Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nantmor ghost materialises

Jeremy Trumper(left)and Eric Jones after their Devil's Tower climb: Photo Cambrian News

To most climbers and outdoor folk,the splendid name 'Jeremy Trumper' will probably not ring any bells. Apart from perhaps suggesting a character in a PJ Wodehouse  book or Harry Potter film. However, it was a name from the past which came alive for me this week when I read a story in a North Wales newspaper. About 15 years ago, I was privileged to be loaned a rare copy of Showell Styles' private climbing guides to the virtually unexplored little crags around the western fringes of Snowdonia. Yr Arddu, Moel Ddu and Moel y Gest above Portmadog amongst them.

These charming little typewritten, carbon copied pages were liberally annotated with scribblings and notes made by the owner. Amongst the scribblings were references to Jeremy Trumper and 'Pip'. I knew Pip was Showell Styles himself. In fact, using these guides, I made some explorations on Yr Arddu which included about 10 or so easy new routes which were in character with the mellow vibe of this lovely little off the beaten track mountain. During this period had a surreal conversation by phone with Showell Styles. At this time he would have been well into his eighties and deaf as a doorpost. At stages after shouting ..'What..What!!, he would pass the phone to his wife to act as his interpreter. One thing I did learn from him. That he ascended Cnicht, 'The Welsh Matterhorn' nearly 900 times when he was living in Croesor.

I'm not sure if he lived longed enough to find his explorations on the western fringes finally included in a Climbers Club guidebook,sixty years after Menlove Edwards first made reference to Yr Arddu as a climbing venue? Menlove himself lived for a while in Nantmor and must have scrambled and climbed throughout  this area.

Scott Lloyd on the first ascent of Obscurer on Bwtres Mawr-Yr Arddu

My only regret from the time I held the Showell Styles guides comes from the fact  that I didn't fill my boots on Moel Ddu and Moel y Gest before I passed on the information to the then Tremadog guidebook team who promptly went on a new routing extravaganza. Most of the routes falling in the amenable lower-middle grades. use crying over a blotchy carbon copy; to get back to Jeremy Trumper. In a week when Welsh ITV  aired an excellent peak hour profile of 77 year old Welsh climbing legend, Eric Jones, I read in the Cambrian Times that Eric has just returned from climbing The Devil's Tower in Wyoming with none other than our very own Mr Trumper. Finally, this mystical figure had come to life. With the aforementioned old climber coming in at 75 years young, then even my remedial level of arithmetic can work out that the Devil's Tower team boasted a combined age of 152.  From Potted Precipice and Marmalade Wall to the Devil's Tower and back. That's quite a trip!

Jez and Eric's big adventure can be seen on the Welsh language S4C channel this Thursday-18th April.* 2014

Cambrian News Story

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for Grasper Jerry...and next?