Tuesday, 3 May 2011

North Wales by Jen Wilby

Day 1: Fri 29th April

North Wales Bouldering, I’ve had the guidebook for nearly a year and heard rumours of holds, actual holds. After many trips to the Peak District making my main bouldering fix – it was the dreams of the holds which kept me awake on Thursday night. Jumping up at 4.30am, too excited to sleep, I picked up the crew and we were pitching the tents by lunch time.

Our first stop was the Ogwen Valley at the Orion Boulder which did not disappoint. Completing a few easier problems before completing the 3 star Seren which goes at V4.
We then headed down into the Bogside Boulder to complete a 2 star V4 (Problem No 2). The weather could not have been any more perfect, we had sun and a slight breeze, so we headed up to the Clogwyn y Tarw Left Hand where I sent “Here comes Cadi” V6 – a highly recommended problem which goes across a steep prow.

Day 2: Sat 30th April

That perfect weather which consisted of a “slight breeze” turned into a full blown gale that evening. So filled with a lot of strong black coffee, we headed up to the Utopia boulder in the Pass.
First stop was a 2 star V4 called “Utopia Central” followed by a trip to the Wavelength to complete “The Shelf” V3 and “The Groove” V4 – a technical gem! The moment of the day has to go to Kev “Noon” Tuffen, one of the gifted few who has on-sighted “Lord of the Flies”, who spend some time trying to top out a V0, to then go and dispatch at V5 rapidly! We then headed to the much photographed V4 classic “Boysens Groove”, after a tentative start and a jump to the top it was sent.

Boysens Groove

The Wavelength Upper Satellites had “Arse Soul” a 2 star V6 which involved a large slap to a boss then onto the arête. After slapping to the boss and stopping just short I managed to find some grip to go again for the boss. I love North Wales!

Arse Souls V6

Day 3: Sun 1st May

Tired! Anoither gale force wind that evening so today we needed a good solid warm up! We headed to the Ogwen Valley to Crasseg Fraith which had about 6 lower grade problems which were a delight to warm up on. One of which included a 3 star V3 called “Casseg Fraith Arete”, an excellent problem! I then spotted “Ogwen Jazz” V5, which had a powerful sit down start to a steep arête with a slopey mantel to finish. Sounded delightful and was not disappointed. Right of this was “Skunk X” at V6, which involved another powerful start to a sloper, then crimp with a jump to the top. After watching one of the guys send it with ease, I tried to follow. Note to self- never use tall, strong guys beta! So with a cheeky heel hook it went. Another fantastic problem.

Day 4: Mon 2nd May

Another relentless night of strong gales. Apologies to all the people at the campsite who I may have woke up at 4am after ditching the tent and deciding to sleep in the car – which set the alarm off a few times! After waking up to some poor guy kindly pitching my tent back down for me and an awesome breakfast at Petes Eates we headed back to Ogwen Valley. From the approach you can see a lone boulder with a strong stunning line. That line is “Raging Bull” V6. Pulling from a stand start (just!), it follows a line across the lip, which gets steeper and you then move left with “desperation” around the wide prow. After doing the start moves to warm up, I completed it on about my 2nd full go. Much to the relief of my cold and tired spotters!

Raging Bull V6

We then sent “El Gringo” V4 which is another note worthy problem before heading back down the valley to find relief from the wind.
The relief lied at the Elphantitus Cave, a stunning location next to a lake. Elphantitus is a 3 star V6 which starts at the back of the cave moving up to a final dyno. Sadly time and my core strength ran out so we headed home tired, skinless but very happy.

I cannot wait for my next fix – Catalunya in less than 2 weeks!

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