulled off, and not in a good way. As I inched, and I mean inched my way up the last move to get stood on a good rail and the end of the hard climbing, the effort I was putting into staying on the rock became apparent, as I finally made it.
Stood on the ledge, I had run out of fight, whilst I wasn’t going to fall off the effort suddenly overcame me, and I had to lay my head on the rock over the top of the crag, in a semi-belly flopped position, and fight to remain conscious. Hyperventilating, it took me 5 minutes to climb the last 2 feet, which was essentially a mantel shelf. It then took me another 5 minutes to pull enough rope through to make a belay, and another ten minutes possibly more to pull one of the ropes through to belay.
Great route, my advice don’t start it from the Grim Wall tree, make the effort to get across to the Void Pod. After that Katie made a quick ascent of Grim Wall effect.
All in all a good day, but my word, I have not fought like that on a route for a long, long time! Longer quickdraws, less gear and a better place to belay from would have made my life easier. The route is none-the-less amazing.