The forecast seemed good, so I made a few clear plans of crags to visit, new places for us.
First up was Clogwyn yr One in the Moelwyns. Whilst I had been here once before, it was during a course I was attending and we only did the one route due to poor weather and time factors.
Today the weather was excellent, the rock dry, the view tremendous, and the routes looked good too.
We climbed about 10 pitches from about Severe - VS range, every pitch being very good and worthwhile, belay ledges always accommodating too, and only a couple of other parties on the whole crag.
Whilst we did have time for one more route, the muscles were by now feeling tired so we called it a day and began the drive back to Nant Peris, about 50 minutes away.
If in the area, this crag is definitely worth a visit, with a very different feel to it than crags at Tremadog or Llanberis Pass, a friendlier type of rock perhaps.
Day 2 came along and I had persuaded Colin into visiting the seaside - not for ice creams, but for sea cliffs!
Rhoscolyn, on Anglesey was our first port of call. After much searching, we found 'Symphony Crack' (diff) - a 2 pitch route with tons of atmosphere. After a very long break, Colin decided to lead the 1st pitch of this one, nice one Colin, and he breezed it too. Anchored above the crashing waves as I climbed over must've been pretty cool, there was a big swell on today so the noise was intense.
A group of sea kayakers paddled into the nearby dawn, had a look around and we exchanged pleasantries before each got on with the job in hand, in our case, climbing this beautiful rock.
I took over the lead for pitch 2 and grinned like a Cheshire cat all the way to the top as the jug holds up the steep wall kept on coming. What a fantastic route, well worth seeking out in its own right, but there is plenty more to do in the area too.
We then bumped into a couple of American climbers who were looking for a route called 'Electric Blue'. I didn't know it but recognised the name and with a quick look in the guide we identified the line, WOW! - see photo above.
Kev & Emily discussed the route and went to check it out further. It's a DWS (deep water solo) and whilst the fall is potentially quite big, the sea is nice and deep and an escape to easy ground relatively straightforward should the fall happen.
Kev then prepared for the route whilst Emily came and sat with us to watch the show. And what a show it was, absolutely breathtaking stuff with 'edge of seat' moments happening almost constantly.
There was much hesitation from Kev to begin with, and his arms must have been getting tired on the overhanging wall. He also needed to reverse moves a few times too, therefore he climbed some of the route a few times, all adding to the difficulty.
It seemed he reached a point where it was 'go for it or go swimming' - so he did the right thing and 'went for it'.
The moves flowed with grace, we were all routing for him, Emily often not able to watch, but clearly with Kev all the way.
He neared the top and reached jugs, racing up the final moves, he'd made it, Emily rushing over to congratulate and us providing applause.
Kev must have been feeling pretty high after that, an incredible effort. It certainly got me thinking, could I do it, do I have the will power for it, and if so, where do you go from there?
We then drove over to Gogarth to climb on Castell Helen near to the lighthouse.
Our chosen route was a 2 pitch VS called 'Rap'.
No doubt named due to it being roughly in line with the abseil (rappel) to start that and other routes on the cliff.
For years i've wanted to climb on these cliffs, but circumstances kept getting in the way. Today that all changed as Colin began the abseil descent, I knew that without doubt I had to climb us back out of this, the pressure was on.
Thankfully the weather was glorious, the rock dry and warm, and Colin was also well tuned into the situation we'd just landed in.
The guidebook description described the route as 'steep and hard for the grade'. With the added atmosphere of a big sea cliff, this was potentially going to be quite a stretch for us both.
As soon as I set off the climb began to flow really well, I was totally focused and this made a big difference. Whilst the climbing was steep, the holds were all good, and there were plenty of resting places. Sitting on the huge ledge I remember Colin commenting about the joys of rock climbing and the wonderful places it takes us. Surrounded by only calm sea and a sea of rock I couldn't help but agree. The comment of course meant he was enjoying it too, even though sea cliffs and Colin don't always get along.
My arms began to tire a little on the final steep wall, but thankfully the angle soon began to ease, then the abseil anchors came into sight, clip in and it's over, job done, relax.
Colin breezed up in no time and soon we were back up by the car and sunbathing, having enjoyed a fabulous sea cliff adventure.
Gogarth, I will be back :-)