Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wales part the second

Ok here is part two.
Sunday morning I woke up guessing it was about half 5 feeling tired after another poor nights sleep. I turned my phone on to check the time. To my surprise it was 6.30 (not much better). I then got a text from the night before from Matthias saying ring me urgently when I got the text.
So I gave him a call. He said “there is some damp appearing in the living room under the bath and the shower is leaking”. I felt slightly disheartened feeling my empty wallet getting even lighter. I called my Dad and let him know so he could sort something out later, theirs not a lot I can do from a field in North Wales with poor reception.
I went back to sleep and got about another 20 mins and woke up Vicky about 7.30 to get ourselves up and ready for the arrival of Haydn.
We got a call off of Haydn around 8.15 saying he had made good time just needed some fuel and was checking where to meet us. We were just cooking some bacon sandwiches. We had run out of time so we rushed through breakfast and packed everything up chucking most of it in the back of the car.
The weather was perfect a very light breeze at the campsite and the sun was rising fast and the temperature was rising. Haydn arrived so we moved all the climbing gear into his car and left Vicky’s at the camp site for the day. Setting off up the road we decided to head towards the nose on Dinas Mot. The plan was to get on a multi-pitch HVS or two. We started with a fast ascent of The direct route *** (VS 5b) I took the first lead linking pitch one and two together to a nice slabby, bold(ish) 47m VS 4b pitch. I dispatched this with no real drama. Nice climbing in a great position. Haydn and Vix simo-climbed seconding me to save time. Next Vicky lead a short VS 4c pitch around 15m. It was nice climbing in a fantastic position with a hand traverse with 55m of air below your feet on an exposed bulge (there is a great guide book photo). To avoid issues when swapping leads we made an effort to flake the ropes after every pitch. So after me and haydn followed Vicky up I flaked out the yellow rope and Vix sorted the blue, while Haydn geared up for the final and crux pitch.
After making the mistake of not fully tightening up one of my screw gates on the belay anchor then clipping into the second anchor in the wrong place. The banter started obviously Haydn was in full flow. I Had sorted the yellow rope then laid it out the wrong way up so I was belaying from the bottom of the pile.
Haydn set off on the crux pitch which has a boulder problem start. A weird hard 5b bridging moves lead to a jug then good climbing on a massive flake leads to a short crack. It’s a great bit of climbing in a corner right on top of the nose. Haydn topped out with not too many issues except not enjoying the foot jams at the top crack. After setting up his anchor he started to pull up both ropes. At which point I realised I had managed to tangle the yellow rope. Haydn respond in his usual way. “Luke you’re fucking up again, That’s it one more fuck up and I will kick the shit out of you.” With a rye smile I continued to untangle the rope only to here a few seconds later coming from above shouts of below. I look up to see a small blue belay device bouncing down the flake and past me at speed. I also then shouted below as there was a few people at the based of the crag. Trying not to laugh I shouted up to Haydn “Take it you will be belaying off a Italian hitch then?” I followed him up after looking slightly bewildered at the move off the ledge I set off and got the move straight away. I then got to Haydn’s next bit a gear, a small cam that had walk up and became over cammed. I gave it a good go but failed to get it out. I finished the pitch with no real issue. Vicky came up next no issues with the climbing for her either. She also had a go at the cam and failed to get it out, so Haydn got lowered off and got it out pretty quickly realising what had happened with the placement. We abbed off down the east gully and headed back to our bags.
It was around lunch time so we had a snack and planned our next route. We were keen to give West rib a go so we got ready and Vix racked up for the first pitch. Sadly when we got there we found that there was already two groups on a three pitch route and not been arse to follow up the groups we carried on.
We spotted a route called Jubilee Climb ** HVS 5b so we thought we would go have a look. The first pitch looked ok so we gate it ago. Vicky lead linking pitched one and too. This probably deserved around VS 4b and a star on its own. Nice climbing in a cool position. Me and Haydn followed simo-climbing we then got to the top of the pitch and looked at the next one. The pitch was a one star HVS/E1 5b. This involves climbing into a cave spinning out onto a face finishing up a set of steep cracks. After eyeing up the harrowing next pitch I asked Haydn if he would take this one. Thankfully he obliged. He lead the pitch with style finesse and power giving it everything he had, until he ran out of steam on the last move before pulling over the top. So close. It was an awesome effort and a shame he did not get it clean. He rested on the rope then worked out the move. He continues up the next pitch a short severe 4a pitch until the rope drag became unbearable and set up an anchor. I followed first fighting to stay on and came close but fell after trying to grab a hold that did not exist. I got over the top after a rest on the rope and continued up the slab to meet H at the belay. Vicky followed and took one fall on the crux then made it over the top.
Now it was my turn to lead the final pitch. Haydn had stopped half way up the next pitch which I think turned out to be just at the crux move but it was only 4a so after a little be wilderment I got up to the end of that pitch and moved onto the final and top pitch. The guide was not clear about the line so I had an idea of the line but I was not sure. When I got to the base there with a thin seam/crack line moving up and left to a wider crack so that was it. The pitch weighed in at around HVS 5a but this was definitely a three star pitch. Looking a little bemused I glance down at Haydn who shouted up to me. “I have never seen anyone so un psyched about to climb” half laughing. I was very deep in thought so I do not reply I placed a nut in a crack below a finger lock. The placement was bomber. I just had to pull onto the slab. I worked out a way felt about 5a and set off. I followed the thin crack with smears for feet to a good break. I placed some gear and moved off left to where the crack got wider. At this point I was gripped the route is in a fantastic position but this is completely overshadowed by the fact the climbing is amazing. I moved up the wider crack on finger locks, hand jams smears rock over’s. The route had every thing! I got to a large undercut finger jug and got a bit bewildered. I had a fantastic cam at head height but the smears were not great. I work out the move which was a brilliant high rock over to another undercut finger jug then it eased to the top.
The pitch was the best pitch of climbing of the day. It was truly one of the best pitches I have ever climbed. Haydn followed my up with no real issue and confirmed the quality of the climbing. Stating the only issue was the pitch was only 25m long wishing it continued. Vicky followed with no real issue.
We headed down jammed boulder gully which was a bit interesting to say the least and headed back to the gear. We decided to call it a day and head to the pub for a swift one before the drive home.
I then managed to embarrass myself in front of a barmaid by having to borrow money to buy my drink only for the barmaid to tell me I did not need to and give me the money back. FAIL!!! Good chat in the pub then we headed home feeling content and knackered after a long weekend.

On the way home I thought I would look at the graded list to see where Jubilee climb came. It was the top of the HVS graded list so this made me feel a bit better. I may have fallen but at least it was on the hardest pitch of the hardest HVS in the pass.

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