Summer Bank Holiday: Ty Powdwr
Ty Powdwr Bank Holiday BBQ meet 27th – 29th August 2021
Members: Gareth Williams, Lucie Williams, Andy Stratford, Jo Stratford, Dave Wylie, Catherine Machalinski, Lester Payne, Rory Marsden, Emily Pitts (BBQ only)
Prospective Members: Caroline Gay, Harry Potts
Guests: Oliver Machalinski, Nicole Machalinski, Henry the dog.
Bank holiday traffic affected most people’s journeys except Lester whose eco mode of transport was originally going to involve a train from Cartmel to Chester and a major bike ride. However, he declared that he had cycled from Cartmel to Carnforth then a train to Preston and from there cycled all the way to Ty Powdwr! Lester said he left home at 9.30 ish and we were at TP when he cycled in at about 8 p.m. – Via A49 to Warrington, then A556 and A54, A51 Chester, Broughton, Corwen, A5 to Capel, Pen y Gwryd, Llanberis Pass, Nant Peris and up through the quarries to the hut - a total distance of about 155 miles excluding the train journey. It is a mind-boggling average of 15.5 mph (25kph). The route took in 7,000 ft of ascent with a considerable weight of luggage strapped to the bike.
Being a little tired from the previous days exertions Lester’s Saturday ride was a little shorter, down the Fach Wen Road, Llanrug and through the lanes to Wanfawr then along past Lyn Cwllyn to Rydd ddu then over to Emily Pitts new place at Talysarn. Caroline explored the lanes and bridleways on her mountain bike for about six hours in a good 60k effort.
Meanwhile over on Dinas Mot, Andy and Rory opted for the four pitch Direct Route (VS 5b). Rory despatched the first pitch with ease; On the belay Andy was handed two hexes and four cams (two of which were the same size) followed by a karabiner with seven nuts.
‘’Can I have the other one’’? Andy said, expecting another karabiner overflowing with a multitude of nuts.
‘’Nope. That’s it, why is it not enough for you?!’’
On investigation it was revealed the sizes were a 11,10, 8, 5, 5, 1, ½. With the No8 in the first belay, and the No1. being placed almost immediately it meant finding two perfect slots for the number 5’s was the trick to a marginally better protected pitch!
The final pitch starts with a desperate 5b move straight off a ledge, often described as ‘’requiring the use of a shoulder’’, but none was required as Andy delicately balanced up and into the more straightforward flake cracks above. A fantastic finishing pitch.
Gareth and Harry tackled The Cracks (HS 4b), following another party which they soon caught, and, after heading a little off route on the final pitch, the leader, an older chap, took a potentially nasty fall, inverting and banging his arm badly. After checking him out, Gareth felt that he seemed OK to climb on, but not to lead, so Gareth led the pitch and brought up the older chap and his young female climbing partner, both of whom were from the Lincoln club which has a hut just round the corner from Ty Powdwr in Deniolen.
The descent is a 40 m abseil, and unfortunately the leader then had a tumble on the final section, this time banging his back. Andy and Rory helped carry his rack down to the sacks then we carried his sac off and helped both him and his climbing partner back to the car parked in the layby directly below. He was still in some pain, so Gareth advised a trip to Bangor A&E to get checked out, and when we messaged the young woman on Sunday, he was being kept in until Tuesday, awaiting results of scans.
Catherine, Oliver, Nicole climbed Moel Hebog then went for a swim followed by a spot of retail therapy in the Llanberis gear shops. Whilst Jo chilled out at Ty Powdwr Dave Wylie and Lucie took Henry for a long walk up Moel Elio, in an attempt to reduce some of that young spaniel energy.
It was a fine evening for a BBQ, and we had a great spread with many members bringing food to share; particular highlights were the Tiramisu and Greek salad made by Lucie and a lovely set of chocolate courgette muffins by Jo. Eventually a midge invasion and darkness called a halt to the outdoor proceedings, but not before Henry, despite being on the lead, had managed a raid on some of the chicken!
Saturday was another fine day, and two climbing teams shared Rory’s car down to the Moelwyns for a day out on the lovely sunny crag of Clogwyn yr Oen.
Rory’s rack grew some small cams (on loan from Andy) and a proper set and a half of nuts (from Caroline) rather than the oddments of yesterday. After leading Caroline up all four pitches on Chic (S 4a), even Rory said he was glad of the smaller cams and nuts on the compact, pocketed volcanic rock. Dave Wylie opted to be third man photographer on a rope of three with Andy and Harry swinging leads – Harry on his first multipitch leads. The trio completed Slack (VD, 4 pitches) and Bent (S 4a, 4 pitches) and Rory made a fine lead of all four pitches of Slack (S 4a).
On Sunday’s beautiful sunset evening there was yet more BBQ action and a concerted effort to finish the previous nights left overs, which we just about managed.
Just before 8am on Monday, Rory, Caroline, and Harry left to catch the bus up the pass, with a mission to be one of the first teams on Flying Buttress (6 pitches, V Diff) on Dinas Cromlech – one of the ‘classic rock’ ticks. Rory and Harry swopped leads and were glad to be up early – only one team ahead, but plenty following!
Andy and Gareth opted for a day out on Cloggy, walking the 8.5km from the hut then a short scramble using the lower part of eastern terrace to arrive at the base of the 2nd pitch of the five pitch Longlands Climb, VS 4c. Andy opted for pitches 2 and 4 so Gareth could lead pitch 5 (4c, Crux), however the first moves off the deck on P2 were tenuous, unprotectable and possibly the harshest 20ft of the day! The rest of the route passed in fine Cloggy style – spaced gear, loose rock, plenty of vegetation – but also that unique feeling of existing for 2 and half hours of absorbing climbing in a very special place that few people will ever get to – enhanced all the more by the circus of the Llanberis Path and the trains just 1000 metres away!
It was a fine weekend of climbing, food, and good company. Thanks to all who came.