Monday, 21 May 2007

Perplexion, shadows and Wallabies

Saturday morning I sliced a malt loaf, packed my climbing gear into the car, kissed goodbye to Caroline as she went off to the track for a hard training session and I hit the road for Anglesey. Kev, Rob and Squib were over for some Gogarth action – it was going to be the first trad weekend of the year. I made it to Nigel’s new place (a class little stone cottage in the countryside) for around midday and met the lads. The weather looked very mixed with some big swells and clouds aplenty. Somehow after half an hour or so of faffing we ended up going towards the Dinorwig slate quarries, in the middle of deepest, darkest Snowdonia – complete with heavy, black, laden looking clouds. Go Figure!

Thats Snowdon in the background obscured by cloud

I have never actually climbed on slate before so was letting morbid curiosity get the better of me – I was looking forward to seeing the place more than anything. Nigel gave us the tour and we ended up climbing a few routes in the Serengeti area before heading down to Vivian Quarry to see the enticingly named Colossus wall. At the first area I managed a nice E2 warm-up followed by a neighbouring E5 6c – now retro bolted. Was happy with being able to pull a British 6c move off on slate during my first visit but it was a sign of the technique that would be needed on every route here – precise footwork, balance and tiny holds – Have I ever mentioned that I hate slabs??? Well I do! Uggghh!! But climbing is climbing and I had fun. Next I did another slab – this time just for it’s name – “Watch Me Wallaby Wank Frank” was a thin E4 6a slab that I seem to have forgotten already. Good name though isn’t it?

Watch me Wallabie Wank Frank

Next we headed down into Vivian Quarry to seek out the colossus wall as me and Kev couldn't stand the sight of any more gay slabs! Unfortunately there was a couple of wet streaks down this but a steep complicated looking E4 beside it, “Jack of Shadows”, looked game so we tried that. Kev was first up and he got stomped at the first crux. A bizarre sequence around a strange slate hanging arête, into a bottomless groove. Perplexing! I get on the sharp end and manage to onsight it but have to admit I didn’t have much left in the arms by the top! A classic 50/50 moment above the last bolt when I found myself in a strange position, feet on slopers, right hand on a big undercut near my knee and left hand equally low on an edge – I then swapped my left hand for my left foot and had to slap at full extension for a flat slate edge – the top! Thwack! … a satisfying little chalk cloud as I stick the unknown. “Didn’t like the look of the big obvious crimprail out right then?” shouts up kev laughing – Doh! Had the blinkers on and was aiming for the top!

Contemplating moving around the frictionless arete...

We tidy up some neighbouring E2’s and 3’s while Squib (slabmaster) took rob around to do Poetry Pink E4 6a.

Squib on Poetry Pink

A good day out – and I even managed to place a few wired too!

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