I am prone to short bouts of winter climbing usually getting a few routes done a year as living in Wales getting conditions and a day off are tricky. However today I headed out with Dave Evans to get on Blenderhead on Clogwyn Ddu. It was great up there today no wind, frozen turf and fairly easy to remove rime and dry cracks.
I lead the first pitch off the ramp, a nice tech 5 according to the guide, but consensus was it was probably tech 6, it certainly felt way more technical than any mix stuff I have done before. Dave then laid seige to the main pitch and kept plugging away at it and made real progress as he edged his way through the crux. Eventually in his own words his snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Rocking/squirming/thrutching into the niche at the top of the slot he blew a stick and was ejected. Some good air was taken!
He was all up for a second go, but time was growing short and after a short rest he realised just how worked he was from his effort. He felt it was the hardest thing he has tried and suggested maybe the tech 7 grade for the pitch was maybe out. But the guide did suggest it might get harder as the turf disappeared.
It was a busy day up there. Two guys from sheffield were on El Mancho, which looks amazing. Nick Bullock and Libby P did a new route from the base of Y Gully Left hand and up the wall on the left to the base of pillar chimney. Nick found the time to comment on my tommy two coats approach to surviving winter, I probably looked like the michelin man.
He then literally ran up pillar chimney and then off up some mixed terain above. He must have had a lecture to get to as he seemed to rushed to place any gear! Was an awesome display of his winter waddage. Although there seemed to be lots of people having it there today. Another team were trying something futuristic over to the left of the crag and I heard Pete H did his project there yesterday, so things are obvious in good nick.
Anyway was good to mix it up with a little mixed climbing. The short pitch I lead even managed to put a spring in my step this evening. Sadly all the picks are on Dave’s camera, hopefully he’ll send me some over at some point.