Nov. 1st, 2006

Meep!

Nov. 1st, 2006 09:09 am
chickenfeet: (mew)
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Created by Grahame
chickenfeet: (toe)
This would have been back around 1982 or 83. Halloween was a Saturday and my mate Dave and I had headed down to Llanberis the previous night to do some climbing. We obviously hadn't read the newsletter carefully enough for this was apparently a family weekend which meant that the club hut was full of people who had children and, unbeknownst to us, were planning to do family type Halloween things.

It was wet. This is not unheard of in Llanberis. We got all classical and decided to do the Great Gully of Craig yr Ysfa in traditional style; boots and sacks and, of course, rain. Great Gully is no pushover in the dry. It's probably best in deep freeze conditions when some of the nastier gully patches bank out but those conditions are rarer in North Wales than a sunny weekend in Fort William.

Being lazy sods, we didn't start early enough and, anyway, it's a bit of a trek to Craig yr Ysfa from the Ogwen valley car parks. Net result, we got stuck behind a slower party and by the time we reached the fairly difficult last pitch (The Great Cave) the light had pretty much gone and, natch, we had forgotten to take a headtorch. It was my pitch. Three times I climbed up to the chockstone in the near darkness and three times I groped for the finishing holds without finding them. Three times my fingers slowly uncurled and I clattered back in a heap to the floor of the cave, The third time I cracked my elbow on the way down essentially paralysing one arm. We swapped over the gear and Dave made it onto the chockstone and made the relatively straightforward traverse across the gully wall to easy ground. I rigged a prussik and got onto the chockstone that way. Then I had the fun experience of the traverse with one useless arm in the dark, for by now it was pitch.

The walk back to the car was easier because it's all down hill and not too hard to find even in the dark but by the time we got to the car we were wet, tired and hungry and really not in a very good mood. We returned to Llanberis to find the kiddies' party in full swing and were jovially invited to bob for apples. Some sexually improbable remarks about apples followed no doubt to the shock of the kidlets or at least their mothers as we bundled our gear into the car and headed for the relative sanity of the other hut in Capel Curig and, of course, the pub.

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