|The line we climbed on Clogwyn Du|
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Early Winter ticks
With all the Early snowfall and freezing conditions I couldn't pass on the opportunity to get a few early routes in before Christmas. Myself and Phil headed to North wales this weekend to see what were on offer. We arrived Late Thursday night and parked up in the Ogwen car park, the temperature was way below freezing and we were both in for a very uncomfortable night, even though I was in my down bag with full base layers on I still found myself shivering for most of the night, when we awoke early morning there was a thick layer of ice on the inside of the car window which made it very hard for me to get out from my sleeping bag. Eventually we got up, got the kit ready and headed up the hill towards the devils kitchen area, The walk in was great with the mountains looking so beautiful, I was amazed at how much Ice was formed on the routes, even the devils appendix was not far off being climbable, we headed up to look how the screen (IV) was forming, it looked great so we decided to try it. we geared up and I set on up the first pitch, the climbing wasn't that hard, the ice was pretty fat on this pitch and I managed to get a couple of 22cm screws in, I arrived at the first belay which had a good sized ledge, placed a couple of anchors and belayed Phil on up, By this time another party had arrived and the foot of the climb. Anyway Phil decided he wanted to lead the next crux pitch, brave considering he hadn't led on Ice before, The ice was pretty steep and very brittle, it was hard to find a placement for the axe without all the ice just breaking away, but he managed to make his way up the pitch in great style and bagging is first grade IV ice lead.. after setting up a belay I headed on up, The climbing was pretty straight forward and quite enjoyable, I passed on up past Phil and lead on up the final groove pitch to top out at the top of the route. Overall a very enjoyable route and a great first lead for Phil. after looking at a few other routes and finding some guy half bleeding to death we decided to head on back down. on the way back down we decided to shoot up Idwal stream (II/III). There are only really too good pitches on this which if confident can be soloed pretty easy... a good climb tho and I am glad we decided to do it.. we headed back on down to the car both tired and very wet. sleeping in the car with nowhere to dry our kit out we decided to spend the night in swallow falls to have the pleasure of the drying room. The next morning arrive and the weather seemed pretty settled, it wasn't that cold out which was pretty worrying but we were heading up to Clogwyn Du which is quite high up so fingers crossed. After the long walk in we arrived at the foot of the crag, luckily someone had kindly cut steps all the way up from the car park so is wasn't to tiring. We decided to head up into Left hand Branch (V), the crux pitch looked pretty fin on ice and more of a mixed line, we pushed on up a fairly easy gully to the foot of the difficulties. I set on up the mixed line, the climbing wasn't the hardest but seemed very short on gear placements, eventually I managed to find a nice flake to place a sling over, I carried on up with the climbing becoming a little more difficult. there was allot of powder snow about which was making it hard work, I eventually managed to mantle onto this slopey ledge for a breather before attempting the traverse out right to safety. the original route does go up left but lack of ice meant this was off limits for today and we would join on to the top half of right hand direct (III). I made my way across the ledge and mange to reach easier ground...phew. pretty scary that but an amazing feeling to of lead it... I set up a good belay and shouted down for Phil to come on up. James and Steve had arrived behind us now and were also going to attempt the route. Phil pushed on up behind me, after a few F**ks and S**ts he popped round onto easier ground, we then both moved on up to join the Que on right hand direct. Waiting in the Que for a short while we had the chance to watch some impressive climbing from some guys out left an a very steep mixed route.. (Could have been Rob). We eventually got going and finished on up the route. we all topped out safely including James and Steve, after a short bite to eat we headed back down to the car park where we bumped into Rob, He had been attempting some grade 9 that had only had three ascents...(Nuts). after a little chat we got changed and started our long journey home. Overall and amazing couple of days climbing and hopefully the start of a great winter season. I must go back soon and attempt to finish the direct line on left hand branch.