Best day of the year and it didn’t involve consolidating new routines to overcome the challenges of a cranky VS, but a mountain day. A day where I hugged the pinnacle and shouted ‘I have nothing to prove.’
Mountaineering – a big day out, travelling through rugged and inspiring landscape in a number of ways to get to the top. And for me, the most satisfying of idle pursuits.
It was third time lucky. I’d been to Scotland with hope of walking, scrambling, climbing but it rained of course so it had to be the Munro bagger’s agenda. After 14 summits in 3 days I looked at her and said: ‘No more’ … and meant it.
Then to North Wales with a similar hope. No rain but others had other hopes and so instead I practiced my new routines on Dinas Mot in shorts and T Shirt and then went to have a nice cup of tea.
A few weeks later I took more hope to North Wales where randomly I found a fellow hopeful. While others scurried away to the dry coast, we played on a 3 star grade 3 scramble, Clogwyn y Person Arête, in non-wetting rain and I had my first encounter with the drifting ridge of the infamous Crib Goch (disappointing after my meeting with the A Chir ridge in Arran in May).
The next day rain threatened but we rose early and undeterred and hopeful we made our way to Idwal Slabs where we chose our first route by an easy method of elimination- routes going through wet rock were out. A diff – Ordinary Route . In boots. Moving together with rucksacks: Interestingly awkward and exertive.
Idwal enchainments on a Saturday are busy, so in our hopeful enthusiasm we chose the free route – a VS 4C: Piton Route. Him in boots (a combination of Alps training and forgetfulness), and he found it hard. Very hard. Technical climbing ensued as I whipped on my stickies and heaved and grunted up the slippery blank groove .At the top he said ‘remind me never to do that again.’ Type 3 fun then.
Not quite there yet, so we made our precipitous way up to a 200m scramble – grade 3 and 3 stars again. The route description had wetted our appetite using words that sounded like it was out there and a steady head was needed. Correct.
In boots. Heavy rucksacks. Huge exposure and teeny tiny holds plus a short traverse that made me sweat even more. Thankfully we were delightfully in the zone. The sun came out and we sweated some more and walked past Glyder Fawr with grins on our faces, back to Nant Peris – for a pint.