A summer on Welsh Rock

I’m writing this post in December looking back on a summer of amazing climbing, reminiscing about the fantastic routes, long evenings and superb weather. The welsh summer has been long and dry in 2014 and it meant climbing was to be had, almost every day.

Snowdonia is an awesome climbing venue. You have the mountain crags both roadside and remote, the coast at Gogarth, sport climbing on the limestone, the Orme and gems like Tremadog all within an hours drive of Plas Y Brenin. Not only a variety or venues but also rock types, within the same hour you can climb on limestone, rhyolite, dolerite, quartzite, grits, slate, tuffs, sandstones, conglomerates and breccias…take your pick!

Then there’s the routes, there is literally something for everyone from an E6 climber who wants a multi pitch adventure on a remote sea cliff to a beginner wanting a short walk in to easy angled single pitch rock with a load of Diffs and VDiffs. Climbers will often talk about the routes by their names, they have history a certain awe about a route which has somehow gained a higher status. Those routes that everyone seems to know about, and can tell you about, because of this history and awe around it. Wales is not short of those routes, Dream of White Horses, Strawberries, Cenotaph Corner, Grooved Arete, Amphitheatre Buttress, Vector and The Indian Face to name just a few. This is why Snowdonia is such a good venue, so much to offer and such a historic and beautiful place to climb.

Climbing on the Idwal Slabs

Climbing on the Idwal Slabs

My summer of climbing has been fantastic, not only grade wise (leading my first 6c) but also in mileage and quality of routes. Below is a quick synopsis of some of my favorites this summer.

Lighthouse Arete at Castell Y Helen VS 4c – My first exploration into Gogarth, and loved it, atmospheric position and wonderful climbing (apart from the last 15m or so).

Scrambling on Tryfan

Scrambling on Tryfan

Dives and Better Things on Dinas Cromlech VS 4c – The crux I found hard, but completely elated. The second pitch a complete gem of corner.

Notch Arete on West Face of Tryfan – Grade 3 Scramble – Being able to move across such quality ground, roped up, wonderful slabs that don’t seem quite at home on Tryfan, quiet and away from the crowds too (until you top out).

Notch Arete

Notch Arete

The Troach at Cloggy E2 5b – Having done Sheaf in the morning and The Troch in the afternoon, this was one of the most memorable days of the summer, a true introduction to Cloggy. An amazing route, wit ha cool hanging belay, pitch 3 is somewhat trickier in the absolute pissing rain.

The Trouble With Lichen on Clogywn Yr Tarw E2 5b – This is one of trickier climbs I did this summer, the second pitch a fairly pumpy horizontal crack with a crazy move or two to get you established in the vertical corner which leads to the top!

Route 3 at Castle Inn Quarry – Purely in list as my first 6c lead 🙂

Bouldering in the Sunshine at Porth Ysgo

Bouldering in the Sunshine at Porth Ysgo

Lots Groove on the Glyders HVS 5a – A tough looking corner crack, with an overhanging top section, not my cup of tea (overhanging and crack) but after psyching myself up found every move a delight and topped out feeling completely chuffed having topped out in relative style (and not a moment of fluster)!

Shadrach at Tremadog VS 4c – I can see why people take the 2 alternative starts, to the right, or on the outside. Shadrach is a body sized off width for those who haven’t heard. Its surprisingly full of gear, but a proper struggle to the exit hole at the end of P1. Being a caver I relished the climbing, enjoying the thrutching and bruised knees at the end 🙂

Me Denry and Hannah on Kirkus Route in the Moelwyns

Me Denry and Hannah on Kirkus Route in the Moelwyns

These are just a few of the gems this summer has offered and between may and the of Septmeber I averaged a pitch of leading a day. Although it’s now December I am completely psyched for the snow to settle a bit more, the temperature to drop a bit lower and to dust off the crampons and axes!

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