Best of North Wales (from Beudy Mawr – the Best Hut in North Wales!)

With a bit of a mixed forecast, Wales was looking like the best of a bad bunch for an extended weekend with Paul. As a bonus it meant we could show our faces at the annual maintenance (working) meet at Beudy Mawr; The Rucksack Club hut in The Pass. As an added added bonus, The Pass was closed for a triathlon, so we couldn’t actually get there until Saturday evening (honest!) Gale force winds and the road closure meant that a side-trip to Gogarth was the obvious way to amuse ourselves in the meantime.

Despite it blowing a hoolie on top, the base of Main Cliff was remarkably sheltered, and we had the place to ourselves…

… apart from the usual inquisitive seals.

Inspired by Martin and Stan’s account from last year’s Gogarth Meet, we settled on Devotee, a direct line immediately left of the eponymous Gogarth, at E2 5b, 5c, 5b, 5c. The first pitch is a bit balancy up the arete.

Pitch 2 has a really tough sequence through an innocuous looking initial steep wall (I resorted to weighting the gear to get a decent piece to avoid a possible impact on the belay ledge) followed by easier ground. Pitch 3 is a wild adventure through the AstroTurf, and Paul did a great job of unearthing the hidden holds and occasional gear placement.

Pitch 4 was actually familiar territory as I’d led it before, mistaking it for the final pitch of Gogarth (not once but twice – doh!)

Back down to the gearing-up spot, and the view down to sea was looking a bit sploshy.

… in any event, we didn’t have time for a second Main Cliff excursion, so we settled for Fail Safe, E2 5b, on the Upper Tier. Funky climbing on really interesting lumpy features – never very desperate but always insecure.

Another fab day on the best crag in the world!

Sunday dawned bright but breezy – the perfect weather to repaint the Beudy dining room… Job 1 – everything out…

Hut Warden Bill was conducting operations…

… with me taking the opportunity to double up repainting with a CAC T-shirt promo shoot…

… and Steve cracking the whip. It was soon transformed!

The rest of the crew departed around 4ish with the hut looking in tremendous shape, and Paul and I pondered options for amusing ourselves for the rest of the day. Craig Cwm Glas Bach looms over Beudy from the opposite side of the road and would catch the last of the evening rays – if there’d been any.

Ecover, E1 5b, is worthwhile route, with committing but fairly steady climbing between spaced gear.

Great views from the top down to The Pass and to Beudy

The Stebbing is excellent at E2 5b, and reasonably well protected after a mildly harrowing first 20ft (if you tackle the groove directly). The final barn-door move onto the arete at the top was quite exciting in the gusting wind though!

We bumped into 3 lads down from Glasgow who’d bailed to a week in Wales due to the poor forecast north of the border – thus banishing the lingering FOMO I’d had about my Scottish Hard Rock mission.

Paul polished off a productive evening with The Booze Brothers, E2 5c – technical moves up an open groove followed by a wild trip through the roof on generous holds. Talking of which, it was well past Beer O’clock!

… and the sun never did quiet make it…

Drizzly in The Pass the next day, so Gogarth called again. The Moon E3 5c has been described as “Only the Best Route in the World” and it had been a while since either of us had done it (the last occasion for me having been a spot of pre-breakfast Space Walking with Jake before the start of the 2013 Gogarth Meet.) It’s still totally outstanding!

As Paul quested off on P2, a couple of the Red Arrows did a fly past in tight formation, before disappearing into the clouds.

The sound of the rest of the squadron filtered through over the next half hour, but we had to content ourselves with the aerobatics of the Razorbills and Guillimots. Pretty decent stand-ins.

As I rounded the corner to start the downclimb and final traverse to the P2 stance (it’s just as committing for the second as for the leader) I wondered why I hadn’t remembered the hanging belay. Turns out that the original stance is somewhere in the sea below following the rockfall that also took out the top pitch of Creeping Lema.

P3 seemed harder than I’d remembered it (perhaps for the same reason)

… but we were soon topping out reflecting on another great adventure on Yellow Wall.

North West Passage gets a mention as a contender for the best E1 pitch in Wales (a crowded field). Fun climbing to the halfway ledge…

… is followed by a wild weaving voyage making the most of the superb rock architecture (I’d done it a few times before but this might have been the first time I actually followed the right line!)

Meanwhile, Red Wall will have to wait for a couple of months yet…

Back for beers outside Beudy and a stunning evening

Perhaps we’d chosen the wrong day for our visit to Craig Cwm Glas Bach…

For the final day of our tour we decided to stay in The Pass despite the hint of drizzle. The overcast conditions meant that the wouldn’t be missing much climbing on the shady south side, and we were optimistic that the long dry spell would make for decent conditions on Dinas Mot.

Nexus is another contender for the “Best E1” tag and there’s certainly plenty of it. The gritstonesque crux layback around the roof of P1 feels quite committing

… and the hand traverse on P3 feels really quite urgent!

Just time for one final “Best E1” candidate – Super Direct on The Mot has two highly contrasting pitches (once you’ve navigated the initial sandbag P1).

P2 is super thin slab climbing with only just enough gear…

… whilst P3 is a steep, well-protected thrutch:

Both Fab – what a day! And the answer is… A three-way tie. All three routes are excellent but utterly different – a testament to the variety of climbing on offer within 45mins of Beudy (and that’s before you factor in Cloggy, not to mention The Slate, Pen Trewyn and Tremadog). Aren’t we blessed!

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