Monday, 27 July 2015

A short bouldering weekend in wet Wales

Llanberis Pass
I had never been bouldering in Llanberis Pass. I've been to the Pass. I have climbed Snowdon. I have eaten at Pete's Eats. But I have never bouldered in the Pass. That's a poor show. So I set about remedying the situation with a quick weekend escape to the Welsh valley with Leigh-Anne.

It's safe to say we enjoyed a wide variety of weather. Upon arriving it was raining - consistently. It barely stopped all day, meaning we had only one option: climb on Jerry's Roof or don't climb at all. The runoff from the lip even started creeping under the roof, soaking holds that it shouldn't be getting anywhere near. Nonetheless, I managed to link it together up to the undercuts before, normally, you would throw out to the lip and was satisfied with a good workout.

We camped in the van that night and awoke the next morning to the sound of a drill sergeant-type force feeding weary hikers bacon sarnies and tea at 7am after a two-and-a-half hour Snowdon march. We assumed they were scoffing before a long journey to either Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis.

A few coffees and a banana later, we found ourselves once again sat under Jerry's Roof. The lip and top out had dried enough over night to give it some effort but the early start, van sleep, lack of solid breakfast or wake-up time - who knows; pick your excuse - zapped any motivation or energy I had for the climb. The baltic morning conditions weren't helping matters, as I struggled to warm up and, by the time I had negotiated the moratorium on muscular activity, I ran out of energy. Middle of July and it felt like December.

We walked the 250m back up the road to try some easier climbs on the big roadside block with Diesel Power on it. We didn't try that. We struggled on some small holds and then the sun burst through the clouds; like it had pulled its bed sheets off, lept out of bed and yelled to the world: "GOOOOOOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!" Welcome relief from the cold.

It suddenly went from baltic to hot with barely an in-between. Off came the layers and on came the smiles. We were able to stand around without shaking. I managed to climb a little 6C arete and then a 7A+ traverse line that started at the bottom of Diesel Power and drifted rightwards, around the aforementioned arete and connected with a 5+ Ramp feature that Leigh-Anne climbed. It was fun and short lived.

We decided to go for a hike and looked across the road to the Wavelength boulders. They didn't look too far away, so we ladened ourselves with pads and bags full of water and set off. We soon realised it was steep, boggy and lacking in any formal path. We negotiated little streams, puddles and mud-traps and eventually found ourselves under Utopia. We wanted Boysen's Groove. I dropped the pads and shot up the hill, feeling light unburdened. I nearly walked the whole mountain without seeing the Groove so I turned back. I went the wrong way. How? 

Having consulted the guide, we heaved the luggage back onto our aching backs and continued the plod upwards. Eventually arriving at the Groove, we collapsed with exhaustion. I put my climbing shoes on, stood up and nearly fell over again - dizzy. I pulled onto the starting jug and wondered whether it would snap under my weight - it's thin. I couldn't bend my arms I was so tired. Leigh-Anne faired similarly so we sacked it off and went to Pete's Eats for chips. 

The next day epic amounts of rain were forecast so, instead of hanging around, we programmed Sheffield into the Satnav and left the Pass for another day. I'll be back. A good trip to Wales.