I had promised Sam a ‘lads trip’ to Wales – his sister had gone with Henriette to Berlin last year and, although the trade may not seem a fair one, Sam seemed happy enough with it. So it was with increasing frustration as we woke up every day during half term to be faced with rain, drizzle and dodgy forecast. Then suddenly, and rather surprisingly, a good weather window appeared at just the right moment. Bags were packed and the lads set off on Friday afternoon heading for Ogwen and one of the beautiful campsites below Tryfan. The intention of choosing one of these campsites was that they are too far from pubs to attract the drunken middle of the night chatter problem keeping everyone awake until all hours. Of course that doesn’t stop people bringing their own ‘pubs’ with them to the site, which is exactly what happened. It is amazing how ignorant and unsociable some people are. At the end of the weekend I ended up wondering why on earth these people had bothered coming all the way to Wales for their ‘campin’ weekend since they never actually left the campsite after arriving despite the beautiful weather and clear tops.
Anyway we weren’t going to let it spoil our time. Acting on a hot tip from Jack Geldard, Sam and I headed off to Carnedd y Filiast aiming for Left Edge. Jack’s 40 minute walk-in turned out to be 60 minutes steep grind up hill for 11 year old legs – a fact which will probably guarantee this buttress remains a beautiful and quiet place – but the route looked good when we got there. A brief explanation to Sam of how multi-pitching works and I was off. Now one of those lessons that you tend to only learn as an after thought is that people on their first multi-pitch climb quite like decent-sized stances to break up the route – it gives them a chance to get things together in their minds and also offers a break from the exposure. Unfortunately Left Edge stance can only be described as small, smaller and smallest (well a foothold actually). Luckily though the climbing is dead straightforward and the position is superb. Four pitches later we were at the top and ready to make our way back down. Sam had enjoyed the climbing but didn’t much like the lonely waits on the tiny stances as I disappeared up the slab above.
The rest of the weekend went well. We joined the crowds for an evening session on Little Tryfan – perhaps a better place to learn a bit of multi-pitching! Next day an early start ensured us peace and quiet on Milestone Buttress Direct and a very different sort of VDiff to the previous day. In terms of technical climbing I’d say there was at least three grades between MB and Left Edge – the former surely being worth HVD or even Severe, the latter having no move which would get more than Mod on a Peak edge. However, I think VDiff for Left Edge is ok – the gear is a little thin and the situation remote with some of the trappings of a more serious mountain crag.