The Wicked Wastad

A climber approaching the roof on Old Holborn, Carreg Y Wastad

Well, after failing to find a climbing partner yesterday, I managed to find one via the wonders of Facebook, and I met up with Tom Ripley for some Llanberis Pass action. Tom is a student at Bangor, who managed to have a nasty accident in Peru last year, involving a petrol stove and a hotel toilet, I had never climbed with him, but have had a few Facebook chats with him.

I knew he was trying to get back to fitness, so suggested the pass, as it has a host of great E1’s, and I felt like a change from flailing and failing on routes that are too hard for me, and instead just get some nice mileage in the sun. The sun was my only care as to the crag, and Tom had been benighted on Overlapping Wall, so he had unfinished business, so having done the route many times I gave him the main pitch.

It was very much early season for me, and probably for Tom, so I wasn’t expecting a super slick ascent, as unlike climbing with Llion and Katie who have run as many laps as me on these routes, Tom was onsighting it. Despite this he made quick progress, and was soon at the top.

For our next route I suggested Elidor, is very similar neighbour, and again I took the approach pitch to give him the meat of the route, and again he charged upwards. At the top we both mused what to do next, and this time Tom suggested a route he had done, but I had not, Old Holborn.

Now Llion climbed this last year without me, and raved about it, however I did remember that he suggested it was ‘good value’ for the grade, and as such I was aware that there was some potential sandbagging from Tom. So after Tom made the approach pitch, I racked up for my first real trad lead for a few months it felt, it was very much my turn to shake up the rock.

The first crack was strenuous, and I managed to make a great schoolboy error of place a wire in a strenuous position, only to find a rest one move later. Plugging my way up wards I get to the crux of the matter, a traverse below a roof and round an arête. Making it to the good flake, I tried to get a cam in the lip, but I had already used the size that it needed, fortunately all that failing and flailing on routes that made this roof look like a slab, meant that in my favourite words of Alex Huber, “I have power to spare” .

I reach round the roof, body threatening to barn door in a spectacular position, and find a crimp on the ledge I am in the process of trying to stand on. Adjusting feet to shut the door, I eye a jug further back. My instinct from sport climbing and bouldering is to lay one on for it, but my trad head takes over and settles into the crimp, knowing there is plenty of time in the bank to look for more stylish options, and I find a good hold in reach, and stand on the ledge, and breathe deeply with satisfaction.

The top pitch was no push over for Tom, more 5a than the guidebook 4c to be honest. We walk down and Tom talks of heading to the Mot. It is getting on and my feet have swollen, and my shoes, are now crippling me, so I suggest the hitch back to the village, and home. So this is were I am sat beer in hand supping back the memories of a great day in the Pass. Many thank to Tom Ripley, the link is to his blog, he might even blog on our little day out soaking up the sunshine?

Tom firing up Elidor E1 on Carreg Y wastad
A Climber fight to keep the door closed on the lip fo the roof on Old Holborn, Carreg Wastad
The awesome and exposed Crackstone Rib, one of the best severe routes in North Wales, and therefore the world.
Does my Bum look big in this? Me mid 'will I or won't I barndoor' on the crux of Od Holborn

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