There was a time when yours truly was a bit of a mountain leader but time passes, pies get eaten, left arms get damaged and skills fade. So for a while now I have been wondering whether I could still do a proper scramble like Crib Goch so a man test was devised for today.
A team of four assembled for the day, yours truly, John (who has a long history of dangling me, being dangled by me, from a rope) and Keith and Richard who had no idea what they were letting themselves in for. Some indication came when Richard noted that I was giving a safety briefing, a first. The last time I did this ridge was with he who cannot be named and his lil sister in 2001. John and I last climbed together in the mid to late 1990's. Keith and Richard have never really climbed and as Richard truthfully explained had there been any choice in the matter he probably wouldn't have. The car park was full so that added another mile to the approach but we made good time to the base of the days objective. Now we had a weather window forecast, unfortunately the small gods of wind, clouds and rain had not heard this and the above pic is about as clear as it was ever going to be. The wind was pretty strong, and gaining speed so the ridge had to be done quickly. But as we were clinging on for dear life, speed was not an option.
This is the start of tricky bit, Keith contemplating the Crib Goch bum shuffle at this point while yours truly at the front takes advantage of a drop in wind speed to gain a few strides. The pics don't show the sheer drops or the scale of the place. It was as I remembered, arse clenchingly exciting, a challenge and once over, great fun. Once we decended to the saddle between us and the next summit Garnedd Ugain. This was not as easy as it should have been as the wind was by now strong enough to blow us off our feet. One gust knocked all four of us over at the same time which was quite exciting as Richard was posing on a ledge to have his picture taken at the time.
The summit bagged we were blown in the direction of Snowdon, the disappointment of the cafe being shut for winter eased by the knowledge that it was pretty much downhill from here.
By 3.30pm the weather changed again from hard rain to torrential rain and the get down as fast as possible mode was selected. Finally we recovered Gerry from the layby, clambered in with soaked gear and sped off to the cafe where we had breakfast 8 hours earlier. All of us ignored the funny loks from customers and stripped and changed into dry clothing in the cafe entrance, and once warmed by hot drinks we departed the mountains to the best fish and chip shop in the whole world, Keiths in Llangollen.
Richard was the first to get amongst the hot food
and I had the local delicacy, mushy pea fritters. Fuelled by battered consumables and Vimto I piloted Gerry back to Rock HQ. A grand day out, many thanks to my companions for the banter and encouragement. It was good to get outdoors, even if it was the worst ever weather for the ridge crossing and summiting.
More pics and video clips will follow. But for now its time for some serious Zeds.