Sunday, 18 March 2018

The ANNUAL DINNER MEET, Tyn-y-Coed Hotel, Capel Curig.

You might think this was the "event of the year" but tastes have changed and only twelve members and guests sat down to the evening meal.
The weekend started early for Stuart and Liz who take advantage of the warm, dry conditions existing on the Friday. With the sun out and very little wind they decided to visit the Dinorwig slate quarries to do some climbing. Stuart led their first route “Seamstress VS 4c” a three star classic which is an entertaining thin crack up the face of the Slab in the Serengeti area. In this area “Neat arete VS 5b” was also climbed which has a series of tough moves at the start but is a worthwhile route. They also visited ‘Never never land’ Stuart led again, “Hawkeye F5c” a delightful route on great rock before the last two routes of the day “Tomb raider F6a+” and “362 F5c” fine multipitch sport routes which proved to be brilliant adventures.

Friday night, most of the guests arrived at the Ty-y-Coed Hotel.  A fine time to socialise and work out the best climbing plan for the Saturday. 
The "Beast from the East" was blowing and the hills were coated with a thin coating of ice and snow.  Tryfan would be dangerous so we opted for the Gribin ridge which for the most part would be sheltered from the biting wind.

Dave leading the team up the Gribin Ridge.

The ascent went well and ropes were not needed.  At the top we turned towards Glyder fawr keeping the wind to our backs.  The descent down Glyder Fawr was rather tricky - the scree was frozen and potentially slippery but there was a long slope of snow in perfect condition for the ice-axe to grip.  We expected the normal descent by the Devil's Kitchen track to be covered in ice (verglas) so we thought that a safer descent might be made down the north-east ridge of Y Garn.  Stuart and Dave braved the icy blast at the start of the route but others refused the invitation to follow as the wind blowing back was monstrous.  So it was back to the Devil's Kitchen track for the many.  Yes, some verglas where extreme care was needed but not as bad as expected.

View from the summit of Y Garn

The Dinner went well.  Chairman Jeff Dodwell presented the Annual Awards, which was followed by two slide shows: previously unseen photos of climbing Mera peak; and a traverse and rock and ice climb of Mount Kenya.

The start of the rout to Llyn Crafnant

It put down 6 inches of snow overnight.  Before the snow plough had come through you couldn't tell where the road started and the pavement began -  a magical sight. 
The team decided to blaze a trail to Llyn Crafnant because the route starts immediately behind the hotel.  The wind had eased but out on the open moor compasses and maps came out to try to find the path in this snow covered wilderness.  A team effort was required as the heavy snow fall had obliterated all trace of any paths.  Eventually we found the main path to Crafnant where most of the snow had been blown off the path.  Lovely views of the lake and even more magical views in the forest path over towards Llyn Geirionedd.  A lovely easy walk and we were back at the hotel for 2:30pm.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Longridge Fell Walk

A diversion from the main path blocked by fallen trees. Gail Craven leads Stuart Hesketh, Liz Harrison, and Ian Craven through the forest of debris.

This meet took place when there was still lying snow on a typical winter day.  The path up to Longridge Fell was often blocked by fallen trees almost certainly brought down by "The beast from the East" the previous week.  But we are a Mountaineering Club, not a set of ramblers, so we found a weakness in the forest of fallen trees and treated it as a challenging rock climb using inventiveness and determination.  It was great fun acting like a child again.  
The lovely views of the Trough of Bowland from Spire Hill were not to be - everywhere was covered in mountain fog and it was snowing heavily.
Food and drink at the New Drop Inn was as comfortable as ever in the snug bar.
The return to Hurst Green seems to follow a constant east bearing but the paths are so complicated in this region the compass and map had to be our companion throughout.  Our last summit was Doe Hill before returning to Hurst Green.        

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Climbing the Frozen Idwal Stream

The wake of the ‘Beast from the East’ had left Wales frozen all the way down the roadside.  Simon, Lee, Stuart and Chris made plans to exploit the conditions and climb the Idwal stream.  They climbed in two teams, Stuart and Chris followed by Simon and Lee.  The route was well frozen with brittle ice in places.  Stuart and Chris climbing on alternate leads.  Simon led most pitches with Lee leading two of the easier pitches to accomplish his first leads on ice.  For the upper sections both parties moved together.  A busy excursion with very social belays it seemed most climbers had heard the stream was in.  Descent was made via the Devils Kitchen path.

Chris about to lead the first pitch Stuart & Chris at large belay high up in stream

Ropes leading up one of the lower ice pitches Simon leading up an ice pitch