Another dodgy forecast prompted the first visit of the year to the hallowed crags of Holyhead for guaranteed sunshine, which duly greeted us as we crossed the Menai Straits. Lucky with the weather, but not so with the tide, which was at its high point, making the routes on Main Cliff impossible to access for a few hours…. unless you deploy an express elevator!
This approach, via a 90m abseil from blocks directly above Scavenger (one long rope or 2x50s knotted from roughly here:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=53.3188549,-4.6802069), allows access to the routes at the left hand end of Main Cliff at all states of tide (although you’ll need to skip some or all of the first pitch at high tide) and avoids the huge rambling approach and descent. Pioneered by Andy and Stan at last years Gogarth meet, this has the added benefit of enabling multiple routes to be done in a day.
First on the agenda is Nightride, an E1 that thinks it’s an E2. Pumpy climbing up to a spectacular position on a hanging arête.
Back down for the main event – The Assassin. Here’s Andy seconding pitch 1
…and contemplating the crux, solid E3, on the steep wall on “flatties” on pitch 2,
and worth 3* for the stance after pitch 1
For the desert course we went back for Heroine, another E1 that wouldn’t be out of place with a higher grade (especially when climbed as one huge pitch). This takes the ominous looking chimney in the shot below, with a bit of everything – jamming, bridging, back and footing… All very traditional, with something of a heart stopping move left above the void. You can just about see Andy grappling with the dampness in the depths below.
Much more appealing was the route up the face to the right – where the lad with the orange hat is. Rather than a cheese course, we popped down for Dream Seller, a really good E1 to finish the day.
Topping out around 8.30pm as the sun was setting, with 4 Main Cliff routes under our belts, we reflected that we’d probably made the most of another grand day at Gogarth 🙂