Monday, 6 August 2012


Yesterday Dan and I made the most of the early morning sunshine and had a quick blast around the Llandegla black and red runs.
Its the first time we have been to Llandegla in a while, so we got to try out the new sections of trail which opened in the winter.
The new sections were brilliant, especially the, 'Golden Trail', which broke up the tame plod back to the trail centre. The extra trails also now add some seriously steep uphill near to the end of the red trail which wasnt really welcomed, but the circuit as a whole is now brilliant, that be the red or black runs.
                                               The new Golden Trail section rode by The1BigH

Monday, 16 July 2012

Grooved Arete

With yesterday's promising forecast and a seldom free day, I decided to get out and get on the classic 3 star Grooved Arete up on Tryfan's east face.
We have wanted to climb GA for some time now, but as you would expect, each and every time we have headed up, the route has been busy, and with Dans patience, well........... we have never had the pleasure.
I was joined by my usual sidekick in Dan, and also a good friend, Liam, who has recently tried his hand at some bouldering.
We all made the plod up to the Heather Terrace, but on arrival at GA it was obvious that again, the route was taken. This time though we stuck it out. We would be climbing as a 3 for a start, also, this is what we came here to do, and do it we would!!
With the team above finishing the second pitch, Dan took the sharp end and started up the 1st pitch.
He was soon bringing Liam and I up, and instantly the route was interesting. The thrutchy awkward moves up the unhelpfully sized crack weren't textbook to say the least, but in no time at all we joined Dan at the belay.
Pith 2 was my lead, some straight forward climbing really, I overshot the belay though, and made my belay a little further on. Again Dan and Liam were soon with me, and we were making good progress.
With me overshooting the second belay, Dan's third pitch was cut a little short. Only a few metres of climbing then a walk over to the next belay. By this point we had merged two pitches into one, so our next pitch, (our 4th) was the 5th in the guide.
The 4th pitch was my lead, and what a fantastic pitch it is. A rib is climbed on the right up to a groove. This is climbed using a rib on the right, brilliant climbing all the way, then a precarious move is needed to step to the adjacent rib on the left of the groove. This was the most difficult move so far and could well be the crux.
Dan had the famous Knights slab pitch which didn't take him long. The Knights slab is brilliant. Holds everywhere you need one, and the climbing flows beautifully. The move of the slab in the top right corner and around the arete is the other stand out difficult move on the climb. Dan brought us up,  and after a brief moment, Liam was round the arete and at the belay. I followed and by this point we were moving well.
The last 2 pitches I again led together, and again were excellent. The steep wall with tons of holds made a great end to the route.
From here we made our way to the summit as the sky was clear and the views were stunning, a few moments up on the top and it was time to make the long plod back.
I thought the grade to be HVD/S, and a VDiff leader I think may struggle with the two more difficult sections.
So, for me, the route is the best I have climbed on the east face so far. Good holds, apart from 1 or 2 loose flakes, good protection and enough of it, great exposure on the top pitches and the climbing is rarely broken. A seriously awesome route!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Back on the Ben

Yesterday, for the first time in 3 years, I got a climb in on the Ben.
The previous 2 winter seasons I have been sidelined with my ongoing foot injury, and the other year I didn't climb up there was due to the superb Welsh winter, no need for the 11hr round trip!

Anyway, I teamed up with Dan as usual, and we opted to climb, 'Good Friday Climb', dependant on the condition of Observatory gully.  On arrival at the base of OG a few teams were already heading up and a nice track was in place. The snow was fairly deep, but not so much slab. The only slab we encountered was on the traverse in to Indicator wall from OG where care needed to be taken.
With a good forecast it was obviously busy, and teams were also on, Indicator wall, Smiths route, Tower Scoop, Point 5, Tower ridge, Ledge route and the Castle gully's, with plenty heading up into the Cieste as we passed.

We got 4 pitches out of Good Friday, but protection was incredibly sparse. The gear placements were hard to find under powder, and also well chocked with ice, think 6 or 7 pieces went in on the whole route, with a couple of 25-30m run-out's!
The 1st pitch was deep powder for the 1st 20m or so, then fairly good neve, upto a good ice screw belay on the right just beneath the vertical wall.
The 2nd pitch was the crux, which had a couple of pieces of gear, but the ice was poor to pull over the crux ice step. This led to a belay on the left.
The 3rd pitch was very run out. 1 runner in a 45m pitch! And the final short pitch was straight forward over a small cornice.

    Dan enjoying seconding the 1st pitch

A good day out, and good to be swinging the axes once more!!