I left Scotland at the start of March with a view to spending a month in Wales rock climbing before I headed off Ski Touring in April. With some work booked in for the month I was looking forward to getting some mileage in and blow off the winter cobwebs. The weather as it turned out had other ideas…
Winter returned with a vengeance to North Wales and work suffered, as trying to run a Summer ML Training proved a step too far on the snow covered hills. However the opportunity came to work on some one day Winter Skills courses at Plas y Brenin which were an absolute pleasure given the stellar weather and the fact there was actually a layered snow pack to get involved in…a rarity in Wales!
I tried to resist going winter climbing again but given it was far too cold for rock climbing and the conditions were superb on the hills I gave in.
Two of the best days of my Winter were on routes in North Wales; Shallow Gully Direct on Lliwedd and Central Icefall Direct on Creag y Rheader. Winter climbing in North Wales is a fickle business, even more so on a big crag like Lliwedd. Generally the snow doesn’t hang around long enough to transform into something useful. This year was an exception with the cliff being plastered in sticky snow ice…more akin to conditions you would find in the Alps! Shallow Gully gave 8 pitches of incredible climbing, never too hard, bold in places (the start especially!) and a top out on the summit of Lliwedd.
Central Icefall Direct was a route that I had missed out on a few years ago and having been in Scotland when it was subsequently ‘in’ I was chuffed when work got cancelled (because of the snow) and got together with Luke and Glyn to climb this Welsh winter uber classic. What a route!!