Escape the wedding

28th April, 2011

By Di Neema
Oh so much climbing! Public holidays either side of the weekend and a rock-solid forecast of warm and sunny weather. Arriving early allowed us to hit a deserted Moelwyns on Thursday where we enjoyed the marvellous rough rock, experienced the rather less marvellous skimpy protection, and grappled with the not so easy route finding. The Llanberis Pass was the choice for the next day where I was lucky enough to be climbing on an almost-bone-dry Craig Ddu. Two good routes ticked off there – Crown of Thorns (S) and Yellow Groove (VS). My third day of climbing saw a return to the Moelwyns. Different crag (the one with the incline), same features with the climbing but breezier conditions, and the entertaining semi-blind descent through the dark echoey tunnel of  the old quarry incline.

A day off for me the next day whilst most of the others headed for the pleasures of Tremadog. Creagh Dhu Wall (the HS that likes to think it’s a VS), Mensor, Merlin and half of Meshach were all ascended by people who were not me.  The last day of the meet saw my trio striking up the steep hillside above Cwm Dyli for the Teyrn Slabs. The sun was out but so was the God of Wind. Teetering up a slab on small holds in these sorts of conditions is not ideal so escaping onto the arête (more holds, more gear) seemed eminently sensible. Galloping down the side of the pipeline we were soon back at the hut for the civility of a nicely sheltered afternoon tea.

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Easter in Orpierre

22nd April, 2011

By Ann Jamm
Days 1 & 2: not a good start. Climbing at Chateau on the bank holiday weekend was a mistake – the whole of Europe was queuing for routes. Have taken local advice, bought the local guide book and looking for quieter spots.

Day 3: Set off early to Les Blaches – Eternel feminin area. Had the crag to ourselves so devoured 6-8 single pitch routes in quick succession. Crowds started arriving in the afternoon so we descended and rewarded ourselves with a beer in the village square.

Day 4: Itching for multi-pitch but not yet up to the big classics (Diedre Sud, Brazil etc.) so headed for Ascle & two 90m routes. The first ‘Maitre de la Danse’ a very straightforward 5b but with an airy traverse, the second ‘Malkuth’ a more challenging 5c+, requiring ‘French strategies’ on my part.

Day 5: a single pitch day at “4 heures” crag. By now we’re into a rhythm – away by 8.30, climbing by 9.30, crag to ourselves, a spot of lunch, keep going til the heat or crowds get too much, and retreat to the bar for a relaxing beer.

The Pinnacle Club are well represented on this FRCC/CC meet in Haute-Provence. At least a dozen members are here, scattered around the campsite in chalets, tents, and camper vans. Four of us are sharing a chalet, which has the social advantage of attracting the campers in particular – on an evening they coming looking for warmth and company with a glass or bottle in hand.

The climbing – sport limestone – I’ve found hard for the grade (not unusual for me – see Portland blog), but it’s been a fun, sociable Easter.

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North Wales

8th April, 2011

The weekend forecast made bold claims of sunshine and high temperatures so a party of eager members headed to Cwm Idwal early on Friday with to bag Hope on the unusually quiet Idwal Slabs. The idea of continental style hot-rocking in the sun did not come to pass as the route remained resolutely in the shade all day despite the sun creeping round over the edge of the cwm.

There was an early Saturday morning rush for coveted parking spaces in Llanberis Pass then several parties trudged up the scree to crags along the valley. Flying Buttress on Dinas Cromlech saw more than one member ‘enjoying’ the start of the chimney on the final pitch – an apprenticeship served on traditional grit V Diffs can give the necessary thrutching skills required to reach the top! Back at Cwm Dyli later that evening, we all compared our angry red patches of sunburn and established that perhaps it’s never too early in the year for sun cream.

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