Clogwyn Du’r Arddu, to give it its proper name, is one of my “Top 5 crags in the world” (the others being Gogarth, El Cap, Hobby and a fickle AN Other, depending on where I last had a great time!) Stuck high on the northern flank of Snowdon, it rarely comes into condition, and even in a drought and with blue skies overhead, it looms ominously as it gradually comes into view as you toil up the Llanberis Path – more so on a claggy day like today, as wisps of cloud swirl round the Llyn.
The path is thronging with day trippers despite the earlyish hour, until you arrive at the spot where the old miner’s track heads off. There ought to be a sign: “punters keep left – only special people allowed beyond this point.”
I’d been itching to get on Cloggy ever since the dry spell started, but had been distracted by the lure of Northern Scotland and various other commitments. Andy and Stan were easily persuaded, despite the iffy forecast, and we spent much of the two hour car journey trying to identify a quality route that none of us had done. We settled on Daurigol, a fine 3 pitch E3 up a series of grooves that bound the left hand side of Great Wall. I was nursing a dodgy back so baggsied the first, easier, pitch – a slightly dirty groove to a break followed by a tough swing rightwards onto a small quartzy ledge and another thin groove to an airy belay. Slightly damp in the clag and a timely reminder that these were good conditions for Cloggy (ie a north facing mountain crag at close to 3,000ft). Here’s Andy and Stan following the pitch.
Stan set off up the second pitch – a smooth and awkward right hand groove which gradually peters out forcing a tricky step left into a steeper and more awkward second groove. Plenty of tricky moves justifying a 6a in some guides, but with generally good gear. Good lead!
Andy strung a couple of exit pitches together (the first one, a 4c shared with Diglyph, is well worth doing)
After a bit of lunch, Andy picked the ominous sounding Mordor for his next objective – a single pitch E4 6a at the right hand end of East Buttress.
I’d done it a couple of times before, but not for 20 years, and rememberd it as a long but steady, if slightly worryingly protected lead, up a striking crack that didn’t actually yield many cracky holds. I’d forgotten the tough overlap at about 10m and the slightly tenuous thin laybacks and smears higher up, but none of these presented Andy with any problems of course.
Great pitch, tougher than I recalled, and a very fine lead (I must have been going well back in the day!)
Great to get a Cloggy fix (my first in 4 years), but time to bid au revoir before heading back down to Llanberis for a late tea in Pete’s Eats.