This week has been a bout of disappointment. At first I missed out on a night climb of Torpantau falls in South Wales with Tim, which turned out to be a blessing any way as he didn't even reach the falls. And secondly, Chris had to work at the weekend and Tim was already in Wales, so no climbing partners were free. So, I posted on UKC for a partner, with the slim chance that someone would answer.
At roughly 19:32 on Friday night, whilst I was at a cadet parade night, I checked UKC on the off chance that someone had answered my post. And with luck, someone had! A guy called Ben. I jumped at the chance, rang him, and by 21:30, I was on the road to North Wales. This drive turned out to be THE worst drive off my life! Snow + Motorway do not mix. At 03:30 in the morning, I pulled up behind a camper van which matched the description of Bens's, and fell asleep.
|Andy on the first pitch of The Ramp|
|Andy leading the Ramp|
|Queing up for the route|
We descended back down and came to the foot of The Devils Pasture (III) which was the scene of an accident last week. Next in stall was Central Route (III 3). I took the lead on this one. The ice was hollow and brittle, thin in places and poor. My first screw ground out half way, so I tied it off. My second screw wouldn't go. And so, I ran it out. The belays were hard to find, and on the first pitch I couldn't find it all together. So I ran the first 2 pitches into one, but only got half way through the second pitch before the rope ran out. There was no good belay spots below, so I just had to make do with the position I was in. All I could manage was the use of my axes and their clipper leashes, and one stubby 10cm screw which ground out at 7cm. Never the less, I equalised the anchors and gave them a testing pull. Hmmmm.... Upon doing this, one of the axes sawed it's way through the ice! Re-adjusting the placement and the belay was finally secure enough to bring up the other 2.
|Me on the Belay of Central Route|
|My poor anchor|
|Me and Ben at the belay|
The weather had started to move in on the final ascent up the snow slope, and by the time we were back in the valley, large chunks of ice were falling off all the major ice routes. The thaw was in full swing. At this point, we abandoned doing the Idwal Stream, and made haste to Pete's Eats in Llanberis.
And now for a story of coincidence. Whilst in Pete's, I had a text from Tim saying that it was a good job that I didn't come up as the conditions were crap. At this point I had mentioned that I was in fact, up there. to cut a long story short, we were both in Idwal, both climbed the same routes, and had even slept in the same lay by. Yet, still hadn't crossed paths. I gave him a lift back to Taunton and even found out that I had taken a picture of his mate climbing with him just below! Small world.
|Ques on The Ramp|