Thursday, 27 October 2011


Not much extreme rock to report since Rub A Dub-Dub, I'm afraid...

I had an enforced week off of climbing to let the inflammation go down, me and Bubbles went on another fell run, intending to run the Nantlle ridge, but got totally lost in Beddgelert forest. We eventually found our way to the bottom of the ridge, but niether of us could be bothered to go up into the wind and cloud, so we decided to find the most direct route back to the car for a future run.

Spent one weekend at home, in which Bubbles and I did the uber-classic HVS adventure route, Moonraker at Berry Head, Brixham. Situated in The Old Redoubt Sea-cave, the traverse through the dark depths of the cave makes the approach to Gogarth's Main Cliff look like the walk in to Stanage. Unfortunately we arrived after low-tide due to England losing the Rugby, but instead of abbing in we thought we'd chance the traverse. With the water not high enough for the higher traverse but just over the low one, we waded across. I got totally soaked by some swell, which wasn't cool. 
Traversing through the back of the Cave at an inconveniant tide!
(c) Tom Ripley
Anyway, we eventually got to the belay, and after some obligatory faffing, Tom set off up the steep, juggy 1st pitch. After much gear placing, he was at the belay, and I squelched my way up, looking along the traverse of the classic E3, Dreadnought as I passed. Next up was my 4c pitch, a bit of a corner crack followed by some traversing along the guano covered bands of rock before reaching the belay ledge I had reached on my first sea cliff route, Goddess of Gloom in September 2009. Sitting down on the palatial belay, Bubbles followed me up and got stuck into the last pitch, a steep, cornery affair, but at least the rock got less pooey the higher he got. A brilliant route, slightly marred for me by my moistness, but definitely good for the finger. I think until I feel my finger is back to health, I'll try and get the odd adventure route in every week, allowing me my fix but also to do some classics that I would normally dismiss as too easy, or esoteric.
Seconding pitch one, Dreadnought traverses out to my right.
(c) Tom Ripley

AT THE TOP! (c) Tom Ripley
For the rest of the week I spent a lot of time trying to write about a massive subject in just 600 words, eventually cutting the subject matter down, and therefore finishing the essay!

Due to a good forecast for the weekend but people wanting to climb hard; not good for finger, I went for a run in the mountains; not good for legs! I was dropped off at around 10:15 at Pen-y-Pass by Bubbles and Nikki on their way to Tremadog, and was soon dodging the hordes on the track up to Crib Goch, eventually the angle got too much for me to handle along with the rocky track, so I slowed to a quick walk, passing as many walkers as my legs would allow. Soon I was on Crib Goch's ridge for the first time, lots of people up there were looking quite gripped, so I tried to hide my haste and only pass at appropriate points, though many let me pass of their own accord, thanks to them. Lots of tomfoolery occurred, with a group using slings on spikes to allow 'spotting' (!?!?!) and a rescue by the RAF Sea King. I carried on over Crib y Ddysgl and up to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) for a quick sit-down and an energy gel. I also finished my water and re-filled in the Cafe, though didn't need to steal any sugar this time! The time was 11:58 exactly when I stopped, but after my break I set off down the Snowdon Ranger's Path which goes over the top of Clogwyn D'ur Arddu. I was now reversing the first run I did with Bubbles, so I went up Moel Cyngorhion, after a snickers break, back up over Foel Goch, Foel Goen and then extended it up and over Moel Eilio. Going down Moel Eilio's ridge my legs were really feeling it, and it turned out to be far steeper and difficult to run than it looks from Llanberis. I almost slipped ass over tit a few times due to my trainers being pretty well worn and it being exceedingly boggy! I eventually found my way into Llanberis and onto the high street at 14:18, so it took me around 4 hours to complete the 9.7 mile circuit.

Although not great, I haven't done much fell-running or any running really! Especially after feeling pretty ill for about a week and a half. Depressingly, I just worked out that to do the Paddy Buckley Round, a 61 mile, 24 hour fell-run around Snowdonia, I would have to slightly improve my speed as at my pace I would have completed it in around 25 hours! I need to seriously step up my hill-fitness, though I think it may be a pacing thing and complacency as I was alone. Especially if I want to do the Paddy Buckley at some point, which I think I do. However, I'm sure I can show rapid improvements if I can drag my arse out for runs around Bangor...

On Monday, after expecting a huge mass of rain to hit North Wales, I awoke to a lot of missed calls from Bubbles about going to Gogarth. I grabbed my stuff and Bubbles, Pete Graham, Matt (??) and I headed to the Holy Island in search of good times! On arrival, the wind was absolutely blasting in from the South West, rocking the car and preventing any of us from wanting to leave. All I could think was; 'I gave up a warm bed and sex for this!?'. Despite this we decided that Main Cliff might be worth a look so we shouldered bags and headed off, propelled by the winds! On arrival at the racking up spot, we looked down to see massive waves pounding into the bottom of the crag, with spray probably hitting at least 5 or 6 metres up the first pitches. With the wind still hitting the crag, the options were simple; go inside the Upper Tier on Bloody Chimney, HVS 4c, or traverse over the wildness on Cordon Bleu, HVS 5b. A wild card was introduced by Bubbles also; "Well, we could go do 'Dream' it would be wild!". As we were at the crag we decided a team ascent of Bloody Chimney would be fine sport for the day, and so racked up and headed off. Matt and I were to follow Pete and Bubbles' ascent as Bubs had done the route before. I led the first pitch which started off with jug-hauling but soon I was offwidth-ing up to the chimney entrance before "going in", which luckily offered a calmer environment than outside. A short cruxy squirm through a hole and I was with Bubbles at the belay. Matt scootled up and set off up the chimney above, whereby short crux sections led to huge chockstone ledges. Soon enough he emerged back into the wind, and I thrutched towards the light...
"Cooooeeee!" Making the final crux squirm to the belay of pitch 1.
(c) Tom Ripley

Pete chimneying towards the light...
(c) Tom Ripley

Upon resurfacing one thing became clear to me; there was a massive rain-cloud approaching over South Stack... quickly sorting the rack, I set off hoping to beat the rain. With the biggest bit of gear placed in the smallest bit of crack, the rain struck, hard and wet. Unfortunately this pitch seemed devoid of holds and so after placing a wire behind a loose flake, I committed to some thrutching, soon enough my inadequacies in this technique were shown up by the sopping rock, and I slid down to the semi-rest. I began to feel the fear rising in me as I realised I wouldn't be getting any more gear in until easier ground tantalisingly close... Luckily the rain stopped enough for the rock to not get any wetter, allowing me to evaluate my situation and utilise a different sequence and I was up! After boshing another piece of gear in, I raced to the top and bought a cold, wet Matt up. We raced to the top and back down to the racking up spot, almost being blown over, many times. Brilliant, although a warm bed and sex would have been nice, Bloody Chimney was a brilliant adventure and I'm sure we were the only people at Gogarth to do a route that day... NICE!

Returning home via Indy, I felt decidedly weak and crap, nothing new there then! The rest of the week went by with another Indy session, where I felt less shit, and trying to start new essays...

But by Thursday, a plan was hatched for Bubbles, Tom Livingstone and me to go for another fell-run. After faffing about where to run we settled on the Carneddau, and what a run it was...

One little man "running" over the Carneddau.
(c) Tom Livingstone
First we went up on to Pen yr Olen, across to Carnedd Dafydd, carried on up to Carnedd Dafydd, (which was dusted in snow!!!) and back down to Ogwen valley, via Pen y Helgi Du and a whole lot of bog! A good run of about 8.5 miles and it took us just under 3 hours thanks to Tom's pace setting, the boy is fit and has long legs!

Bubbles himself, atop Carnedd Dafydd.
(c) Tom Livingstone
Another cool thing about the run apart from the snow was getting an up-close look at the Black Ladders, one of North Wales' primo winter crags, from what I saw yesterday it would be a horrible summer crag!

The Trumphant Three!
(c) Tom Livingstone
The weather looks pretty bad for the next few days so I will be making headway into various essays...

** Cheers to Tom Ripley for the Moonraker and Bloody Chimney photos, and to Tom Livingstone for the Fell-running photos, HEROES. **

No comments:

Post a Comment