Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Coming up: One step in the past

Cwm Silyn,Nantlle Pass

" From the grassy bay at the top of Maurice's Crack,the climb traverses left on small, positive holds.to reach a massive ledge which, at the point of departure is out of sight around the corner. For those who are vertically challenged, the stride to reach the  ledge would be frustrating to say the least. For myself at 5ft-10"  I was just about able to plant my toes on the edge of the slab whilst hanging from thin hand holds.
For the six foot two inch Williams it was more amenable if not more gracefully executed! Despite the difficulties of the last pitch we could at least luxuriate on our spacious stance for a while and take in the complexities of of the first overhanging chimney through a haze of duty free cigarette smoke.
`Thrutchy' — how else could you describe this most traditional of pitches? The bold Williams overcame it in a symphony of sweat, curses and neanderthal grunts. For myself- I found it useful to dig  into my repertoire of almost forgotten climbing techniques and came up with that cobwebbed classic 'back and footing'. After reaching an overhang which halted further progress, a long, blind reach delivered a monster jug which could be used to spin into the chimney and then apply some simple bridging before rocking out of the constriction on to the rib which delineates the left edge.'

This Friday; John Appleby discovers a neglected 1920's classic mountaineering route in the Nantlle Pass.