A dedicated blog with the latest news, reports, and conditions from the outdoor world
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Snakes and Ladders (and Tunnels)
A while back Dan heard of, and told me about an amazing sounding route that runs through the slate quarries of Dinorwic, North Wales. Im unsure of how to describe the route, its kind of a Via Ferrata/climbing/adventure experience. Anyway today we finaly got around to doing it!
The route, 'Snakes and Ladders, and Tunnels', isnt in any guide book of sort, the route has seemed to develop through word of mouth, but all we knew was it took roughly 5 hours and is given an about grade of HVS, so armed with only a guide book to use to navigate from quarry to quarry, (as its our first time here) and a very brief route description written down of the internet, we set off in hope.
We found Dalis hole, where the route begins, a scramble up the slate scree slope leads to a tunnel on the east side of the quarry which inturn leads to another tunnel which led us to California.
Once in California, an old chain, left from the years when the quarries were being worked, has to be climbed to reach another tunnel, easier said than done. With the slate absolutely dreanched, few footholds and wearing big boots, this wasnt going to be easy! Every foot placement slipped of the rock like ice, so i basicially just had to haul myself up, clipping large screwgates through the chain as protection. At the top of the chain is the enterance to the tunnel where a nicely placed bolt and an old spike provided a thankful belay anchor.
From here the short tunnel leads back to Dalis, and an abseil took us down to the bottom of the crag. A short walk to the north end of the quarry, up the slate steps and we arrived in a long, pitch black tunnel, and apparently its cheating to use your headtorch!! Hence we didnt!!
The tunnel terminated in Australia, where a sludge up the oil drum glacier following white paint on the scree, brought us to a series of old fixed ladders, again left here when the quarries closed down. These are to be ascended up to the g'day level and a couple are looking pretty doddgy!! (just look what greeted me as we reached the top, gulp!)
Next was a walk up to the amazing, Lost world, where time has stood still. Here is a extreamly rural industrial settlement, probably late 1800s, where buildings and machinery awaiting the next days hard labour, which never came, have been left to deteriorate ever since the quarry was closed.
From here a series of abseils and ladders enable you to rech the bottom of the lost world via the Heaven walls, a vast quarry which is massively impressive! Another tunnel leads to Mordor, then climbing the final ladder brought us to the Kyber pass!
A fantastic day and a fantastic adventure, really ideal to do on a wet weather day also!