Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A bit of trad followed by some old fashioned mountaineering Part 1

I must have be swapping hands, swapping sides, shifting body positions, upping and downing for at least half an hour.  The sweat was pouring out, my mouth was dry and I felt rather puzzled.  Holding the ropes was a young Peter Herd.  He was sat back, strapped in and loving the turmoil I was in.  We all know that I like to hang on, but I was getting a bit bored.  Unfortunately I was just not seeing the sequence.  Eventually I committed…. (About bloody time Pete was thinking!), then I was off.  Mouth dry, arms buggerd.  I had nothing left to give...not even a quiet Murdoch rage.  I was ‘gone’ as Dave Douglas would say.  This was my attempt on Surgical Lust E7 6b on Scimitar Ridge in the Llanberis Pass.  Being a Scot who enjoys moaning about everything, the moan of the day was it was too hot and sunny.  So we waited all flipping day for the sun to disappear round the corner.  Even when it did, I was moaning it was still too warm.  So basically after my late start on the route, it was almost dark by the time Pete lowered me off.  Anyway, those of you who know the topography of Scimitar Ridge will know it is a total ballache.  2 Laps of the crag to retrieve gear left me rather toasted. 

Pete on 'Roc Nest - Monster'

Me on 'Surgical Lust' (Photo: Peter Herd)

The Following day was forecast to be overcast, windy and the threat of rain.  Thank god.  However, Pete’s luck was out.  He got himself involved with Roc Nest - Monster E4 6a as the sun popped out.  But, he dispatched in good style.  Thankfully the clouds returned and it started to rain for my attempt.  At least it was crisp and the friction was good.  Just the change in conditions allows the grumpy Scot to focus and feel alive.  Surgical Lust dispatched with no faff. 

North Stack Wall

North Stack Wall.  That’s an interesting cliff.  I sent Pete up Blue Peter E4 5c.  Mainly because the route included his name and he had a blue top on.  I must admit I felt quite responsible sending the lad up this serious route; a bit unsure how he would deal with this nature of climbing.  North Stack Wall is a stressful place.  Friable rock and poor gear, it’s not a place for the faint hearted.  Anyway, a steady methodical approach, it was my turn to feel impatient belaying.  However, Pete topped out glowing.  Not bad Gogarth initiation.

Pete chilling on 'Blue Peter'

The Clown E7 6b has remained unticked on my scribbled list for a few years.  It still remains unticked.  I did give it a look but stuggled to fully commit over the roof.  My feet were even over the roof, I just faced a mental block on each attempt so made the desperate down climb, grappling the soapy undercuts.  The onsight still remains for another day.  The Long run E5 6a, gave an exciting escape route.  I find it quite interesting the whole trad game.  Bouldering all winter and 10 days in Chulilla with Russell Birkett gives you a load of strength and fitness.  Then you strap a rack on and switch to fiddling shitty gear in, it’s a different ball game.  For me anyway.  I must admit, I expected to just to pick up where I left off last October.  However, I was a tad rusty.  But, I’m on it now!

Pete following 'The Long Run'

A week in North Wales sends my head into turmoil.  To move, or not to move.  A week of concentrated trad climbing just reminded me of its ease of access and quality.  But, it’s not Scotland.  No doubt I’ll be back down later in the year to redeem myself on North Stack Wall. 

Pete on 'Comes the Dervish'

Me on the 'Flashdance/Belldance combo' (Photo:Peter Herd)

Retuning home after a week of fine weather, I was shocked to be knee deep in snow on Ben Stack one evening after work.  A shit winter which has decided to prolong itself was becoming a bit frustrating.  Back to the boulders, wall and hill runs for me. Walking from my car to the office door one day was not dissimilar to setting off into the Northern Corries from the Cas car park.  In fact, how would I know, I would get out the car! A week later, I found myself messing around on a bone dry Cullin Ridge in a T-shirt.  Scotland, you got to love it!  Spring high pressure pushed in with an easterly airflow.  The west coast of Scotland becomes the most wanted place to be on the planet.  Skye seemed to be the fashionable place to be, so off I went!

The Cullin
Part 2 is written, but I need to keep my 4 week delay in publishing.

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