October 5, 2009

Ouch what a busy few weeks! All non-climbing, unfortunately. Briefly, I have run a couple of races (12.5K and a half-marathon; post to follow) and moved into the new house.

The sun is currently beating down in Bangor, so hopefully I can get out soon. Hopefully.


Cwm Glas Bach

September 11, 2009

Cwm Glas 005

Another evening exploring in the Pass.  The Cromlech boulders were busy and I wasn’t feeling strong enough to show off, having done a 17km run during the day.  By show off I mean fall off a V1.  I parked at the Grochan layby and crossed over the river to head up to the CC’s Cwm Glas hut.  From there a faint path leads up to the crags of Cwm Glas Bach – The Gravestones and Clogwyn Llo etc.

There are some nice routes up there – nice and short and on very clean rock.  It’s still quite damp on that side, although there were people climbing on the North side of the Pass.  It would be worth a trip to Cwm Glas to get a few climbs under the belt, and to have a look at a few harder routes too.


Ring ouzels

September 9, 2009

On Monday I went into the Pass on a still evening between days of rain. I drove to Pen y Pass and walked up the P-y-G track for a couple of kilometers. Where the path steepens it is possible to drop down to the right and walk over a boggy area back towards the floor of the valley. If you get the line right you come to a small crag called Clogwyn Gafr.

Clogwyn-y-Gafr 003a

The crag is small and has only a handful of lines on it. The best known are an E1 called Diapason and an E5 called The Nectarine Run, both of which go over the main roof. I went to look at a few easy (Diff-Severe) routes on the left of the crag, which would be quite nice to solo. The routes were all wet – the crag takes a lot of drainage from the marshy areas above, so need a few days to dry. However the easier routes look fairly amenable for soloing. They are all to the left of the overhang, with one taking the rampline just below, and the others further to the left. The crag has a fantastic position high up in the Pass with a view of the cliffs on the North side.

Clogwyn-y-Gafr 032a

The crag is the home of a family of ring ouzels, who were flying around the base and perching on the top and around the high rocks.  The ouzel looks like a blackbird, but has a silvery bib around its neck.  Its voice is harsher – a sharp chack rather than the blackbird’s range of songs and calls.  I saw up to six at a time, but they seemed to move around in pairs (like the pair in the picture).

I stayed with them until the light started to fade, then headed back to the car at Pen y Pass.


Cromlech, not bouldering

September 7, 2009

On Friday I finished working in the house and had some time to spare so I headed up the Pass again to the Cromlech boulders.  Although the weather in the village was dry, climbing into the Pass must have crossed a dew point and the air was heavy and there was a wind blowing.  There was a thick cloud layer sitting below the surrounding summits and filling the gaps between the crags.

The light though was fantastic.  The sun was setting in the valley and was uplighting the clouds with an orange glow.  The reflected light was picking out the crags and the ghostly mist in the high gaps and was soft against the hard aretes of Dinas Cromlech.  Despite the wind the floor of the Pass was calm and the river quick but not rushing.  Silver rivulets from the gullies were bright against the dark slopes.  It felt very still.

I stayed in the Pass until it was too cold and the sun moved round and hid the light.  In the car the golden cloud faded to blue then to grey in the mirrors.  Leaving the Pass the sunset opened out across Anglesey and it too faded to a bright glow over Holyhead and Cemaes Bay.


More Cromlech bouldering

September 4, 2009

Squeezed in a quick boulder last night, in between working in work and working in the house.  It was the first time for WEEKS that it wasn’t raining.  There was a strong cold wind blowing down the Pass which made all but the deepest cracks and pockets quite dry.  There was a huge amount of water pouring down from the crags, and Dinas Cromlech itself seemed very wet on most of the faces.

I did five named problems on the Central boulders, up to V0+.  The ground was a bit too wet to go further than the main little face, but it would be good to explore the boulders behind that one too.

Next time I should try the front face of the Roadside boulder, or go up to Pont y Gromlech and do stuff on the white slabs.


August in (miserable) figures

September 4, 2009

Well, that was fun.

After a good start (haha), the end of August turned into a complete washout, with continuous rain for a fortnight. Most evenings were spent watching the rain thudding on the windows, eating chips.

In the month of August (since the start of my challenge) I managed ONE route indoors…

And SIX boulder problems outdoors…

Impressive, no?

Goals for September will be

  • Do some actual routes
  • Go to the wall more. Or rather, some.

Also, boulder a bit more outdoors – I’m not sure quite what my limit is as I never push it (and don’t have a mat).


Cromlech bouldering

August 24, 2009

Went to the Cromlech boulders on Saturday. It was sunny all day in Llanberis, but the Pass was breezy and only just warm. I wasn’t there for long, and only did a few easy routes at the back of the main (Roadside) boulder. It was good just to be out there though, and I got chatting to some kids from an outdoor college who’d come up for the weekend. I hope they got plenty done on Saturday – yesterday was a vile day.