Snowdonia - 2nd-3rd May 2015
Students: Katie M, Dan M, Harry R, Dominic G, Rosie H and Anna R.
Staff: Mr Tamplin and Miss Baker
Leaving at 6.30am on Saturday morning, I wasn't sure that all students would turn up on time but by 6.35am we were on the road fully loaded and all accounted for. Harry's mum had made us a lot of cupcakes for the trip – these lasted the whole trip (thanks Mel Ruben!). With a very bad weather forecast, I was also a little unsure of what we would do when we got there but continued anyway on good faith that our instructor, Matt, would come through for us. As expected the weather was too bad to climb, so Matt suggested that we try gorge walking instead. This was a new activity to us all and turned out to be great fun, despite the water being bitterly cold – even with a wetsuit on! It can only be described as climbing in a river. On some sections, we needed a rope, particularly to climb through the 'Elephant's Bum' – a couple of large grey boulders with a river flowing between.
After returning the equipment for the gorge walk, we went to Llanberis, set up camp as quickly as possible and went out for a curry in a local restaurant. This took a surprising amount of time but we didn't really mind as we only had a dark campsite to go back to. That night, the wind and rain were quite something, but we survived, despite Katie's tent breaking in the middle of the night.
On Sunday morning it was still raining, so we took our time to break camp and went for a cooked breakfast at Pete's Eats (a 'traditional' haunt for climbers visiting Llanberis). The weather cleared, so we headed to a crag called Lion Rocks. There, we climbed 3 climbs on a nice comfortable rock that was surprisingly dry considering the amount of rain that had been falling earlier. After a quick lunch in the minibus, to maximise the time we had available, we went to another crag, local to Llanberis, called Dinorwig quarry. I think all of us were taken aback by how much more complex it is to climb on slate – being a smooth rock, where tiny sharp edges make the difference. Most of us climbed 'Sport 4 All' and 'Kinder Surprise', both graded F5. Some of us managed to climb 'Surprise, Surprise' – a difficult climb graded at F6a. Several tried 'Orangutang Overhang', graded at F6a+ but found this slightly beyond our now tired muscles! (I did hear someone promising to return and attack the exact same climb one day). Some of us lowered down a crag below us, to climb the 'Pipe climb' that started from an old rusty pipe attached to the rock from the mining days.
All had a great time despite the cold, the rain and strong wind. It's just great to get outdoors and take on a challenge!