The Spring has truly begun. There are leaves on the trees, there is blue on the sky and there is chalk on the rock.
Come Easter weekend the sun was shining! Unfortunately this meant that Snowdonia suddenly got very very busy, so we retreated to bus-stop quarry to climb somewhere less crowded. This led to a session on Beltane – a wicked powerful 7b. It was very much a team effort working the route out, and it requires some fantastic big moves from the leader. Ed even managed a cheeky last-try redpoint! I’ll be back for mine soon…
The following day – with the sun out and so much daylight that we felt spoilt – it was time to see off some wishlist ticks. Running off Easter holiday psyche, we both jumped on routes we’d wanted to do for ages, but had always been able to find excuses not to do.
“you look smug”
Sitting on the rocks in the river below the Cromlech, Edmund observed the grin that had been stretched across my face since topping out Left Wall. The guide is right, it really does defy superlatives. I could wax lycrical for hours, or describe every move in the notes section of UKC, but theres no real point. For me it was very special, i enjoyed every moment, every move, with a very simple mantra, born of advice Edmund had given me, in mind.
‘Climb efficiently and make use of all rests’
I myself went for a route I had a fallen in love with at first sight: Cracking Up.
I’d first seen this lightning bolt crack on an evening run through Gideon quarries, during my first week in Llanberis. It is the absolute definition of striking, a jagged split through two huge blocks of slate, as though struck through the slate by THE MIGHTY ZEUS HIMSELF.
That may be a little dramatic, but I think its a beautiful line, and I was absolutely convinced I wouldn’t onsight it.
The crux is contained in the lowest parts of the crack – getting off the floor. It starts out as frictionless ring locks with no hope of any real assistance from your feet, until it widens up into hands and fists. The inside of the crack is so clean, you can’t hide away from the jams required to climb it. Despite Stefan and Ed telling me I was ‘boshing’ it out, I must admit I was crapping my pants to begin with. It all just felt so improbable, squeezing friction out of this glassy rock – I was expecting to be spat out at any moment. But as I passed through Blue #5 cam territory and onto the first ledge I was on a total hype. This was type 1 climbing, all the jams had felt surprisingly solid!
I stood at the top for a moment and soaked in the feeling – I had been so prepared to be beaten by this crack, I had packed it out as my ‘crack climbing goal for the year’. And I’d just onsighted it! Guess that leaves me 4 months to try something harder then… The Dinorwig unconquerable perhaps?