When my boss told me I was getting an extra (unpaid) day off this week it couldn’t have worked out better, because it co-incided with a trip Mark was planning to Wales. I knew I’d love Wales, and I did, because it was amazing.
Tuesday dawned damp, but then I’m cumbrian and this summer has taught me patience. So tea was drunk and papers were read, and more tea was drunk, and the sun rose above the yard arm and the sky began to clear. We’d originally been thinking fast drying quarries, but the lure of the mountains was to strong. Our timing was perfect, the first party to arrive at the bottom of Idwal Slabs, but not the last. Although the sky was now dry the rock was still in speight, so we opted for easy climbing in our trainers; The Ordinary Route (D). At the top we kept going up and made for the Cneifion Arete. A few pitches then a scramble to the top with no-one but the goats in sight. I liked the goats. I liked this day, a lot.
Scrambling on the Cniefon Arete (photo by Mark)
Tuesday, and our numbers were swelled by old timers and a newbie. Time for something a little different; slate. New to most of us, and new enough to the rest. Highlight of the day; belaying Atsuko on a route, she last climbed when she was 50; 28 years ago. She didn’t take much convincing to be geared up, and just padded up a route, clearly happy being on rock.
The gang in Australia
Climbing wise I managed to lead 5b, so pretty happy with that. Also managed to scare the shit out of myself seconding a traverse; down climb on mono, above missing bolt, nothing for it in the end but to commit – eek! The day finished with a walk home in the sun, past some legendary climbs. Seeing the quarryman groove was pretty cool.
Walking home in the sunshine
Thursday, and just Mark, I, and the sunshine remained. A day of climbing in the pass beckoned. First up some unfinished business on Brant (VS) for Mark, just the first pitch, but still a suitably pumpy warm up. Next up Phantom Rib (VS), 4 pitchs – with the meat in the first 3. Mark was after 4c ticks, so that meant P2 was his, and P1 looked steep so that was his too. It was steep; i found it the hardest bit of the route. P2 was delicate and called for small gear – which was a shame as most of it had been used to build the belay; still, nice climbing. I giggled my way up the awkward, but well protected P3, which i’m quite proud of as i’m a total novice on multipitch VS. We were closely followed up the route by 2 ladies from Dundee, so had a bit of a natter at the top, before an abseil descent. what a lovely climb, what a great finish to our time in Wales.
On the drive home I kept dropping off , to dreams of climbs and sunny Llanberis; it’ll take a while to come down from this. Thank you guys!