First up is a visit to Snowdonia with good friend Anna, with the idea of ticking off some classic climbs and scrambles. Due to a blip in the weather we didn't get any of our planned routes done, but we had a brilliant time and climbed some great routes, including Flying Buttress on Dinas y Cromlech at sunset. We also climbed in the Ogwen valley and some harder routes in the Llanberis Pass. Despite the rain, a really great few days.
Then an afternoon up at Gimmer crag, possibly my favourite crag anywhere. Fellow instructor and friend Kelly hadn't yet climbed on this magnificent piece of rock, but had heard plenty good things about it and was super keen to check it out. We started with the 1st pitch of 'Bracket and Slab' and once on Ash Tree Ledge aimed for more challenging routes in the form of 'F route' and 'Lichen Groove'. F for FFFFantastic by the way ;-)
All the pitches we climbed were brilliant in their own way and always on impeccable rock. The crag was really busy, which is unusual. But it's plenty big enough and we never had to wait for a route. We stayed until quite late so were able to enjoy the beautiful evening light over the Langdale valley, sublime.
All this followed by another trip to North Wales, this time quite a fleeting visit. Roger & Chris both climb regularly and well but are new to the delights and excitement of sea cliffs, so this was to be their introduction.
We had a full day at Castell Helen, Gogarth. After the committing abseil approach we started with 'Lighthouse Arete' VS4c and cruised the 4 pitches back to the top. After a spot of lunch, it was back down the abseil rope, this time for a more technical climb, a;though still at the same grade of VS4c. 'Pel' definitely seems like a step up in difficulty, with a strenuous 1st pitch leading up to the big halfway platform. Things then ease on the following pitches, but it's still no giveaway route. This was all good preparation for the following day when our instructor Paul Bedford was taking over and heading over to Wen Zawn with the guys. 'Britomartis' HVS and the mega classic 'Dream of White Horses' HVS also got ticked. Wow, what a weekend. If Carlsberg made weekends...or maybe that should be 'if Carlsberg made weeks'.
To me, climbing is as much about the people and places as it is the routes. Being in dramatic and beautiful locations with good friends is pretty special. The great climbing is a bonus :-)
Big thanks to everyone, and especially Anna, Kelly, Roger, and Chris.