Monday, November 12, 2012

Big rock candy mountain

Sundae dessert.

Well...I did post last week in November spawned a monster that you never know what to expect in November. Last week I was wet and cold as I looked out at Snowdonia's snow capped mountains; this week I was sweating in a base layer,on warm sun washed pale rock under an indigo sky.

It was part of an ongoing campaign to bring an undeservedly neglected crag into the 21st century for a new guidebook. In the weeks since our arrival at the crag, new routes had fallen like apples in September. Several excellent mid grade climbs had been created,most of them actually receiving stars. A project on a more shaded wing which had harbored more vegetation than the main faces,had been subjected to several hours of patient gardening.

Using a slaters hammer- pick at one end hammer at the other- turf had been hacked out,cracks revealed,heather pulled and moss scraped. It looked good. A natural steep lightning crack up a steep slab with a sensational finish on a tier above. Unfortunately, yesterday, after several days of rain, it was still damp and muddy. Despite a stiff brush being applied it was never going to be ready for a first ascent.

After missing out on a nice HVS first ascent across the way because I spent too much time hanging around cleaning up my project, I wandered across and abbed down an existing route which would benefit from a clean up due to lack of ascents. As I was hauling out some big sods which revealed perfect pale edges underneath, I noticed something flash by in the corner of my eye. My rope had dislodged a flake of rock above and it had hurtled passed my head, missing by a few feet. I wasn't wearing a lid and I don't think a Buff bandana would offer much protection in the event of a strike.

God...imagine the worst case scenario. No...not being hit by a flying rock but having to call the local MRT. I'd never live it down...if I'd have lived that is!

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