Monday, 14 July 2008

Llanberis Slate

Whilst in the pub following a visit to Cliffhanger on Saturday, Mike, Ian and Sheila discussed the subject of where to climb on Sunday. Ian suggested slate which, after a beer, seemed like a good idea! Graham and Andy C were both keen since Graham had been intrigued by slate for some time and Andy C wanted to try some harder stuff. Mike, expecting small crimps and tiny footholds, was a little concerned that everything would be too hard!

Fortunately for Mike there has been a lot of development in the quarries recently, and while much of the climbing (particularly the trad) requires levitation skills, there are a few new areas with some more amenable sport climbing. Details of these developments can be found here.

After an initial route finding error - resulting in a long walk through a tunnel which exited on a giddy precipice, the correct tunnel was found, and although slightly flooded it did lead to Australia. Andy C seemed to enjoy paddling his way through it, but we later found it is easier and drier to just walk up the paths at the side.

Climbing commenced in the Looning the Tube area with the partly bolted trad routes U.B.L. (HS 4b) and Sad Man Who's Sane (VS 4c). Graham used a little too much rope to thread the belay after his lead, and on lowering off found there wasn't enough rope left to reach the ground!

Ian and Sheila hung around to do Orangutan Overhang (F6a+), which looked hard with an entertaining roof, while Graham and Andy were taking their Steps of Glory (F5) on the level above - this was a pleasant slab climb that served a taster of things to come.

Up again was the Sidings Level, which has some excellent slab routes. These look blank from below, but the tiny holds do become apparent as you move upwards. Mike was told he would need to balance and use his feet to get anywhere, but he proved everyone wrong by finding a few tiny crimps to pull on – somehow even hurting his wrist in the process!

We finished the day at Dali’s Hole - another area that has seen extensive development and is popular with groups (it was very busy when we passed it in the morning, but much quieter when we returned after 4pm). Andy C led the fine groove of Zambezi (VS 4c) which apparently has an exciting last third, while Graham & Ian made short work of some more slab climbing.

Anyway, a really good day was had by all. The quarries are very open, and because these areas are high up on the sides the quarries they catch the sun for much of the day. It's an ideal place to go to if you're down the pass for the weekend and have had too much of a beasting on the Saturday, and need something more relaxing for the Sunday. There was only one thing missing - no-one fell off, so next time we'll have to up the ante.

The routes:

Australia - Looning the Tube Area

U.B.L. (HS 4b) - AC led, GC led, MJA 2nd.
Sad Man Who's Sane (VS 4c) - ID led, SB 2nd, AC led, GC 2nd, MJA 2nd.
Orangutan Overhang (F6a+) - ID led, SB 2nd .
The Deceptive Dyke (F5+) - ID led, SB 2nd.

Australia - Level above Looning the Tube

Steps of Glory (F5) - AC led, GC led.
Kinder Surprise (F4+), MJA led, SB 2nd

Australia - Sidings Level

The Niche aka 'Those who climb clearly marked projects are the kind of people who would steal the chocolate bar from a kids lunch box - selfish tossers, who owe the bolt fund cash' (F5b/c, 2*) - AC led, GC led.
The Mallard (F5c, 2*) - AC led, GC led, MJA 2nd, ID led, SB 2nd.
Sodor (F5c, 2*) - AC led, GC led, MJA 2nd, SB 2nd.
Rack and Pin (F5c, 2*) - AC led, GC 2nd, MJA 2nd.
Thomas The Tank (F4a) – SB led, ID 2nd.
Derailed (F4b) – MJA led, ID 2nd.

Dali's Hole

Zambesi (VS 4c) - AC led, MJA 2nd.
Tolerance (F5a) - ID led, SB 2nd, GC led.
Mon Amie (F5b) - GC led, AC led, MJA 2nd.