A trip to Gogarth had always been on the agenda this year, having got the new guidebook for Christmas. The trouble is, Gogarth has a reputation for being a bit serious and scary. I’ve only been once before and got completely psyched out by the walk in! 😮
To access Main Cliff, you have to negotiate a couple of short scrambles and a narrow path. Sounds fine, doesn’t it? The trouble is, the narrow path is down a steep heather covered slope, with the Irish Sea ready to welcome you if you get it wrong. Suffice to say, a simple slip would be curtains 😥 Fortunately, after a ten-year sabbatical to get over my previous visit, I’d built up the approach in my mind so much that actually it was fine. Concentration required, but fine 😐
Safely ensconced below our chosen route, Resolution Direct, we geared up, appreciating the warmer temperatures than we’d expected, as the sun had yet to move round onto the face. The route looked great, taking a direct line straight up in three pitches (just right of centre of the photo above, starting right of the sticky-outy pinnacle 😉 ). I led off up the first pitch, with a steep crack for breakfast. Continuing to another steep crack heading leftwards, to avoid a roof, I pulled into the groove above. The gear was good and the rock pretty solid, much to my relief. Main Cliff’s reputation for seriousness doesn’t stop with the approach – loose rock and marginal protection being the norm. Fortunately, we were splashing safely in the shallow end of the baby pool, complete with rubber ring and armbands! 😀
Ashley quickly followed and got stuck into Pitch 2, giving me a bit of time to appreciate the position and consider the future adventures waiting ’round the corner.
It’s an amazing bit of cliff with an equally impressive history of first ascentionists to follow in the footsteps of. The mental strength required by those making the first explorations back in the mid 60’s to tackle the loose rock and associated greenery with the limited gear of the day – humbling 😯
Over to my right, on the Upper Tier, someone was starting up the classic E2, The Strand, providing a perfect sense of scale to the place. The line is an obvious one as it gets a regular cleaning due to popularity.
With Ashley installed above, I followed up Pitch 2. I climbed it lack a sack of spuds, which didn’t set my head off in the right gear for Pitch 3. It wasn’t that difficult, but I couldn’t relax and get comfortable. After lobbing gear at the crag, I eventually got something I was happy with and pushed on. As is often the case, it was absolutely fine and I felt a bit daft for gibbering for so long 🙄 , but we were here to enjoy it, so I was smiling again soon enough, as the belay and the end to an awesome route approached 🙂
Pleased with ourselves, we headed over to Holyhead Mountain to grab another couple of routes before heading home. I ticked off Final Solution on Yellow Wall, which proceeded without incident, despite some rapid ‘make-it-up-as-you-go-along’ tactics at the crux! Ashley then chose The Echoes, also E3, but with a much harder crux section above a boulder-strewn landing, and reasonable but not uber-solid protection. I was keeping quiet, but thought it looked doubtful at best! :zip:
After a few forays to get a wire and reasonable Friend in, he committed to the crux, with neither of us having previously been able to spot any holds to aim for. Fortunately, he found some, and continued ‘happily’ up the groove above. A great effort considering the only trad climbing he’d done previously this year was on Resolution Direct that morning! 😈
8 E-points, 7 :star: ‘s, 5 pitches and a Main Cliff tick – a good day me thinks 😀
It dawned on me slowly, whilst Ashley was contemplating The Echoes, that the 5 E-points I’d just got brought my total for the year to 97. I’m not sure what opportunities lie ahead for getting the additional 3, so I’d like some clarification from the ‘Ganley Adjudicator’! Can I claim 3 points for doing Jubilaumsriss in the Pfalz? If so, I must remember to celebrate once the OMM’s out the way! I reckon a crate of Fursty Ferret ought to do it – now where’s that sozzled emoticon…