Monday, February 11, 2008

Welsh Onslaught!

God, I ache! Absolutely spot on weather and some serious motivation made for an amazingly action packed weekend and I feel knackered...



Saturday dawned smelly from the Chaumes cheese in my rucksack, sitting next to the hot water tank and by 06:30 we were, aigain, assaulting our senses and getting headaches from the leaking exhaust fumes of my car as we sped to North Wales. We tooled up and set off for the Cneifon Arete, starting below it in Cwm Idwal, going up the greasy Idwal Staircase before breaking left at the top part of the Idwal Slabs, continuing on one of the 'diff' routes where we got the rope out for on spicy move!



Next, it was on to the Cneifon Arete (I finally got to wear my new helmet, on this severe Alpine excursion!!! Not.) and I lead the first pitch with a few runners which really wasn't that bad except for the random route I'd taken to avoid some other climbers. The deviation produced an exposed traverse for which I and Rich after me, was glad to have had the rope on - it made me feel better with Daryl's hand not up to strength, too. It should be noted that he did admirably well and much better we'd expected with all we encountered. After this first pitch, we progressed up the Arete, moving together off the rope and it was great to have some exposure with some more difficult moves towards the top section where you really felt that you were suspended above Cwm Cneifon and got an amazing view of the Llyns and Pen Yr Ole Wen.

After a hearty slap on the back and big grins, we headed off down Y Gribin towards Idwal Cottage, where my haste got the better of me and I underestimated the drop down off a boulder and tore the crotch clean out of my trousers as I went, much to the amusement of the others and shock off all other walking parties we then encountered!

Time was now against us as we got into the car and drove back along the A5 to park below Cwm Tryfan, change bags and 'race' back up to the Llyns to the east of Tryfan for our wild camp. Never has a walk up been so labored with heavy packs and our feet were seriously dragging, but with a burst of motivation from Sir Ranaulph Finter and the knowledge that we could eat and rest on arrival, we fair monstered the 600m or so to the top in 1hr20! We found a stunning site that wasn't too boggy and pitched up, got the down bags out and made a well deserved boil in the bag meal... After some hot toddy and a few rounds of Mared Tete we turned in at 8:30 ish under a beutiful starry sky.



Sunday was cold and we took our time to enjoy our surroundings and get going, heading back down past the crowds at Alphabet Slab, where we'd thought about spending our day, but it was too busy, so out with the scrambling book and plans were made for the east ridge up Y Garn from Cwm Idwal. It has to be said that this was another corker, with some good exposure and some worrying moments, especially when you realise the body sized piece of undercut rock your pulling on is loose!! However, all was ok and we moved quite confidently, topping out about an hour and a half after we started. We enjoyed the view and snow on the top of Y Garn, then headed off to join the traffic jam back to England.


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