Back on Hallowed Ground – First Gogarth Trip in 18 months!

It goes without saying that the interruption of my climbing exploits is pretty small beer in amongst the tragedy and tumult of the last year. However, the fact that 2020 marked the first year of the 21st century when I didn’t climb at Gogarth is another tiny illustration of how the world was turned on its head. Not that the pandemic stopped us holding the Gogarth Meet of course – we just couldn’t do it on Anglesey (or indeed anywhere outside Zoom in groups of more than 6, in line with the prevailing guidance)

Anyway, with Wales opening its borders last week it didn’t take much persuasion to line up fellow Devotee Stan for a flyer to visit the hallowed ground. Stan scoured the guidebook to come up with the ideal objective: Peep Show, E1 5b, and Jaborandi, E2 5b/c, were two Main Cliff routes that neither of us had done, and both could be combined with an improvised mid-height lower-off for a double dip trip.

Just seeing the sea after 6 months was worth the drive across Wales:

… and we were amazed to find we had the whole place to ourselves – we didn’t see another climber all day!

The tide was on the rise as we made the traverse of the base of Main Cliff, but millpond seas removed any tension.

Peepshow is a direct line through the territory that Pentathol zags around

The first stance was already occupied…

… so Stan avoided the potential confrontation and settled in around the corner, out of puking range.

A cunning traverse above the cormorant enabled the original line to be rejoined and then a few slightly crumbly moves brought a cluster of rotting tat and decaying krabs – which I presumed to be the belay (though actually this turned out to have been another 5m higher.)

Peepshow now joins with Jaborandi, so for the “double bubble” you can rap from here (leaving some kit to retrieve later – note to future ascentionists: bring a couple of meters of old rope, a maillon and a knife and you could do a great tidy up service to humanity).

Jaborandi is a tougher proposition, with a notable crux on pitch 1; reaching and passing an “ear” flake – obvious when you see it.

Pitch 2 is that rare thing – whatever the opposite of a sandbag is – given 5b/c in the guide, it’s a pretty straightforward rock-over to cross into the corner.

This is where you rejoin Peepshow for a final 5b pitch which you would assume to be straightforward as it’s shared with the E1. Actually it’s in-your-face from the get-go, with a bulge to surmount followed by steep pulls on slightly rattly layaways and a tough step left around another bulge. Well worth E2 in its own right.

The usual tramp through a bountiful vertical garden follows…

… and the end to another fab day on the Best Crag In The World!

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