Finally, the Jubilee weekend arrived. I took the Friday off to make it a round five days and hit the motorway to North Wales, destination Gwerf Gof Uchaf campsite under Tryfan. We had an epic weekend planned with guest appearances from a whole host of people starting with Michelle, Wendy and Dan. It was also a chance to try out my new and exciting mountain tent and the forecast looked set to be pretty grim.
Friday was great weather-wise so after dropping Michelle at Pen-y-Pass Dan, Wendy and I headed off to Tryan East Face and Grooved Arete (VDiff, 8 pitches). This is a real North Wales classic and having lead the whole of Troutdale Pinnacle on our last multi-pitch adventure I turned the lead over to Dan for the whole climb and had a very enjoyable second with Wendy.
Friday evening Will arrived then Sam and Joe made it in at 1am. We also met Stu at the campsite, an experienced mountain leader and all round great guy. On Saturday most of the group headed up to Glyder Fach while I took Joe and Will up to Milestone Buttress. We started off easy on Direct Route (VDiff, 3 pitches) a really polished route with a great fun chimney to finish, then headed up Soapgut (HS 4b,4a 2 pitches) also pretty polished but great fun. We abseiled off just as the rain began to set in and headed to the pub.
Unfortunately the rain was more than a passing shower and Sunday was a wash out so we decided to head down to the beacon climbing centre just past Llanberis. Most of the routes were long and overhung and we all left with pretty sore arms but not before we stripped the wall of their tea and toasty reserves and perused their great selection of ’80s climbing magazines.
With so much rain falling on Sunday there were a few concerns about how dry the rock would be so we decided to head over to Tremadog. I’d never been before but it’s already one of my favourite crags. The rock is incredibly grippy and the walk ins very short! I started off leading Will and Joe up Valeries’s Rib (HS, 2 pitches) before moving on to the absolute classic Ones Step in the Clouds (VS 4b,4c 3 pitches). This was exactly my style of climbing with plenty of exposed and balancy moves. Once we’d got back to the cafe we had a quick tea before Will and Joe left to get Will back to the train station in Bangor. Feeling confident I partnered up with Stu and seconded Scratch Arete (HVS 4c,5a 2 pitches) my hardest climb to date and thrilling throughout.
The rain made a return on Monday night so Tuesday morning we had a fry up in Capel Curig and a final pilgrimage to Joe Brown’s before hitting the A5 back towards England. Despite some interesting weather my first Wales climbing trip was a great success and I can’t wait to get back.