Sat 5th May - Mon 7th May, 2012
Ty Powdwr - Bank Holiday Meet
Present: Colin Maddison, Bob Kelly, Rob Clarke, Gareth Williams, Kevin Anderson, Alice Larkin, Michelle Harvie, Mark Garrod, Carolyn Mills, Andy Stratford, Steve Graham
Unforeseen circumstances having forestalled the scheduled meet, the baton of leadership was passed on and the venue moved to Ty Powdwr. So we must await a future occasion for the mysteries of James’ White Peak (or white knuckle) expedition to unfold.
After a tense week of high level Anglo/Welsh diplomacy over the security arrangements at the Blue Peris/Ty Powdwr border crossing it seemed UN intervention would be unnecessary. Heading down early on Friday afternoon all was well, so I set off about 2.30pm for Elidor Fawr. There were a few drops of rain as I skirted the quarries to the west, but it came to nothing so I carried on over the summit and on to Carnedd y Filiast. In the absence of a guide book, I took a punt on being able to descend a gully in the centre of the vast Atlantic Slabs and chose a likely looking line up a long rib to the left to give 600 feet or so of Mod/Diff climbing back to the summit.
Then on to the summit of Y Garn for fantastic views despite the cloud boiling up from the Ogwen side. From there it was down to Nant Peris where I was forced to contribute to the local economy and drink two pints in the Vaynol despite violent protest, before wandering back through the quarries in the fading light to arrive at the hut shortly after ten o’clock.
With the meet growing in number, Saturday dawned fine. Heading down through the woods to Llanberis, Bob and I caught the bus up the Pass to the Cromlech boulders from where we departed 9.30ish for Cyrn Las. Thus the meet leader lured an unsuspecting Hon Sec into territory previously not experienced on the pretence of alpine training; but, unperturbed by flakes of snow and the growing exposure, he followed his leader nobly up ‘Main Wall’ (HS 4b), pausing only for a short grunt in the chimney of pitch 3. Then with just the briefest of pauses to re-fuel on we went up the ‘Parson’s Nose’ (Diff) and the Clogwyn y Person Arete for more great views from Crib y Ddysgl, before winding our way home for another 10.00pm(ish) finish.
Meanwhile, over on Carreg Wastad, Kevin, on a weekend pass from the Hayfield Home for Elderly Gentlemen, was pursuing his weight loss programme and practicing benightment avoidance on ‘Wrinkle’ (VDiff) and ‘Skylon’ (HS 4b) supervised by Alice and Robert.
Over in the quarries Gareth and Carolyn, who rather impressively had joined us from Glasgow via Yorkshire, were enjoying the delights of the slate. After ‘Looning the Tube’ (E1 5a) and a couple of sport routes at F5a and F6b in Australia they worked their way down to the Rainbow Slab for Carolyn to lead ‘Bella Lugosi is Dead’ (E1 5b) and then on to the Vivian Quarry for Gareth to lead ‘Comes the Dervish’ (E3 5c) to complete an impressive day.
Just as Robert thought it was ‘tea o’clock’ Andy arrived on a short furlough to drag him off to the quarries to hold his ropes on ‘Seamstress’ (VS 4c) and ‘Seams the Same’ (E1 5b).
Sunday morning looked promising enough to send Bob and myself to Ogwen, whilst Andy, Gareth and Carolyn headed for Dinas Cromlech to meet Steve. ‘Hope’(VDiff) provided myself and Bob with three long and highly polished pitches on the Idwal Slabs, but plans to further our alpine training on the Holly Tree and Continuation Walls and on upward were curtailed by rapidly approaching rain. Driving back via the Pass we spotted the foursome by the road, having just completed their routes before the rain hit.
Carolyn and Gareth had swung leads on ‘Cemetery Gates’ (E1 5b, 4c), whilst Andy and Steve had done likewise on a combination of ’Dives’ and ‘Sabre Cut’ (VS 4b, 4b). The majority verdict was quality routes, but the ‘Gates‘ proved “too knobbly” for Gareth’s slate head that could not cope with the abundance of holds! Now, this may seem odd, but Gareth is a mathematician so let’s explain it in mathematical terms. It is all to do with the coefficient of infinite confusion or ‘c’, where c is the product of x (the number of holds), y (the space between them), z the size of the holds) and r (the radius of one’s reach), which is, of course, where pi (π) comes in. Anyway, to cut a long equation short, where ‘c’ is a low number (i.e. smooth and holdless – e.g. slate) all is simple and where ‘c’ is a high number (i.e. knobbly – e.g. the Gates) confusion reigns.
So to Pete’s to assess the situation, before an improvement in conditions took us to the Never Never Land area of the quarries and ‘Titan’ (F4+) and Fresh Air (F6a) for myself and Bob. More impressively, Carolyn led ‘Release the Kraken!’ (F6b+) and Steve led ‘Zeus’ (F6a+), before they also enjoyed ‘Fresh Air’.
A little further afield to the south Robert had joined Mark and Michelle for a walk along the excellent Nantle ridge. To the north the A55 sports climbing guide had led Kevin and Alice to explore Penmaen Head, which was pronounced a little dirty but worth the visit.
Sadly, Monday morning brought rain. Some opted to head homeward and Robert ventured out for a walk up to Marchlyn Mawr resevoir . But Gareth was restless so something traditional was called for and ‘Lockwood’s Chimney’ (Diff) seemed to fit the bill as wet weather fare. So off we went; the rain relented for a while and the route, surprisingly dry (disappointingly so), went without incident save for a temporarily in situ young lady ahead of us. Gareth led the chimney pitch, where it should be noted ‘c’ is a very low number indeed, the rock being as smooth as polished glass from the passage of innumerable squirming bodies.
As always, my thanks to those who came along. My apologies if I’ve missed any exploits.
James is unable to lead his White Peak expedition so we have a change of venue and a change of meet leader.
It’s a while since we packed Ty Powdwr out for a Bank Holiday so, whatever your vintage, get yourself down. It’s a fantastic hut and whether you are a mountaineer, crag rat, scrambler or walker there is loads to go at on its doorstep.
There is no particular objective, just come down and do what you fancy and share some good craich at the hut.
If it is dry enough I quite fancy the wings of Dinas Mot myself and maybe a visit to Craig yr Ysfa for a higher mountain crag day. But that’s just two of numerous options in the hills. Gogarth is just down the road for those that are up for sea cliffs and there is an abundance of quick drying slate within a few minute’s walk. Sports climbers could get themselves a copy of the A55 guide and clip a few shinnies on their way down or back.
The options for walking are too numerous to do justice to here, but what about Capel to the hut over the Glyders or a jaunt along the Nantlle Ridge away from the crowds. You might consider checking out some of the summits and paths you’re less familiar with in preparation for Bob Kelly’s Welsh ‘3s’ meet a bit later in the year.
I’ll be down at Ty Powdwr on the Friday evening and there for the whole weekend. I’m happy to offer suggestions on what you might do if you’re not so familiar with Snowdonia.
Come and join me.