Twenty Star North Wales Weekend

It was a dodgy forecast, but a Rucksack Club meet at Beudy (our hut in The Pass) is usually worth it for the social anyway – climbing is a bonus. As it happened, we managed a fair bit!

Most of the team headed up for The Cromlech (and between them ticked most of the plumb lines from Flying Buttress through Gates and The Corner to Left Wall – pictures courtesy of Steve):

Bill and I made a later start, and settled for the Grochan, as being less far to retreat in the event of a downpour…

Warming up on SS Special, E2, was possibly ill-advised, but reminded me what a stupendous route it is. Stunning line with three distinct tricky bits and a handy 40m ab back to the base. A few spots of rain, but we got away with it, but this inspired Bill to propose a 3* day – ticking all the classics at the left end of the crag.

Next up was Brant Direct, HVS “a brutal fight for those who can’t jam or bridge” – luckily it turns out that we can!

Spectre follows, and a cunning 55m link of the first two pitches means that Bill gets the final off-width (where have I heard that story before? The book says: “if you have planned ahead this is your mate’s lead”, but I swear it was a coincidence!)

We finished off with Phantom Rib and Nea, both 3/4 pitches and 60m of fun (and like all these routes, equipped with a convenient rap point – all in decent nic at the time of writing) making for an efficient high-yardage day: 5 routes, 250m and 15 stars (depending which book you read). The last of the showers was accompanied by an ominous darkening of the sky, and we took the hint with a sprint back to the hut before a major wetting. The Cromlech team pressed on with “just one more route” and suffered the inevitable drenching on Noah’s Warning (perhaps the clue was in the name…)

Sunday’s weather presented a conundrum – dry at first, but the occasional whif of 3G at the hut hinted at forecasted rain before noon. I put on my best “weather sage” face and persuaded a team to head for Gogarth, before facing an uncomfortable hour holed up at South Stack in Steve’s van as it absolutely lashed it down!

Tempers remained unfrayed, and my reputation untarnished as the weather gods eventually smiled – by 2pm it was cracking the flags. I thoroughly enjoyed introducing Chris and Sanjin to the delights of Gogarth climbing, with ascents of Rap and Lighthouse Arête

Whilst Steve and James did TMF

Before letting me tag along on Wendigo on Red Wall (very smooth lead by Steve!)

Another decent haul of stars (7 to 9 depending who you believe), pitches (8) and yards (200m). Forget the stats – you can sum the weekend up in one word: Memorable!

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