The Daves at the base of Idwal slab
It took about half an hour to gain the base of 'Central Arête', a long alpine-style ridge leading up to the Glyder summit plateau. Despite the rain getting heavier, Pat and I opted to short rope the whole thing in hiking boots. This was terrifying. The climbing was hard for VDiff, lots of small foot edges that would've been fine in rock shoes; instead I clung white knuckled to the flaky rock and re-evaluated my life choices. Not only was it hard going, there was bugger all gear on the main pitch, absolutely fuck nothing. Pat and I climbed with about 10m of rope flapping uselessly between us, knowing that one mistake would send us both tumbling to the bottom of the mountain. After a rising traverse of a thin slab I finally reached a boot sized ledge and a solid nut placement and brought Pat up hand over hand. We were both a bit shell-shocked, but above the going looked easier so we carried on moving together. Luke and Dave climbed the hard section in one long pitch just behind us.
The 300 odd quid jacket just about managed to deal with my intense "I'm going to die" terror sweats
As dawn's mist rolls across the quarries, strange creatures emerge from the darkness...
Aid climbing the chain pitch
From the ladders we made a series of abseils and downclimbs into The Lost World, an aptly named tropical jungle; the rock walls were dotted with obscure flora, bright colours, a stream ran from a clear blue pool, even a neglected old emergency shelter. We ate lunch and wondered if we were about to be attacked by an experiment gone wrong. From this bizarre place there was one last haul up shite ladders to reach Mordor (no, really), and a grassy plateau overlooking a crowd of bemused tourists, pointing at us like we'd just emerged from decade-old aircraft wreckage. The whole thing felt like being in an episode of Lost. Now we had two options; walk around a ravine of slate via a nice path, or cross it over a twisted, derelict train track suspended in space, fixed by comedy bolts at either end and chuff all else. Luke and Dave wanted nothing to do with it, Pat said he'd wait and see if I was killed before deciding. It swayed and moaned in the wind like a thing dying.
Oh god what the HELL AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!?
Luke gave me a belay that might at least prevent my corpse from rolling all the way to Llanberis high street, then it was time to get going. I teetered and inched my way across, sort of humping the rails and getting rusty crap all over my trousers. The bridge and I swayed with every blasted gust. My innards oscillated with terror, limbs a-tremble, one abstract voice in my head telling me I would momentarily be receiving a loud and messy death, and didn't I just bloody well deserve it? I clenched my arse cheeks tighter and pulled myself to the nominal haven of a sleeper. But the next gap was even bigger, a chasm, an impossible gulf; I pictured the whole sorry lot come tumbling down, my mangled body bouncing merrily astride it. Squawking with fear I performed an ungainly pirouette and started dragging myself back towards safety, weeping softly as my hands clutched at terra firma.
We took the path instead.