Central Gully Idwall Jan 2009
This week Rick and myself had been watching the temperatures rising, would the there be any ice left in Wales or was it back to Scrambling and waiting till Scotland to get a fix. To maximise our chances it was going to be a 5am start to take advantage of the lower night time temperatures. Rick was punctual as usual all be it a bit bleary eyed, with me waiting on the door step we made a speedy getaway. On the way down the car read 6 degrees it wasn’t looking good, still we would make a day of it what ever. By 7.15am we where pulling in at Ogwen with climbers already setting off, it was going to be busy that’s for sure. Still dark we plodded up the path, fully ladened for any eventuality, rock or ice gear we had it all. In the distance we could see torches, indicating climbers already on Idwall stream “Rick we are going to set off earlier next time!”
We had decided to take a look at South Gully farther right, a route I had wanted to do for some time. By now it was becoming light, and we could see several ice falls, things where looking better, we might just get on the ice after all. You can’t see South Gully until you are underneath it, and it looked very lean, defiantly more like a 5. To the right of it was a thin ribbon of ice which looked more feasible, but there where several climber on it and some waiting. The decision was made to take a close look at the routes, and see how it paned out. South Gully looked out of our league so we opted to wait for Central Route Gr ¾ a fantastic looking ribbon of ice with a few steep sections on it, just what the doctor ordered. Rick won the toss and by the time he led off there where 3 teams behind us, it was going to be busy. Rick didn’t let that put him off and made easy work of the 55m pitch, with some steep ice to over come. I was well impressed as it was our first route of the year. Second pitch was steady, with a short 2/3 section with a 3 ice screw belay, the first time I’ve belayed on ice screws in the UK. The guide book said it was only two pitches but Rick managed to squeeze out a lovely sort ice fall to finish which lead to a dead end and abb off.
By now the Wind had picked up and we had a battle climbing up to the top of the crags, being blown over several times. We had planned to go over to Glyder Fawr to do a 200m Vdiff buttress (not the place to be on a windy day) so we sacked that idea and descended straight back down.
It was obvious the warm front was well on its way and nether off us fancied tackling a melting ice fall. Plodding back down we where amazed to see how many climbers where just starting up routes. They where very keen second route of the day lads or late starters, either way not what I would be doing in those conditions. All in all flexibility was the order of the day, and we where rewarded, pulling another one out of the bag.
Thanks Rick for a great day.