My Favourite Experience in the Mountains…

For the first entry I thought I’d write about some of my most memorable experiences out in Mountain, Moor and Cave Environments. I enjoy each aspect of these outdoor environments for different reasons Mountains for the achievement and journey of getting to the top, moor for the variety of activities and powerfulness of the white water and caving for a lure of whats just round the corner.


Lliwedd face from the miners path

Lliwedd face from the miners path

Possibly not the most enjoyable while doing it, but defiantly one of my most memorable experiences was on the North Wales Classic Avalanche, Red Wall and Longlands Continuation (HVD 4b) Route on Lliwedd in Snowdonia. Lliwedd is a towering North Face of Volcanic rock which barely sees the sun, its 1000 feet of steep exposed climbing is littered with excited and historic routes. Our 12 pitches of of cold and hard route finding would take us just under 8 hours, making the day in total from leaving the car, to getting back to the car a 12 and a half round trip.

We started out around 9.30 in the morning having parked at the lower Pen Y Pass car Parks, then taken the extra 20 minutes to hike up to Pen Y Pass (mainly to avoid heavy parking fees), we stopped to fill our bottles and marched up the Miners track to the first lake and the rangers hut where a left turn takes you up towards the dark Lliwedd face and away from the comfort of tarmacked and laid tracks. A sweaty hike up the grass and scree with the sun on our backs, which was the last of the day, bought us to the bottom of our route….looking up and seeing nearly 1000 foot of wall teetering above us. After starting the first few pitches we soon realised we would be in the shade and cold all day, alternating pitches we came to the famous RW etched into the rock which denotes the start of the Red Wall section.

The start of the Red Wall section.

The start of the Red Wall section.

After a few more hours we where nearing the top pitches, the route finishes with a bang with the last pitch technically the hardest. We topped out, knackered, ate our remaining lunch, drank the last gulps of our water and started the descent back to the car. The route back to the car involves following the last section of the Snowdon Horseshoe, which involves a simple scramble back down the tarmacked Miners path. We stopped again to fill out bottles at Pen Y Pass and made it back to the van for 9.30pm.

All in all a fantastic, albeit long and cold day out on Lliwedd, the feeling of wilderness and being alone on a huge expanse of wall was what I enjoy most about climbing, the continued exposure, slightly dodgy rock, horrendous belays and amazing views made the day. Least to say we slept like babies that night.

p.s- for those that are interested here’s the route discription…

Avalanche, Red Wall and Longlands Continuation
1) 20m. Follow the groove to Heather Shelf.
2) 30m. Climb diagonally rightwards onto a face, then climb upwards to belay 4m left of a prominent spike, level with a dog-leg in the corner off to the right.
3) 15m. Climb up to belay left of a quartz band.
4) 25m. Move right and climb the quartz band. The groove above leads to moves rightwards to gain some ledges. Move onto the right-hand side of the rib to the right and climb it to a spike belay.
5) 33m. A vegetated groove up and right leads to a tall, thin block.
6) 33m. A scramble rightwards along a shelf leads to a stance on the Great Terrace.
7) 4a, 24m. (The start of Red Wall). Move rightwards to a grassy groove. Climb this to a hard move onto a rib leading to some good ledges. Belay at the bottom of a deep groove pointing towards the top of Terminal Arete.
8) 4a, 30m. Climb up a rib, passing a pinnacle on the right to a ledge. Climb the short wall to the Green Gallery.
9) 10m. Climb leftwards to belay about 10m left of the huge gully.
10) 25m. (The start of Longland’s Continuation) Climb the left arete of a steep face to a hollow. A jammed block leads rightwards to a slab. Climb the slab, trending rightwards after 6m and pass another slab to belay in a grassy slot.
11) 30m. Follow a rib on the right to belay beneath a steep slab.
12) 4b, 15m. The final pitch is the crux slab! It can be climbed direct, or trend left at half height.


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