Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

Wales November Meet Trip Report 2012

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Slate Quarries

Slate Quarries


The signs were not looking good leading up the to Wales meet. The hut booking had fallen through, Llanberis high street was a raging river and the A55 was touch and go. But the weather didn’t put anyone off, and YAC ended up in the South Wales MC hut in Deineloin.

After packing for a soggy weekend, we were instead greeted with a mild and dryish one, with the rain holding off until near dusk both days. This means biking, climbing and walking got done and a good time was had by all.

Donal persuaded Peter and Ann to go biking in Betwsy Coed forest – mainly so that he could purchase a new cycle helmet first, having left his at home and not impressed with the loan of Ann's ca 1970's bright yellow Joe Brown climbing lid. After haggling hard at a bike hire shop, Donal became the proud owner of a used, but considerably more modern form of head protection. Suitably equipped, the trio headed off to cycle the Marin Trail – fitting, as both Donal and Ann have Marin bikes.

Ignoring the substantial barricades and huge 'trail closed' signs, they found the route to be surprisingly good, if somewhat slippery in places. "If it was dry, we'd nail this" was a frequent comment as bikes went sideways down the trail. (Dry? Wales? I think not!). They were really enjoying themselves, but when Peter and Donal stopped at the end of a long fast section, they realised Ann wasn't with them.

Moments later, the forest echoed with a very loud 'bang' and being alone in a dark Welsh forest, thoughts of 'Deliverance' sprang to mind as they both assumed Ann must have been shot. Donal bravely retraced the route to find Ann, looking like some sort of rural skip rat, dragging her bike along. The back wheel had literally exploded, signalling the sudden and long overdue death of her less than well maintained bike. Ann (with her armful of scrap metal) and Peter (with a map) were left to find their way back down into Betwsy whilst Donal completed the route (with a few short cuts) in order to retrieve the car.

Stairs

Stairs

Sharon and Mike pootled around the quarries whilst the climbers headed en masse to Anglesey to Holyhead mountain (not a mountain) for some cragging. It was a quiet and grey day, and mild out of the wind. Rob guided Justine and John up various routes including Stairs (S*) and Pigeon Hole Crack (S 4a) then taught them how to abseil, and set them back down again.

Everyone else hopped up and down the crag and climbed routes including Candlestick (HS 4b) and the ominously-named Vegetable Garden (VDiff). The weather started to threaten a bit more insistently so we buggered off back to the cars, almost timing it perfectly and only getting rained on for about 15 mins. Ah well.

Saturday evening saw a lovely dinner cooked by Sharon, Mike and Rob, sat around the huge table in the slightly soggy kitchen. As the hut didn’t have an oven, Annie went on the scrounge across the field to the Lincolnshire club hut returning with warm bread rolls and a warmer complexion. No questions were asked, comments made or michael taken. At all.

On Sunday, Donal was fighting off a cold and did very little, whilst Peter and Ann went for a little walk. Sharon and Mike rode the Marin trail Sunday. Unlike the Saturday group, they finished it.
P1060925 kinder surprise 4+
The climbers nipped up the road to the atmospheric state quaries at Denorwic for some sport climbing. A new venue for several YAC-ers, the slate lived up to its quick-drying reputation, literally drying off before your eyes.
P1000187

A good sociable day was had with everyone leading and top-roping the delicate routes under the surprisingly blue sky and taking lots of pictures. We wern’t the only Yorkshire group in attendance, York uni and Leeds uni were there, and Rob got blanked by one of his students.
P1000959 tea berak

Late afternoon drizzle sent us back down the hill the scenic way via tunnels, back to the hut and home. A good weekend snatched from the jaws of the weather gods and a good lesson in the rewards to be had from braving dodgy weather forecasts and just getting out anyway!

Late Autumn Sunshine

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Tryfan from Careg Mianog

The warm autumn weather this year encouraged people out and the November meet at Capel Curig was almost full – in fact we had trouble fitting people round the table in the evenings.  Rob had also brought his Movember  'tash.   A full pack of mountain bikers was there, with the obligatory start – an On The Spot repair of Annies bike by Pete the Pie. The weather on saturday was beautiful, so while the bikers biked, the climbers headed for the rocks- except for Simon and Carmen who fancied an 8 hour run round the Carneddau.

Rob, PeteB, Angela and me headed for Tremadog to bask on the sunny rocks like lizards. After a lengthy gossip in Eric's Cafe, me and Angela headed for One Step in the Clouds, a 3 star VS which I have wanted to do for ages. It was as good as I had hoped, an easyish start then a delicate and exposed traverse followed by an airy hand traverse along a flake which finishes at the prettiest belay ever, a mossy rock ledge surrounded by holly bushes and rowan.

We arrived at this point late in the day as we had to divert part way up the route to help a team on Hail Bebe who had a dramatic fall after going off route. Neither was badly hurt, but the belayer was pulled from the stance and was unable to get back up by himself due to rope burns. So I was very glad Debra and me had been on a self rescue course the year before which helped deal with the situation – thanks, Paul! There was a slightly surreal moment when another member of their club arrived by abseil announcing "Hello, I'm a doctor". For one moment I expected him to whip out a sonic screwdriver and take on the Cybermen.

Next day was still dry but a lot chillier, so while Angela and a friend headed for Holyhead Mountain, where she did her first ever trad lead – well done! – and Simon & Carmen headed for Tryfan,  I teamed up with Rob and Pete who were heading for Careg Mianog, an obscurish but accessible crag with a reputation for catching the sun. Which I'm sure it would have, had there been any sun to catch…

Biceps Wall, allegedly Vs 4c

The walk in was flat but marshy so probably took us about 40 minutes. We found the crag wet in places, and all the grades seemed on the stiff side, the phrase "[insert grade here] my arse!" was used a few times. However we had the place to ourselves and it felt wild and woolly, with spectacular views of Tryfan.  In particular we thought Biceps Wall a complete sandbag at VS 4c – tough moves and not very reassuring protection at the start. We ran out of daylight and bailed from the second pitch, managing to get across the marshy section just in time to avoid complete darkness.

Very Snowy-Donia

Friday, January 30th, 2009

After a soggy grey week, expectations for the weekend were low. But it was the YAC club hut meet in Snowdonia so in went the crampons and ice axe, though most of us were convinced wellies and a snorkel were likely to be more useful. Guido and I had arranged to share a lift and as I was in London the previous day decided to travel up on the Saturday morning at 6am – yikes.

As we drove over, the weather didn't seem to improve much. We decided a low grade scramble was a good bet, and picked on a combination of Central Buttress on the East face of Tryfan followed by Bristly Ridge (which is on something else).  Arriving in Snowdonia things started looking up – the tops were definitely white – looked like a light sprinkling of snow on top so into the sacs went the crampons etc.

As we gained height the snow cover got thicker, we couldn't spot the path so it was heather bashing for us in deepening snow. By the time we reached Heather Terrace and the start of our route, conditions were definitely wintry, but it was all soft loose snow.  Guido pronounced the initial obstacles to be on the tricky side so as he had a complete winter novice – me – in tow, decided we should rope up. Since the snow was too soft  to use axes effectively I was then introduced to the dark art of Dry Tooling. Which I have got to say is huge fun – once I got the hang of it, I was suprised what a good hold (is that the word? sounds wrong) you can get on small edges and cracks with your axe, and how solid it felt.

Guido leads the way

Solid is not the word I would have used for the snow – it was of the "steps that collapse under your weight" variety, which felt quite exciting on a steep slope. At one point I had both legs submerged up to the knees in snow, struggling to achieve a balance between pushing hard enough to extract my feet without making it collapse further. We also took longer than expected as we only had a short rope with us, so had to rebelay every 30? metres or so. Never mind, it was completely exhilarating, the sky was now blue with the crags outlined sharply against it and every now and again I remembered to look round slack jawed at the views down into the valley. Arrived at the top completely blown away by the experience and very chuffed to have done my first winter route.

Unfortunately we ran short of time to do Bristly Ridge – by the time we got there the sky was turning pink and we decided not to spoil a brilliant day by pushing our luck so headed for a traditional finish at Petes Eats.

Arrived at the hut,  and several hours after darkness Simon Carmen and Rob also arrived, having spent the day searching for ice on the Black Ladders.  Carmen and Simon then fed the masses with haggis and neeps and Carmen's amazingly good soup. Next day it pished down but who cares after such a brilliant Saturday so me Guido Carmen and Simon headed off to beast ourselves at the Beacon Climbing Centre, Rob went for a walk and the bikers did something bikey.