The Road Less Traveled (sic)

By Lou Weth
The clean, slabby nose of Dinas Mot offers beautiful climbing and welcome shade in the rare heatwave. So why would you walk on past to the dark, overgrown, overhung reaches of the Eastern Wing on a dull day? Because some perverse member of the Committee decided it would be a good challenge for the Club’s 90th year to try and climb as many routes as possible from the climbing quizzes which featured at the three most recent annual dinners. Most of the Welsh routes from the first quiz were animals, which is why we diverged from the fairer path and headed resolutely for The Mole, “a justifiably popular 2* HVS on superb rock”. Before we were allowed to climb we had to change our clothes several times to satisfy both our need for warmth and the photographer’s insistence on brighter colours. She took herself off to some eyrie and snapped away in professional looking poses, while we, somewhat dubiously, picked our way through the grass and verdure of the initial rake, uncertain whether any step had trodden it this century. She’s actually quite gifted with her camera, because the shot of the slab on the first pitch makes it look as if it is quite a normal rock-climb. The second pitch does actually offer some fine moves in exciting situations, but heed the guidebook advice to take your nut-key for broddling out the cracks to reveal essential holds and gear placements. A hard broom to brush off the proliferation of black moss on the exposed slab edge would also be useful.

The photographer retreated to the warmth of the hut to ‘Photoshop’ the rock into the pictures, at which point we noticed the Cromlech baking in the sunshine opposite us. Ripping off carpets of thick green moss and wiping dry the crucial foothold with a beer mat (a rare commodity these days), we teetered our way up the final, tricky pitch to welcome sunshine and bilberries at the top of the crag. A fine expedition, but we doubted we should ever come back.

The rest of the weekend couldn’t have been in greater contrast: a bright and breezy ascent of Outside Edge at Cwm Silyn on the Saturday and Left Wall in a heatwave on the Sunday. From our perch at the top of the Cromlech we looked across and saw… surprise, surprise… a team on The Mole. Perhaps, for them, we had made all the difference.