Archive for May, 2009

Eavestones – a jungle worth exploring

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Simon on The HeelSimon C and I had a top day out at Eavestones, just past Brimham, a crag in a most beautiful setting with lakes and trees and rhodies and wildlife a plenty – luckily no midges !

The routes are mainly on scattered buttresses which have some clean lines, many green and some that have been reclaimed by the encroaching jungle – shame as they look good. The range of *** routes is from S to E3 so something for most, and a few starred VD thrown in for good measure.

We managed a 3 S/HS (Portcullis, The Heel, The Taper) and a brace of HVS's (Wedgewood, Eavesdropper) and about 10 stars in all

A truly lovely place to seek out and explore, but take a brush and don't go if it's too midgy!

UKC climbs list:
UKC photos:

Slippery when wet….

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

After a beautifully sunny drive up North after work on Friday, the prospects for the weekend were looking good.  As I drove across Rannoch Moor, the sun had only just set and it was already 11pm.  Hurrah!  Long sunny days – and way too many fantastic routes to choose from in Glencoe and beyond – what more could I ask for?

Rain?  Whose idea was that?  Whilst the rest of the country basked in the Bank Holiday sun, in true YAC style, we had managed to arrange for our own special wet weekend in Glencoe.

True enough, it wasn't actually raining when we got up on Saturday, but it was only a matter of time…

So, what to do?  Nigel already had his tick list prepared and a little rain wasn't going to stop him, so off tPeri enjoying Curved Ridgeo the Mamores he went.  Simon & Carmen had a rapid rethink of their planned rock routes and Peri, Ben, Margaret and myself stuck to Plan A – Buchaille Etive Mor.

Peri, Ben and I had Curved Ridge at the top of our list – it's years since I've done it, and would be a first for Ben & Peri.  To save having yet another "What are we going to do, Carmen" argument, Simon & Carmen decided to tag along too, so off we went….

Ben on the final stretch of Curved RidgeCurved Ridge really is a great route – a fantastic (and easy) line on a great mountain  – what more could you want?  Peri and Ben certainly seemed to be enjoying it!  And despite the rather murky looking sky, the rain was holding off.  The swirling cloud just making the whole thing feel more atmospheric.

Eventually though, the rain caught up with us and we finally reached the end of the ridge below Crowberry Tower in the pouring rain.  Not to be put off, however, we continued up Crowberry Tower to check out the view, confirming that the inside of a cloud is the inside of a cloud.  I imagine standing on the top of the Tower is quite exhilarating on a good day, but we could have been on any old pimple in the mist!

Simon below Crowberry TowerBefore long we were at the top, and after a quick (and soggy) sandwich, the only way was down.  A warm hut and copious amounts of tea beckoned.  Who needs to be out in the rain? (Ben seemingly, who passed on tea to continue along the ridge).

An amusing walk down the tourist path, past the usual trainer-clad dawdlers and someone who appeared to have dressed up as a strawberry for the day (sadly it would have been too rude to whip a camera out, but she really did have to be seen to be believed) and we were soon back at Lagangarbh. Tea, food, planning, wine, beer, bed.

Sunday dawned…wetter than ever.  Never mind, Peri, Margaret, Ben and I had already decided on the Aonach Eagach.  Nigel was off to the Ballachuilish horseshoe and Simon & Carmen were going to get up Agag's Groove come what may.

Aonach Eagach from Devil's Staircase

A bit of  car juggling (to leave Peri's car at the Glencoe YH) and we were back at Lagangarbh, having decided that, in order to ensure we made the most of the rain, we should walk all of the way along the ridge from the Devil's Staircase.

Peri on Aonach EagachBy the time we got to the ridge proper, the rain had truly kicked in.  Looking on the bright side, as we slithered up and down the pinnacles, we saw only four other people (two of whom appeared to have turned back in horror, and the other two of whom were practising moving together with remarkable efficiency) – how often could you expect to get the Aonach Eagach almost to yourself on a Bank Holiday Sunday?!

As we finally Reindeer mossdropped out of the cloud, the weather looked as though it was trying to clear…. and by the time we got down into the valley, we were dry enough to wander into the Clachaig for a pint or several (taking the opportunity to feel superior as, with approx three exceptions, the nearest anyone had been to a hill that day was the step up into the toilet).

Rather later than advertised, we arrived back at the hut to find Nigel gnawing on the table and Simon & Carmen looking edgy after having drunk about three gallons of tea. Tea, food, planning, wine, beer, bed.

Flapjack, Scone or Shrooms? All this bouldering is making me hungry.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Finally the sun showed up, so Peri, Will and I decided to get out of town and touch some dry rock. Caley was our destination (before the nettles, ferns and disposable bbq toting chavs take it over).

We settle in by warming up on the Sugarloaf Boulder and I scare myself (again) on Sucker's Wall. Then Peri decides to do battle with the notorious Boot Crack, luckily we have a couple of spare dinghy anchors that fit in the offwidth crack. After much cursing and only a small amount of blood loss, Peri tops out and drops the rope for me to lead. I realise Peri has moved the big cam up higher while leading and borrow a size 40 hex from Will and somehow fit my super large ships anchor (5 Camalot) into the crack as well.

While I had been belaying Peri, Will had found a good problem around the corner, Smear Arete, 5b. We all have a go, Peri attempting the harder looking LH version and taking a couple of flyers off it.

Finally we head deep into Blair Witch territory and move into the woods below to The Flapjack and The Scone Boulders, where Peri announces that she is feeling hungry due to all the food names of boulders.

We have a good time trying out very balancy slab problems and a couple of thuggy mantles, full marks must go to Will. He threw himself at a 5c problem on The Scone, multiple attempts, finally succeeding as dusk came.
Routes done,

Sucker's Wall V0 4c
Boot Crack VS 4b **
Smear Arete, B3, P9. V0 5a
Smear Arete Right V1 5b *
The Flapjack, Problem 3 V0 5a
The Flapjack, Problem 4 VB 4c
The Flapjack, Problem 5 VB 5a
The Flapjack, Problem 7 V1 5c
The Flapjack, Problem 8 V0 5a *
The Scone, Problem 2 V1 5c
The Scone, Problem 3 V2 5c *
The Scone, Problem 4 VB 4c *
The Scone, Problem 5 V2 5c
Peri's stomach was making so much noise by now, that the poor lass had to forage around on the walk out and luckily found several large juicy St George mushrooms. She told us they were for breakfast, but she probably scoffed them on the way home.mushroom-formation-072

Note. THESE ARE NOT THE ONES Peri picked, but a photo I took last year at Caley. Are these edible Peri? They look horrible.

Wet Rock

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

…A title clearly needed to follow on from Classic Rock, Hard Rock etc.

Trying to outwit the rain had worked pretty successfully so far this week, with our expedition to Brimham on wednesday and Stu's sport climbing extravaganza on saturday, but today (sunday) it broke down. Forecast said much the same as saturday (light showers on and off) so me, clare, debra H and Rob trotted off down the york wall where Debra got some leads in, Clare floated up everything with no apparent effort, Rob scampered up 6cs and much fun was had at my expense as I attempted to use the clip drop technique to desensitise my completely out of proportion fear of falling on bolts. As the day went on we kept nipping outside to check the weather, the predicted rain had failed to appear and it was in fact a warm spring day. Eventually I begged and pleaded to be allowed to divert to Brimham, we all reconvened back at Debras, checked the rainfall radar and calculated (ok, I calculated) that the approaching rain band would have passed when we arrived, so off we set. Ominously, as we got closer, the clouds appeared to be moving in the opposite direction to the expected one, but I had faith. We found a route for Debra to lead, and off she set- just in time for the raindrops to start. Debra succesfully finished her route in pouring rain, Rob decided his planned ascent of Lancet Crack was no longer a goer and we fled back to the car in a tropical downpour. Arrived back home in time to find a mail from Debra headed" what we didnt see on the radar" and a link to the updated radar showing the thundrously dark storm following hot on the heels of the innocuous rain band we had seen first.

Cubic Block Party

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

In defiance of common sense, me, Debbie W, Helen and Dave P looked out at the rain yesterday evening, eyeballed the met office rainfall radar and decided to head out to Brimham anyway. The narrow band of rain passed quickly and the crag was dry when we arrived. My main target for the evening was to get Debbie some more outdoor experience and impress upon her that gritstone is the very finest of rock types.

Not being sure how long the rain would hold off, we plonked ourselves on Cubic Block. Dave and Helen headed up Heather Wall while me and Debbie went up Great Slab. I offered Dave a lower off Cubic Block to save him the nasty step off, which he declined – I suspect he regretted the decision when he saw the step but he didn't use any bad language. After this team Helen/Dave did Great Slab and Cubic Corner while I did a recce on Thin Line, a slabby HVS I've been fancying my chances on (one reason being you can easily bail to the arete). Got 2/3 of the way up but then couldn't see if there was any more gear, so bail I did. Moving up the arete I could see there was actually a place to get gear, so that's now a target for next time I'm at Brimham.

By this time it had somehow got to 9.00, gloom was gathering early and little wet drops were appearing on the rock, Helen was muttering about a pint of beer, so we skedaddled.

New, Improved Peak Scar

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

– now with added daylight.

Our first visit to the crag since last year's tree-felling, and it's amazing the difference it makes. The extra light has allowed lots of wild flowers to appear, and even the expected permanent mud-bath along the path at the bottom was missing.

I'd been toying with the idea of doing some more of the High Level Traverse, but on arrival we found that we'd managed to coincide with the Cleveland club again, there were so many people it was like Stanage on a Bank Holiday Monday. So we wandered down the crag and I picked a route almost at random – it was free, it was clean, it looked protectable, and I hadn't done it before – Headache Crack (VS 4c).

Of course it was harder than it looked – they always are at this crag – but I eventually struggled to the top, a little over an hour and a quarter after starting. Carmen then let the side down by scampering up and making it look easy. There was just time for Carmen's annual lead of Jordu, I topped out at 10 o'clock (without a head torch, an indication of how much lighter the place is).

There was a good YAC turnout (10 of us) though I'm not sure what everyone else did as I was in situ half way up the cliff for most of the evening. But routes done included Twilight, Moanin', Jordu, Odds On Variant, Wings, Walkin' and probably more.

Ambassador, with this crag you are really spoiling us…

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Still suffering after last weekend's run, we couldn't face the early start needed to join the others in Grindleford for 9am. So a very lazy start saw us arrive at Agden Rocher at about 12.30.

Agden where? No it's not the best known crag in the Peak District. But unusually for me, it's not some scrappy little choss-pile either. In fact, it's probably the most under-rated crag in the Peak. This is largely due to the 1983 guidebook, which gave it a worse write-up than the (genuinely bad) Stannington Ruffs. 'Rockfall is probable', 'climbs rely on suspect rock', 'changes in grade will occur with time', 'the top is rubble merging to grass', and so on.

The reality is rather different. Although there is some loose rock, there's far less than at many popular limestone crags, and the chossy topouts on parts of the crag are no worse than those at Millstone. To its credit the 2005 guidebook goes some way to putting the record straight. 'Plenty of sunshine', 'position and outlook unrivalled in the Peak'. Sadly, it gives a very abbreviated coverage of much of the crag and many worthwhile routes are described as 'poor'; but it's a start!

The New Foggy Dew - the suspect block in the bottom leftWe'd been many times before and already done most of the 'classics', so we started with the first decent-looking route we came to, "The New Foggy Dew" (Severe). This replaced "The Foggy Dew", an old Diff that was lost in a rockfall sometime in the late 70s, and starts below an alarming-look semi-detached block before moving right beneath it as quickly as possible. The block is mentioned in the 1983 guide as 'about to disappear' but it's still there 26 years later, so is presumably more solidly attached than it looks! From here the route steps back left in a fine exposed position before continuing direct to the top of the crag, with a though-provoking 'sting in the tail' to finish.

By now it was clear that the forecast sunshine had been and gone while we were still asleep, and the wind was more than a little bracing. But despite this, I headed for Double De-Clutch (VS 4c *), a fine looking arete. 20 minutes later and only 3m from the ground, I finally admitted defeat, as I couldn't do what was presumably the crux, so I finished up the adjacent corner of Disappointment (VDiff) instead. A suitably named route in the circumstances, though with some surprisingly good climbing. Carmen seconded up the arete I'd backed off, and made me feel better by finding it tough.

By now it was getting cold, so I stepped down a gear with Agden Arete (HS 4a), described as 'poor' in the new guide, but I've learned to ignore such things. And it turned out to be a very nice route – too disjointed to be worth a star, but with some interesting climbing. After a hard start, it was a pleasant VDiff – maybe HVD 4b overall.

Finally, in attempt to get out of the wind, I led Square Chimney (VDiff), the original route of the crag first climbed in 1914. It turned out to be no more than Diff, which was just as well, as the long-threatening clouds arrived in force and we were duly rained off the crag.

We'll be back for more before too long, and I'd recommend the crag to anyone interested in some quality climbing off the beaten track. We've done loads of good routes at VS and below, and for the non-punters among us there are many more starred routes from HVS up to E4.

High Peak Marathon route

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Having read of Simon et al’s laughs on the High Peak Marathon in March, Chris and I decided to have a go for ourselves. OK, so May Bank Holiday isn’t in the depths of winter, and we planned to wild camp rather than do a non-stop round but 43 miles is still a fair challenge over two days and a good bit of training for the forthcoming LAMM.

Trig Having opted to start from the A628, at the northerly end of the route, we parked up in a glass and beer can strewn strewn layby and waved goodbye to the car stereos. A good path took us up onto Bleaklow and then it was the Pennine Way down to Snake Pass, over to Mill Hill and a very busy Kinder.

By this point I had formed a view that the ground was very dry indeed – a theory immediately dispelled by my thigh-deep disappearance into a bog in the Brown Knoll area. With Chris marching on ahead a kindly group of pensioners with walking poles were immediately on hand to perform rescue duties

With the day steadily getting hotter and water proving very hard to find, the climb to Mam Tor and the subsequent ridge wasn’t as easy as it looked on the map and plans of making it to Cutthroat Bridge by nightfall began to look a little ambitious. Just when the legs were starting to tire, a horrible climb to Win Hill and a sharp, never ending descent, finished the job. Fortunately the Yorkshire Bridge pub was close at hand and after 30 minutes break we pushed on. By now the heat of the day had gone but it was a slow, rather mournful party that made its way up the road past Bamford and towards High Neb.Brewing up after a long day The last few climbers of the day were making their way down and, finally, after 12 hours on the go we clambered over the Edge and pitched the tent.

As always, the trials of the day were forgotten as I tucked into a home made prawn curry and we toasted the ebbing sun with a few snifters of whisky. After a wet and chilly night, made noisier because of our failure to put up any of the guys on the tent, we packed up around 7.30 am and made our way along the top of Stanage.

Damp start to day 2

Following a damp start the sun did come out but a cold and strong wind made it hard going along Derwent Edge, up to Back Tor and Margery Hill. After a few hours plodding along on autopilot the final trig point of the walk at Outer Edge was greeted with some jubilation – now it was just a case of swinging west across Featherbed Moss and choosing a route back to Saltersbrook Bridge.

A long way to go...

Unfortunately we went north for a little too long which necessitated an hour or so of cross-country slogging across knee-high heather with a couple of very steep gullies thrown in for good measure. But we did get to see a couple of mountain hares – something I had never seen in England – so perhaps the extra couple of miles were worth it. Having picked up a good path by the road we were back at the cars, which were miraculously unscathed, by 1.30pm.

 Roll on the real thing next year!




GL3D Lakeland Challenge

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The Great Lakeland 3 Day is a three-day run in the hills, covering a total of about 80 miles and a squillion feet of ascent. After 2 previous attempts (one successful, the other less so), we were back for our third go.

This year we started in Braithwaite near Keswick. After an excellent Last Meal in the Middle Ruddings Inn on Friday evening, we were up bright and early the next morning, raring to go. Ahem.

After a gentle start along a pleasant footpath, it was uphill all the way via Grisedale Pike to the first control on Hopegill Head. We rejected the undulating ridge of Whiteside due to its extra ascent and instead headed steeply downhill into the valley – possibly a mistake as we ended up wading through thick heather, but with a bit more luck/judgement we'd have found a grassy way down. This took us eventually to the second control, north of Crummock Water.

Next up the rarely visited valley of Mosedale to what looked from a quick glance at the map like a small hill, Hen Comb. Appearances can be deceptive, despite its modest 509m height, it was a long way up!

From here, a long rising traverse took us to the High Stile ridge, and a control on High Crag from where we had good views of climbers on Grey Crag – in the sun and out of the cold wind it looked like an excellent crag choice. A nice scree run into Ennerdale (not yet run out as hardly anyone goes this way) led us towards the next control on Steeple on the other side. Most people apparently followed a forestry track to pick up a footpath at the foot of the north ridge. But the map we were using didn't have the footpath marked, so we attempted to traverse up by the edge of the forestry plantation to climb onto the ridge from near Mirk Cove on its eastern flank. I say 'attempted', as we managed to miss the edge of the forest and ended up fighting through dense conifers for a couple of hundred interminable metres. Despite this, I think it was a good route choice – but could have been a lot better with more care! The corrie itself was an impressive place, and would repay a longer visit, there looked to be some good scrambling possibilities.

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful, with a final slog up Seatallan before a descent down the beautiful valley by Nether Beck to an idyllic camping spot in a field on the shores of Wastwater. A splendid sunny day, despite the cold wind at times, and with beer available courtesy of Joe, plus the luxury of a few spare hours before sunset, a perfect end to the day.

A rainy night followed, and so we were expecting a damp day to follow, but the next morning the rain stopped, the clouds thinned, and the sun appeared.

No gentle start today, with the first control on the summit of Yewbarrow, 550m above us. From here, we followed the ridge up and along to Pillar for control number 2, accompanied by patchy sunshine, a bitterly cold wind, and occasional hail showers.

The next control was a loooong way away, on the summit of Great End. But at least we had the luxury of a relatively flat few miles as we traversed round the side of Kirk Fell, followed by the climbers' traverse past Napes Needle on Great Gable – a few hardy climbers were out despite the cold wind. The flat section ended abruptly at Esk Hause, with a steep 450m ascent up The Band ridge on Great End. For some reason hardly anyone ever goes up this way, and there was not much path to speak of, but in different circumstances it would make a fine way to the top.

From the summit we had a good view of some heavy hail falling over Glaramara, where we were headed next – for once it paid to be fairly slow, the hail had disappeared by the time we arrived. As indeed had the control marker – we spent a good 20 minutes looking for it until 2 others arrived and confirmed that it wasn't there. Oh well, at least it gave us the chance to stop for a while 🙂

A descent across complex terrain (luckily with good visibility) into Langstrath, was followed by the day's sting in the tail, an unrelenting 550m slog up Ullscarth. We couldn't face losing too much height again after this, so rather than take the direct down-then-up route to the final control on Steel Fell, we went for a longer-but-gentler line, traversing the head of the valley around the aptly named "The Bog". All that remained was a pleasant (though knee-wrackingly steep) descent down the ridge to the campsite at Steel End.

Another fine site with the chance to chill out with some beers. But the forecast for the next day was poor, and the day expected to be long, so we were in our sleeping bags before dark.

Having been kept awake for half the night by the strengthening wind and rain, I managed of course to fall into a deep sleep moments before being woken by the alarm at 4.45am. One of the hardest parts of the day followed, namely getting out of a warm dry tent into a cold wet and windy outdoors. After a bit of packing and faffing we finally set off at 6.25.

The first control was a pig – the summit of Helvellyn – made worse by the fact that the second control was by the side of Thirlmere, just a couple of miles along the shore from our start point! The ascent was warm and muggy (or as warm and muggy as it gets at 7am) but the summit was very, very cold, so we ran down as fast as we could. 1 hour 35 minutes up, 35 minutes down again, and we were back where we started.

The next path was visible directly across the lake, but to get there we had to walk all way round the shore. At least it was flat! Which is more than can be said for the ensuing 300m ascent up increasingly boggy ground to High Tove and across the watershed to Watendlath. There followed another of those bits that look simple on the map, but turn out not to be. Mainly in this case due to loss of concentration, I thought that every minor knoll and bump on Brund Fell was the summit, but as ever it turned out to be the steep craggy bit in the distance after all.

All the while the rain continued – it hardly stopped all day – while the wind gradually grew stronger.

Next down to Rosthwaite by a good direct line; feeling pleased with myself for finding it, I then let the side down with one of those brain waves that might work well, but rarely do.

The next control was on Robinson, on the other side of Dale Head. Instead of taking the obvious steep path straight up to Dale Head, we decided instead to head for Honister Pass, and then contour up the apparently grassy hillside to the col just before Robinson. The reasoning being that the weather was pretty foul so staying as low as possible for as long as possible could only be a good thing, even though the route was quite a mile or two longer.

The first part of the plan went well, though Honister Pass looked like it had the potential to become a morgue (OMM joke). However, the hillside that the map showed as grassy turned out to be an unbroken slate slag heap, and it quickly became obvious that it would be slow or impossible to find a way across. So we headed up Dale Head anyway, and then compounded my mistake as I attempted to traverse round the top of the hill instead of going to the summit; unfortunately I'd mis-set my altimeter and we ended up trying to traverse some 50 metres too low. At least we weren't competing against anyone else, just against ourselves – if our aim was to beat other people then we'd have given in before we started!

As expected, the weather on the ridge was 'exciting', and we had to fight to make any progress at all. So as soon as we reached the summit we fled as fast as possible down to the next control being at Newlands Hause. The end now started to feel close (even though it was still 6 miles away), as the last major ascent was out the way. A long traverse on sheep tracks above Sail Beck, up-and-over Sail Pass, then a final quick pull to the summit of Outerside was followed by a gentle descent back to Braithwaite and the finish.

All in all a truly excellent weekend (though it didn't always feel that way at the time!). Thanks as ever to Joe Faulkner and everyone else involved. As we battled through the rain on Monday morning I promised myself this would be the last time. But maybe I'll keep the May Day weekend free next year, just in case…

My photos are here.
Maps of our routes:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Results and GL3D details

Vital Statistics. Distances were probably slightly longer than shown, and ascent figures slightly less:
Day 1. 24 miles, 8500 feet ascent, 8 hours 40 mins
Day 2. 21 miles, 8850 feet ascent, 9 hours 57 mins
Day 3. 27 miles, 9000 feet ascent, 9 hours 50 mins

Sun Drenched Sea Cliffs of Llanberis

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Having abandoned Plan A (hut meet in Betys-y-coed) due to a condemned gas supply, we hatched Plan b (camping meet in Nant Peris). Five of us (me, guido, crofty, Keith W and crofty's aussie climbing mate Geoff) then abandoned Plan B every morning due to minging weather in the pass and fled to Gogarth where we climbed in glorious sunshine. The Evans brothers, made of sterner stuff than us, remained to cllimb in the cllag on Lliwed.

This was my first experience of sea cliff climbing and I found Gogarth as awesome and intimidating as its reputation. One of the most disconcerting things was having to make commiting abseils down to the start of routes without the chance to eyeball them first. The steepness and sheer scale of the cliffs also did their best to make me wibble – Toto, we were definately not in Brimham Rocks any more. On the other hand it was spectacularly beautiful, with huge drifts of pink thrift and white campion, colonies of nesting razorbills and almost meditteranean blue waves crashing against the cliffs. There were also colonies of the Lesser Anoracked Twitcher which made some aspects of life quite difficult – no sooner had you found a quiet spot to drop your keks than you looked up to see a massive telescope peering down.

Guido and Keith headed up Blanco, while JIm introduced me and Geoff to Gogarth climbing via Lighthouse Arete, a very gentle VS with only one tricky section. After topping out on that it was back down the abseil rop to Rap – or was it Pel? Arriving on the bottom ledge we found a bus queue. Another team were just starting up, then a third team appeared behind us. By this time we were so squeezed up the ledge resembled a "most people in a phone box" record breaking attempt. As we peered upwards yet another face appeared looking hopefully down at the ledge. Our seven heads all shook in unison.

Rap/Pel taught me a few lessons about sea cliff climbing. 1) voice communication is very difficult above the wind and waves 2) Route finding is a lot trickier than on gritstone outcrops. Traversing a ledge and wondering at what point I should start going upwards again, I looked back down to Jim, who had the guidebook. Jim gave me a cheery thumbs up, so I continued traversing. The traverse seemed a tad long so I looked again – no, Jim was still giving me the thumbs up so onwards I went. Jim, meanwhile, wondered why I was ignoring his clear "now go directly up" signal….and this is how we came to do Pel instead of Rap.

Jim cunningly squeezed in one more lead on Holyhead Mountain, a deceptively innocuous looking groove, Romulus, VS 5a, while waiting to intercept Guido and Keith on their way back from the Main Wall. Fish, chips, beers with the Evans brothers in the Vanwy Arms, then hangovers all round next morning.

Next day the weather in Llanberis was gopping so it was back to Gogarth and the sunshine. Jim wanted to do some routes at Wen Zawn, so in honour of the aussie contingent Guido took us walkabout, leading us directly there via Main Wall, Holyhead Mountain, South Stack, Bognor Regis and Kathmandu. We then split into two groups as, somewhat overawed by the reputation of Wen Zawn, I felt trying to even second HVS (the lowest grade there) risked being unable to get up the poxy thing. Guido pulled the short straw and came to Main Wall with me to do some VS routes. I was utterly intimidated by the scale and steepness of Main Wall, and left both leads on the first route (Imitator, VS 4c) to Guido, but chilled out a bit after that and we alternated leads on Bezel, VS 5a ( Guido taking the 5a pitch, a rather frisky pull up an overhang ). Finished around six again, having had a brilliant day, met up with Team Wen Zawn, who had done Dde, which they said was the best route of the weekend, and Bank Holiday Bypass, and managed a respectful tour of Vivian Quarry in order to gasp over Comes The Dervish from a safe distance before returning to more beers.

Got up on monday and this time the wet grey mingingness had extended over the whole country so we decided to call it an excellent weekend and came home.

Photos to come