By Nick Kemp 21-23 July 2017
Despite valiant attempts to coax, cozen and cajole the MMC to come to North Wales a combination of alternate functions, a bad weather forecast and Le Dolomiti still licking their blisters reduced the interest to single figures which dwindled further as the hour of departure approached.
Nevertheless hardy perennials Nick and Alix were joined by blossoming newcomers Chris, Helena and Joe at the Dolgam campsite, well situated in Capel Curig where they awoke on Saturday morning to crisp fresh sunshine. Eager to grab the weather window they all went to Tryfan where Chris, Joe and Alix spent time knocking the rough edges off Chris’s and Joe’s shiny new racks on little Tryfan. Meanwhile Nick and Helena trudged up the meandering and indistinct trails to Heather Terrace where they eventually located the start of Grooved Arete. And so they plugged up the first few pitches of Grooved Arete until a sudden vicious squall beat down on them and soaked the rock. This they foresaw as the harbinger of the promised bad weather so they converted the rest of the climb into a scramble that in truth was not that much easier than the climbing on the route with added spice of hauling a full rack and not using the ropes. However the squall was not repeated so they summited Tryfan in dull yet relatively dry conditions. The descent from Tryfan always seems to be a bit trying in any weather and the mess of slightly slimy boulders eventually took their toll on Nick who slipped and was savagely slammed against bullet shaped boulder right in the chest. But still they waged along and it was only when they were n the easier ground that the promised rain arrived with gusto so they could squelch in a relatively satisfied mood back to the car.
After a restorative coffee at the Café Mol Siabod (the old Pinnacle café having done the decent thing and closed) they eventually hooked up with the other who had been taken on a tour down the pass with Alix after Joe’s and Chris’s first multi pitch trad’ leads without instructors culminating in an interesting exit up a water feature in the above mentioned shower. However having climbed till 4pm, no-one felt disappointed.
Dinner was in the Tyn-y-Coed pub, they tried the Bryn Tyrch but were peremptorily turned away, initially by a fierce notice saying they had no tables available and then by an even fiercer landlady.
And so to Sunday where the weather forecast had amazingly changed from rain to sunny spells. Picking through the various options available the team set up on Clogwyn Bochlwyd near the Ogwen Cottages which is relatively accessible and had a good spread of grades for the relatively inexperienced. It is really a pretty good crag, just shy of 50m high and with good gear so Chris relished consolidating the technicalities of multi pitch climbing, setting up belays and trying to knock some honourable scratches on his rack. The best route there is Marble Slab which follows an immaculate natural crack line for about 50m and everyone got up it. A great HS trad’ lead for Joe.
So a good weekend was had by all and it just goes to show that if you take a chance on a dubious weather forecast it normally turns out better than you expected, and if anyone thinks that I have embellished or exaggerated the quality of the weather there are pictures to witness that I do not lie. See our Facebook page for more sunshiny shots of Sunday.