Blackladders and Idwall Christmas 2009

Blackladders and Idwall 2009

After our first taste of winter Rick and I where very keen to make the most of this unusually good winter period, because as you know it’s been a long time coming.

With the Christmas celebrations over, my mind was focused on making the most of it, but where should we go? In the end with less snow to contend with we plugged for the Welsh mountains.

Monday 4am the alarm rung time to get sorted, Scrape the ice off the car and meet up with Rick. The decision was made to go up into Blackladders and being a 2hour walk would hopefully put a few off.
Beautiful Alpine conditions but yet again we were still pipped to the post on Pyramid Gully, so not fancying a long wait opted for Waterfall Gully Gr4 ice fall on the far side of the cliff. First pitch was nice and open climbing but a bit dinner platey, and with poor protection concentrated the mind. Rick did a sterling job leading the top pitch following the right hand ice fall, quality steep climbing on good ice and good screws. Rather than a snow plod up the easy gully to finish we took the buttress line with some very interesting steps to the summit ridge. Not wanting to waist the lovely afternoon we decided to follow the ridge around to Carnedd Llywelyn and descend via Yr Elen a move I later came to regret as we trudged down to the car at 6pm well knackered.

That night we stayed down at Reg & Val’s caravan time to re-hydrate and get some calories down our necks.

Tuesday we had a lie in only needed to get up at 5am with a short drive to get down to Idwall. The early start paid divvies and saw us at the bottom of Devil’s Cellar Gr4 (At least we thought it was) before light and anyone else. After an easy pitch I took a belay below the RH line (as the left slanting chimney line was very thin). It didn’t look in the best of conditions with water running down the middle and a tricky move left at haft height, it would need a bit of T.L.C. Not wanting to push Rick in to leading the pitch I offered to take it on but Rick was having none of it. ”The apprentice was fast becoming the master” and climbed it in good style.

With a choice of finishes I took the R.H gully which sported a fine narrow strip of ice (With a spray of water down the neck to make it just that a bit more interesting) Polished off with a nice ice mushroom to overcome at the top. The forecasted snow storm had now started to put in an appearance and I was regretting not having put any snow goggles in. Good job it was only a short way to get to the Goat’s path decent.

By 1pm we were tucked up in Pete’s Eats having a shower and filling our faces discussing our next route! That night we landed lucky with the accommodation and ended up gate crashing a bunkhouse full of Scuba Divers on their Christmas trip. It was sheer luxury sat watching Shaw shank redemption drinking Champaign with the wind and Sleet belting down out side.

5am next day the alarm went off but there was no way we were going out in blizzard conditions. So went scurrying back to our pits for a welcome lie in, followed by some Retail therapy.

When I got home I checked the web and the consensus was that Devil’s Celler RH is Gr 5 which doesn’t surprise me, well done Rick and thanks for a great two days

Derek

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