Monday, 18 January 2010

No Ice!!

With all the action and routes looking really fat myself and Phil decided to head to North wales to try and tick a few more ice routes. Yet did we know that most of the ice had gone, It was quite surprising to see how much ice and snow could melt in the period of a day and half. Every route in the Devils kitchen area had either fallen down or melted and run off down the mountain. We decided to head into the devils kitchen area on the Saturday morning. We didn't really have a plan other than to see what conditions were like then take it from there. When we arrived, it was raining quite heavy and the wind was picking up, most of the ice on the routes had gone, the only line that was still intact was "Central route" but even that looked pretty thin and wet. We had a
Look through the guide book and decided to head up to the Clogwyn Du area and see what Cwm Cneifion Arete was looking like, The route was only graded at a D/III (Winter) so this wouldn't be to hard to do in the wet and in B3 boots. We arrived at the bottom of the route and there was another team gearing up to head up the Arete. We had a little chat with the guys and soon got pretty pissed off with them due to them rubbing it in the fact on how conditions had been so good the previous weeks and all the routes they managed to get on. We let them set off up the route while we waited for them to finish the first pitch.

The rock was looking pretty damp but the climbing still looked pretty easy so we decided to take coils and move together on the rope placing the odd bit of gear between us, The first pitch was pretty steep but had good hand holds all the way up, the rock was wet so it didn't take long for our hands to start getting cold. Phil soon caught up with the other team, they had managed to get some of their gear stuck so Phil stopped to help out, They eventually got the nut out and pressed on. They were moving pretty slow pitching every section.

Phil on first Pitch of Cneifion arete

Myself on Last pitch of Cniefion Arete
We decided to push on past them as they had managed to get another cam stuck, I had a little look as i moved past them but it looked pretty deep and didn't look hopeful. We arrived at the top of the route. After a quick bite to eat and a little look around we headed back down.
Sunday-We decided that we would look at doing a 9 pitch route up Lliwedd called "Horn Crag Route". After knowing what conditions were like from our previous day we decided not to take the ice axes and crampons with us. we set off up the path from Pen Y Pass in darkness, the path was in pretty good condition with the odd section of snow. as we started to come around into the Lliwedd area we noticed that the face was pretty covered in snow, knowing that we didn't have our axes or crampons with us we decided to abandon the attempt. we had a little chat and decided to head back around to the devils kitchen area again and try Cniefion Rib, I had done this route before but Phil hadn't so I thought it would be good for him to do it. We arrived at the bottom of the route and it was good to see that the rock was pretty dry, we were climbing in B3's so I knew it would be a nice little tester. I let Phil lead the whole route as I had done it before. He set of up the first pitch, the climbing is pretty easy but there are the lack of solid foot holds when wearing your mountain boots. He seemed to flow through it pretty easy even though he did look a bit jittery on the crux move. He set up the anchor then I followed on
up, when I got to the crux I realised what the fuss was about, it was soaked and trusting your mountain boots on a wet sloping ledge with two small crimp hand holds was pretty frightening but i managed to edge my way through it, we carried on up the route moving together on the rope now as the climbing had become easy, we got to the last pitch and i put Phil back on belay, he moved on up making light work, he shouted down that he spotted a good crack line out left but he didn't fancy it in the boots, he did offer for me to try it but i decided best not! I climbed on up, I spotted the crack line he was on about and i must admit it did look pretty awesome, I think it would of went in B3's too so I guess thats one for the future. I eventually topped out. We sat ourselves down to grab a bite to eat before heading back down.

Even know there wasn't any ice available this weekend it still turned out to be a great weekend, we managed to get some good training in on working together which will come in very handy on our plans for the alps this year.
Overall a Good trip.......

Phil on top of Cneifion Arete

Looking out towards Tryfan

Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are
naught without prudence, and that a momentary negliance may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; Look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end