Camping and Climbing in the Ogwen Valley

Colin and me fancied a trip during the Easter holidays and where better than sunny Wales, you heard me sunny!

A fantastic week chasing up some classic routes after a long time away. We drove up in my ever reliable mini and camped on the farmer’s field just off the A5, and for 5 pound a night next to the lake we had a good spot to live out the week.

On day one we managed to get up little Tryfan (Tryfan Fach) on crack 1 (Diff) as a warm up and then made our way across to the East face of Tryfan and had a good climb up First Pinnacle Rib (V-Diff). We made sure of some key rope pulling systems that I often use with my other half jess before we started, so to my surprise half way up the first pitch I hear the shout ‘off belay…’ luckily I was on a good set of holds and confidently shouted down to put me back ‘I better fucking not be’ after this little escapade and getting slightly lost en-route (near the yellow slab) we comfortably made the summit, where there was a whole bunch of people, it was as if we had just came to someone else’s party. After a spot of lunch and collecting a little of other peoples litter, we made our way down the north ridge back. Back at the campsite we treated ourselves to a delightful undercooked noodles with undercooked veg in sweet and sour sauce. Let me be frank Colin and me would not get on well with Gordon Ramsey.

The following day after a small lie in, we made our way to Carnedd Y Filiast just round the corner from Idwal and tryfan and done a couple of routes up the slabs. These proved to be very easy and much to the point of boredom we only did 2 routes, the long Left Edge (V-Diff) which was nice and long but easier than the grade, I also dropped my water bottle which I have had for years but could not find it in the boulder field, so I think it is lost forever! The other route was Central slab (Diff) again very easy, and so we decided to move on and tackle something a little harder. We stopped off on the way home and Colin lead Marble Slab (HS) at Clogwyn Bochlwyd, which was a nice way to end a second quality day of climbing. Due to the epic failure the night before we opted for fish and chips over camp food, which proved to be a good call!

Day 3 and we headed for Idwal slabs, I have climbed here before when on courses but have not had the chance to have a bash by myself, it was pretty busy due to the good weather so we started prepping up for Tennis Shoe (HS 4b) but on further inspection had a look at The Direct Start (E1 5a) and thought I could do that…on later thoughts a set of micro nuts at the start would have helped, also not dropping my small set of nuts at the start would have made it a lot easier however none of these things happened and I had no micro nuts and I did drop my nuts. Once I had my nuts back I pushed on up on good holds, although a lot thinner than I was used to on Trad, until I reached the main slab and got a good nut placement did I truly feel safe. I was climbing well and was buzzing whilst belaying Colin, when Colin reached the belay he commented on the good lead and noted that he had struggled a little, which kind of made me feel even better as I class Colin a better climber than myself. Colin led on up the rest of Tennis Shoe and the route panned out but Colin was not climbing well, and therefore not enjoying the experience. I led the final pitch with a long unforced run out, but was feeling confident, but I believe Colin was just glad to be finished.

That night we re visited the chippy and popped into PYB for a lecture by one of the instructors rather than just sitting at the campsite. Colin was feeling tired (He had been camping for a few weeks on the trot in Font etc..) and so we decided an easy day was called for before our journey home so we headed back to Tryfan Fach and cracked out a few of the Severe routes before calling it a day, and although the last morning was a little boring and easy the whole trip had been a good laugh and well worth the small cost to get there and camp, the weather also helped by shining all week! I love climbing, scrambling and walking in North Wales so until the next time…

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