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Way back in time before the onset of adulthood I enjoyed countless days heading into the hills of Yorkshire with nothing more than a squashed sandwich & youthful sense for adventure! Despite long past youthful and work commitments keeping me in the city, the sense of adventure and love for the outdoors never left me. After digging my boots out and returning to the hills I attended a number of courses to improve my hill knowledge and skill base, during one of these courses it was suggested I join the Mountain Leader Training scheme and was delighted go on to gain the MOUNTAIN LEADER Award in April 2012. As well as spending time on the hills and mountains of the UK I have also enjoyed trips to the Nepalese Himalaya, Swiss & French Alps, Mallorca’s Tramuntana, Andorran & French Pyrenees, Morocco’s High Atlas, Tanzania’s Mt Meru & Kilimanjaro, Argentinian & Chilean Patagonia and winter expeditions to Norway’s Hardangervidda. Since gaining the ML I have also gained the SINGLE PITCH AWARD, INTERNATIONAL MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD and the WINTER MOUNTAIN LEADER AWARD. I am now enjoying working in a freelance role whilst trying to get out climbing as much as possible.

Monday, 13 June 2016

North Wales Climbing & Gardening!

Monday 23rd to Thursday 26th May.
A couple of weeks ago (been lazy and neglected my blog 😔) I spent a few days in North Wales climbing and catching up with Rob Gurr of Summit Adventures, Stephen Hobdell of Steve Hobdell Mountain Adventures and John Deakin who chops wood for the Queen!!
Monday - and after being far too optimistic about the M62 traffic I arrived late (early evening) in the Ogwen Valley to catch up with Rob & Stephen.
They were climbing on 'Bochlwyd Buttress' which is just a fifteen minute walk in from the car park. It also catches the afternoon sun though is fairly Baltic at all other times it seems!
It was good to catch up with Stephen who I met a couple of years ago whilst shadowing Rob Johnson on a winter skills course, we had also spent a damp cold day at Stanage last May which felt like another winter day!
 Having just sat in traffic for nearly four hours and having had to spend cash at 'Joe Brown's' on another climbing helmet (left mine on the kitchen table!) I was happy enough to second routes whilst Rob & Stephen led.
Tuesday - myself and Rob had decided to spend the day climbing at Tremadog and met at Eric's cafe. I had spent the night sleeping in the back of the car (it's part of the climbing apprenticeship) and had woken early as Eric came to make sure I was going to pay the £6 fee without driving off!
Having already climbed here a number of times, leading some lower grades and seconding some higher graded routes, I was keen to get a couple of the well known routes ticked off.
We spent the day battling with midges whilst climbing 'The Brothers (VS 4c**), 'Shadrach (VS 4c**) and 'One Step In The Clouds (VS 4c***), with the latter route having the added pressure of a small roadside audience during the top pitch!
Midge Protection
Wednesday - and I had the day to myself as I wouldn't be meeting Rob until late afternoon due him having work that day, bit inconsiderate in my opinion!
We went to Australia Quarry above Llanberis to climb some slate sport routes at 'The Sidings'.
At this time of writing the blog I do not have the routes we climbed to hand but just to say it was disappointing to be struggling on lower grades routes first climbed by an 11year and 7year old brother and sister! 😔
The reoccurring comment was 'bloody kids' and we weren't too disappointed when it started to rain.
More practice on slate is needed!

Thursday - and myself and Rob met up with John Deakin who had driven up for the day.
Meeting at Siabod Cafe in Capel Curig we had originally planned to climb in Llanberis pass but the weather was looking doubtful and with John only having the one day we opted for another trip to Tremadog which tends to get less rainfall than the mountain crags.

We again went to the popular Craig Bwich y Moch at Tramadog, again it was extremely popular with the dreaded midges!
 We first climbed 'Grim Wall' (VS 4c**) and concentrated on our rope work, gear placement, bringing seconds up in parallel and adseiling. This was more a result of us being joined on the crag by a couple of groups who were on their British Mountain Guide assessment and we didn't want to look like amateurs....!

We (John) decided we would climb 'Clapton's Crack (VS 4c*) after lunch and off on an adventure we went!
Finding the start of the route through the under growth was a turned into a gardening mission and then there was the scramble to the route base proper whilst carrying ropes and rack.
To be fair the first pitch of the route was very good with bridging moves whilst going up a corner crack and nearly made up for the under growth scratches and cuts getting up to it!

The second pitch was covered in undergrowth for the most part but was fairly simple climbing though quite exposed.
I think the route might benefit from being climbed more regularly to keep the shrubbery down and the scramble up to the route less 'green'.
I know will carry a life long scar on my shin to remember the nature trail to the route by but I wouldn't hold John in any way responsible due his choice of route, it's not as though there are many great routes at Tremadog to choose from...! 😉
After the route John had to leave to make his way back 'down South' (where ever that is!) so Rob and myself went up to Bus Stop Quarry where I led 'Equinox' (VS 4c**) and my first trad route on slate.
Unfortunately we have no pictures of this as most of the time our attention was on a guy climbing a 7b sport route at the side of us who seemed to be holding on to thin air! Pretty impressive to watch though also slightly depressing given our performance at 'The Sidings' the evening before.

Summary - a good few days better spent out climbing than wasted doing something like working or alike!
I was happy to tick some classic routes and felt happy with my climbing.

It was also good to catch up with Rob, John and Stephen who all share my love of all things mountain!

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