At 4.30am the unwelcomed sound of my alarm awoke me to find a fresh dusting of snow on the roads outside. I had my doubts about even being able to get over to Snowdonia today, i thought the roads could well be a nightmare, fortunatley the gritters did a sterling job and we arrived in Gerlan in good time.
The walk in was as tedious as ever, even more so as the crag was covered with the low cloud base. It took as longer than expected to locate the route as the visibility was very poor and extreamley persistant.
We approached from the right of Pyramid Buttress, passing Central gully where the inital ice pitch i climbed a few weeks ago was a hell of a lot thinner, probably not even climbable in its current state.
So, I got underway with the first steep pitch of Pyramid Gully which I found to be the crux. 5 or 6 moves were tricky where the ice steepend to pretty much vertical. Straight from the off, we had to be very careful with the ice, it was of the hard, brittle, dinner plating sort, the sort which is difficult to get a good placement as it constantly breaks away, and the sort which could also knock out your belayer!!!!
After bringing Dan up, i got going on the second pitch as Dan fell a bit ill and feeling lethargic, didnt have the strength to take the lead. The second pitch again had a nice ice pitch at the start, which was easier than the ice section on the first pitch, and made for good climbing, although i did have to battle through the huge ammounts of spindrift avalanches pouring down! The top of the ice section brought me to a ledge, a right turn and up a neve gully with a couple of ice steps to a belay on the right hand side. Here we de-geared and soloed the last 100m of grade 1 ground, on fantastic neve which brought us up to the plateau.
We heared a few other teams out, but couldnt tell what was being climbed as the visibility didnt break above 700m all morning. We spoke to a team who made a quick ascent of Eastern Gully who reported good neve, and spoke to a team who opted for Central Gully, though that was pre climb.
All in all, still lots to go at on the Ladders, and things seem to be improving by the day. Still a good ammount of ice knocking about, although as above, what we found was very britle, and if the low temps remain things could fatten up. Neve was brilliant although was topped with a few inches of graupel and powder which has recently fell, so an eye should be kept on the day to day snowfall as avalanche conditions could well build.
A good short day, and a route thats been on the tick list finally got climbed.
If you fancy a low in the grade IV,5 then Pyramid Gully is for you!!
Lets hope it continues.................