Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Three tired, grumpy blokes bickering and moaning their way up the biggest mountain face in Wales...

The north face of LLiwedd

Shit hot climbing team

Staples, Rich and I all slept in our cars the night before, then wearily slogged up the road from the Cromlech layby to Pen-y-Pass. Because fuck paying a tenner for parking. We then briefly joined the masses swarming up the Miner's Track before cutting off round the other side of the lake and wading through bogs and scree slopes towards the bottom of the crag.

The start of 300m of rambling, vegetated choss

I led the first pitch. It was soaking wet, utterly miserable, and I wondered if it was going to be like this all the way to the summit. If so the other bastards could lead the rest of it. I'd already done this route a couple years ago, although my memory of it proved to be slightly less than completely useless.

Gardening my way up pitch 1

Only 11 pitches more to go, then we can just drink whiskey in the layby...

Staples led the next pitch, a vague rising traverse with bugger all gear, and belayed in the wrong place. We think. The route finding was very confusing, everything looked the same. We hung off a spike of rock, squinting at the guidebook, arguing about where to go next. Rich was next to lead so we just shoved the gear at him and told him it was his bloody problem.

Pitch 2

Fat Git Morris goes the wrong way on pitch 3

Rich climbed up to a band of quartzy rock, where we told him to go right. So he went left. Apparently the rock was loose the way the guidebook said. It was loose his way as well, but at least the climbing was harder and the protection worse.

Hanging belay god knows where

Looking back down the approach valley

The face was now more broken above us. Our target was a big ledge system about halfway up, and as long as we reached this it didn't really matter how we got there. So I ran out a full 60m rope length up easy climbing and belayed below the start of a section called the Red Wall. Here the climbing would get harder and harder all the way to the top. Wonderful.

Belay at the base of Red Wall

Staples led the next bit, which was probably the second hardest section of the whole route. We followed a series of small foot edges up a slabby rib, hands clutching ineffectively at the absence of holds. I slipped off like the sack of shit I am, and only just managed to catch myself on a crappy hold, much to the other pricks amusement. We regrouped on a very constricted ledge, encouraging each other with a never ending stream of childish, sarcastic abuse. The team behind us probably thought us a right pack of obnoxious twats.

Staples leading Red Wall

Making a moderately tricky move look completely nails

Rich led the next bit, then I took off up this slabby arĂȘte, running out another 60m pitch to reach a belay below the final, hardest part of the whole climb, a tricky slab with lots of tiny little edges and not much gear.

Me following Rich's final lead

Fun slab pitch near the top

Staples once again set off on lead, Rich and I being a pair of weak, spineless cowards, and soon he found himself perched on some disconcertingly small footholds some way above his last runner. Some final insecure moves led him to the top, us bastards on the ledge taking the piss the whole time. I'm surprised he didn't just untie the ropes, chuck them down, and leave us to it. I probably would've done.

Just as Staples reaches the hard bit, we strike up a jolly discussion about his sister

Looking towards the summit of Snowdon from the top of LLiwedd

Soon enough we were all on top, stuffing our gear back into packs and beginning the long trudge back to the car. At one point Rich became so overwhelmed with laughter he had to sit down for several minutes, wheezing and slobbering like an old dog being put down. I can't even remember what we were talking about. Wanking I think.

Thank fuck that's over, now where's the nearest pub?


And on that note....