Epic Enchainment: Success and Failure

A couple of weeks back Si had come up with an idea to try and enchain as many routes as possible in a day. Starting at Craig Y Ysfa’s Amphitheatre Buttress and ticking the major ogwen crags and then onto the Pass and Lliwedd and maybe even cloggy. It was a great plan that needed lots of daylight, like we do now. Work got in the way for a few weeks but a week off and Si managed to get a pass for climbing.

So this morning we got up at 3am and left the house at 4am, started walking in by 4.30am. We soloed Amphitheatre Buttress and were back at the car by 5.30. At 6am we were on Pulpit route on the Milestone and by 7am we were starting up Groove Arete on the East face of tryfan. 8am we were at Glyder Fach climbing Direct route before heading all the way back down to the base of Idwal Slabs for 9.30am.

From here we did Charity, Lazaruz, Groove Above and then up the Grey Slab on the Upper Cliff of Glyder Fawr. Knowing that we won’t get park in the Pass we walked/ran down to the Craig Ddu and climb Rib and Slab. By which time my legs were feeling it, I was probably very dehydrated and the clock which had seem to stand still in Ogwen was ticking away fast. We had got to the the Pass at midday, yet this two pitch route took us 30 minutes.

We had stash some more food and drink in my car at the Crouchan car park and had a rest to try and recuperate. As I headed up to the Crouchan for Nea, I think I knew the bid for the link of at least two valley was done for. I was moving like an arthritic pensioner and Si led Nea in one long pitch and I moved up to the crux as he reached the belay. Above I managed to slip twice on easy terrain and I had to let Si know I was spent.

To carry on would have been possible but we’d have to pitch everything, but seeing as we have 11 hours of light left it was possible. However the utter fatigue, I had not felt this spent since the Snowdon Marathon, and safety seemed like it was become an issue. As moving quickly when fresh on easy terrain is fine. Which isn’t surprising as we had probably managed near 1500m of rock climbing, with at least 2500m of ascent and descent, over around 20 to 30km in around 9 hours.

I am now sat at home virtually unable to move, the stairs are a major obstacle.

I learnt many thing today these are amongst the most pertinent.

  1. Never try this massive enchainment of route without lots of running training, or never try this enchainment again.
  2. If I ignore lesson one choose a day when it isn’t baking hot by 8am.
  3. The link up from Amphitheatre Buttress to the top of Glyder Fawr is one of the finest links in North Wales with several great mountain three star routes.
  4. Whilst we failed in our original plan, what we did was pretty immense. Maybe like an easy el Cap of climbing and a half marathon. I have a new respect for those guys linking up Yosemite Walls.
  5. I will sleep well tonight, it the pain isn’t too great!

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