I have to admit to having quite a bad weekend, as friday and saturday I failed to find a climbing partner, so went for a bit of a boulder both days. On Saturday it was the RAC, this is a palce I haven’t been for what seems like ages, as I used to work in Joe Browns, many, many years ago now. When I was in their shop in Capel Curig I used to get a sandwich, and go for a boulder every lunchtime. I used to be able to lap nearly every problem there, eat my sandwich and then do it again, before i headed back to the shop.
A few years older, and a lot rustier it took nearly that time to do all the problems, and aprat from the long pump traverse. I got everyone first go, I have to admit that I failed to redpoint that one problem, gutted, but there will definitely be a next time. Although I now mostly go there with students on rock courses, doing some great caoching movement sessions with them.
Anyway Sunday was an ML assessment day, me assessing a couple of very nice people, we headed into Cwm Glas and up to Blwch Coch, before heading along the ridge to Carnedd Ugain, and back down the Cryn Las ridge. A lovely day with t-shirt weather on the summits.
If you rewind back a month or so in my blog, you’ll remember the hideous Winter ML assessment I was on, well after we returned from the ming. I met up with the MIC training course, who had had a lovely time climbing. One of those was a Tom Chamberlain, he is a good freind with several of my colleagues at Plas Y Brenin. However I have never climbed with Tom, and we hatch a plan, a very drunken plan to get climbing together this year.
So last night I met with Tom, and a few friends for a BBQ by the Lake in Llanberis, and then we went out to Gogarth today. The 9.30 start in V12 Outdoor, wasn’t the best, as it was raining hard. A quick check of the webcams, meant we were sure it was currently raining at Holyhead. However teh rainfall radar had the weather clearing from just after 9.30.
Our mission was to make a long 100m abseil into the Hustler Area. Tom had managed to get a long rope from his school, where he was told he could cut the 200m rope in half to make us one 100m rope. So V12 supplied the rope cutter and only as I was coiling one half did the doubts hit me, this was an extremely light 100m abseil rope.
It rained all the way there and armed with a arial phototopo from here, we found the block and I went to abseil in 55m down on a ledge, I looked down and saw our problem, of lack of length. We had turn a 120m rope into two 60m! I made a quick belay and we then faffed about with first one then two ropes to make the abseil to the base of routes. All of this was probably taking longer than we thought as we enter the twilight zone of Main Cliff.
After pulling wet ropes, one of which was at one point swimming like some giant sea serpent out to sea, Tom set off on the first traverse pitch into Mestizo, he managed to belay in the wrong corner, so I lead through, and he then did the alleged 4c pitch. It felt more like 5a, although the rock was a little damp. I then lead the 5b pitch, which was rather full on, featuring sustain 5a/b climbing, with big high steps onto good foothold, and mostly on layaways.
It was interesting, as it was my first Gogarth trip for over 8 months, and I have lost that confidence that Gogarth needs. Facing a long swim, or me manning up and topping out. I tucked my skirt in, and powered up placing gear above my head at every, and I mean every oppotunity. Until I had a grasp of the finishing jug, where I was fight to fiddle in a wire as my arms felt like they were about to explode, my whole body shaking, as I threw my leg onto the last hold and rocked over back into a world of walking.
The time check had it at 2.30 in the afternoon, our initial plan had been to do a few rotues, one would have to suffice, so we scrambled up and out. My word, my fitness is awful, although I suspect the 8 months lay off from the gogarth weirdness counted for a lot of the nerves, as I definitely remember the fear as I stepped up and off the belay ledge towards that steep final pitch! Great route, and great day!