Saturday dawned and there was a little mist hanging in the valley. The mist soon cleared and suddenly we had a glorious day for climbing. Unfortunately I had a busy day indoors with committee meetings and hanging out at Plas Y Brenin making sure everything was set up for the afternoon’s and evening events…
It was the CC’s Welsh Dinner, in fact it was the third of three Centenary Guideboook celebrations, continuing the celebration of 100 years of continuous definitive guidebook publication!
The programme started at 4pm, and despite over 90 people booking for the dinner, a fraction of those decided to abandon the crags (and the best weather all summer!) and venture indoors – who can blame them. 😉 Despite the small crowd (maybe 35 people) for the Guidebook Forum, chaired by Pete, it went really well with some excellent feedback.
The night’s events went really well too. An exciting photo competition (with cash prizes!) judged by Ray Wood, a great dinner, a fantastic talk with slides by Tut Braithwaite, and finishing off with watching the festival cut of Alastair Lee’s film On Sight.
Sunday wasn’t quite as sunny as Saturday, but that didn’t stop us having a great time at Tremadog.
We began the adventures with a trip to Lizard Point, a new venue for us and well worth the drive of 40 minutes from the Count House.
It’s an awesome spot and super popular with tourists, being incredibly beautiful and the most southerly place in the UK. The National Trust parking attendant greeted us with a hearty thank-you (we’d used our NT membership to park for free) and a long speech about how we’d chosen the worst day possible to visit – it was so bad that we were likely to fall in love with the place and never leave; just like him! 🙂 Cornwall is ace; such a mega holiday-vibe! 😀
We climbed a few routes at the lovely Tower Buttress and Hollywood Walls areas of Coastguard Cliff, a pleasant pair of crags discovered in ’84 by Iain Peters (who organised the meet). We climbed in a leisurely, holiday, fashion as we were the only people there. All this on a bank holiday weekend, just brilliant!
The next day we settled for the easy (no driving required) option of Bosigran. After Laetitia had climbed Venusberg our next objective was the famous Suicide Wall. It’s a route I’d wanted to climb for years but just kept on missing out on for one reason or another – mostly long queues, which surprisingly for a bank-holiday weekend weren’t too bad, although we did have a short wait at the first belay while the party in-front climbed the traverse pitch. It’s this traverse pitch that makes the climb famous – from the guidebook “Reaching the heart of Bosigran”.
We bumped into Frank and Daphne at the top where Frank shared with us the story of the first ascent of Suicide Wall and how it was traditional/essential for all parties to then complete the Suicide Wall boulder problem…
Jon and I also climbed Visions of Johanna, a route discovered by M Springett, Frank, and P Biven in ’68. With such company on the meet it seemed impossible to climb anything that someone didn’t either know all the details of the first ascent, or was the first ascentionist!
Cornish Guidebook Centenary Celebration BBQ
That evening was the main centenary celebration BBQ, complete with an awesome BBQ’d steak! :yum:
It was a bit chilly outside but the heat from the BBQ and the superb setting sun kept most people outside right up till the sun dipped below the horizon.
The sun set with the faintest of green flashes; an amazing and (I think) rare/hard to see optical phenomenon. I’m not sure if the quality of the image at the scaled size required for the web does it justice, but here’s a picture I caught of the sunset’s green flash…
Great Zawn Traverse
The next adventure on the celebratory agenda was a mass traverse of the Great Zawn, repeating its adventurous discovery by A W Andrews. There was some debate as to whether it would be feasible with the sea as rough as it now was, but we all bravely (foolishly) scrambled down and abseiled in to the zawn. Anyone who knows the crevasse-leap in the zawn will know just how foolish we were with a big sea running and very wet rock from sea spray! Needless to say, the HS escape route got more (top-rope) ascents that day than it has probably seen in the past decade!!!
Cornish Cream Tea
And finally, no trip to Cornwall is complete without a Cornish cream tea!
The Climbers’ Club is celebrating 100 years of continuous definitive climbing guidebook production this year. There’s a whole programme of celebrations throughout the year with the key events being held in North Wales and Cornwall. However, the celebrations started with a packed weekend and dinner (coinciding with the AGM) at the Shap Wells hotel.
The whole event kicked off with an excellent (well I would say that, Laetitia was the architect) quiz on all things climbing and guidebooks. 🙂
Saturday saw all of the 290 guests enjoying a packed agenda of amazing lectures, includuing:
Mark Vallance gave a talk about Friends; those little “cams” that save our lives! 😉
George Band gave a talk about his 1958 Caucus’ Expedition.
James Pearson entertained us with a potted history of his climbing successes so far, the elegance and fluidity of his movement was amazing.
David Simmonite’s presentation of people climbing routes we can only dream of climbing – having more E-points per pitch than I have toes. It was inspirational. Really looking forward to using his images in the new Tremadog guidebook!
Pat Littlejohn’s talk and presentation of adventurous climbing “before guidebooks” was fascinating and massively motivational.
John Cleare presented many of his seminal pictures of climbing in Snowdonia.
Chris Bonnington started the post-lunch lectures with the sort of presentation one can only get from one of mountaineering’s most recognised figures. Brilliant.
Doug Scott followed on with more amazing Himalayan adventuring.
Finally Alex Huber was the star speaker of the day, presenting a veritable audio visual feast! Covering amazing solo climbs on the Mont Blanc massif, desperate new routing on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, blistering (2 hour 48 minute) ascents of El Capitan, and dramatic footage from Antartica. It’s no wonder this guy is such a super-star!
Saturday was topped off with a grand dinner, and a series of presentations to some of the individuals who have helped the CC succeed through it’s 100 years of guidebook production.
Sunday dawned sunny – as forecast – so the scheduled CC AGM couldn’t finish fast enough! But it did finish, and after that Paul and I went to Scout Scar to enjoy the late winter sunshine with a couple of “pumpy” limestone sport routes.
In 1997 I was lucky enough to attend the CC centenary in North Wales, I’d only been a member of the CC for less than two years at that time, but it was an amazing experience! I resolved straight away to become a member of the FRCC before their centenary in 2006. As my friend Boris says, “it’s quicker to become a qualified doctor than it is to become a FRCC member”. Yes, the campaign was long, and even involved painting a lot of the outside of the Salving House and fixing some of the slates on it’s roof! But, with the help of Boris (Gilbert) and Mike (Burt) it was accomplished. So now, as-well as enjoying the wonderful FRCC Scottish & Lakeland huts, I got to go to the centenary dinner…
Tickets for the event were limited, by the size of the venue, the Shap Wells hotel. I feared I wouldn’t get tickets though. The ruling that members would have first call on the tickets, followed by a lottery if more members wanted to go than there were seats. Then followed by another lottery for guest tickets would mean that I’d be lucky to get a ticket myself, let alone two tickets – for Laetitia and I. As it turned out we both got tickets straight away!
What a great night it was! A seven course banquet, amazing speeches from the president (Eileen Clark) and Alan Hinkes, but most of all fantastic company all round!