Route -
to Zermatt

Bermese Oberland Tour
Tignes skiing
Jan 2004

A Weekend at Gogarth

June 2004

The annual Rucksack Club trip to Gogarth.
Travelling down early Saturday morning and meeting at the cafe at South Stack at around 10:30pm. Plans are finalised and we decide to drive over to North Stack, rather than walking. I climb with Bill Bardsley and Rick Gibbon climbs with Charlie Perrin. We are going to Wen Zawn.The ab down is always slightly nervy, and even the approach track can set nerves jangling even before the ab is reached.

       Charlie heads down to the abseil       Fixing the abseil       Down the abseil to the sea       Charlie & Rick prepare to climb

Rick and Charlie were going to do Concrete Chimney, and Bill and I were doing Wen. Starting from ledges above the water, Bill led off up the Wen crack and belayed where A Dream of White Horses crossed. He should have gone further and this was to cause me a problem later. I led on up the same line until I came to a bulge on the left. An awkward move onto this shield and I ran out of rope. I had to make the best belay I could and bring Bill up.

       Looking up Wen       Down Wen to the start       Concrete Chimney and Dream       Looking down Wen
Bill came up and joined me, gear was swapped and he only had a couple of moves to do and he was on the ledge which led off left to a belay at the finish.

       Finished!       A Dream leads across Wen slab       A theatre - the Promontary is a superb place to watch from       Top of Concrete Chimney & Wen
We walked down onto the Promontary to have a break and watch the climbers in the zawn. It's a great place to sit and watch in the sun.
But we wanted to carry on and do Britomartis, an superb route up the front face of the cliff. Again we had to abseil in onto a square ledge just above the sea level. We pulled the rope down....and there was only one way to get out. There was another climber belayed on the ledge already and we had to be careful to ensure our ropes didn't get crossed.

        The rope leads....down       Down on the way up       It's crowded on the belay      Beautiful white rock to climb on 
Crouching down, I had to lower myself down the front of the rock. It's then you see the sea just below you and the route rising above you and you wonder what the heck you are doing there. But the holds are good and the excitement is high. Gear goes in and you can relax. The climbing must be thought about and the best line selected, A steep line rising leftward leads to a small ledge. It was rather crowded as three other climbers were already there and it was going to be a squeeze to get me in as well. But squeeze in I did, tied myself in and started to take in as Bill followed me up the wall. A couple of the other climbers on the ledge had moved on to the second pitch when Bill reached the ledge. He had plenty of room as he rearranged the gear and looked to his right for the way off the cliff. It was a traverse line, not difficult, but with little protection, up a corner and he was there, back on the Promontary. I joined him to revel in the pleasure of having done a superb climb in an amazing place.

       Bill comes up the wall of Brotomartis        A lovely walk over to the main cliff       The Main Cliff       The steep path down to the Main Cliff
We fed well with an evening barbecue on the beach and started a competition of shot putting rocks, whilst a brave one or two actually went for a short swim in the freezing water. There was a karaoke set up in the bar of the Valley of the Rocks camp site where we were camping which proved to be to much of a temptation for some.
The next morning Rick and Charlie were off to the Gogarth main cliff and I joined them for some pictures. It's a lovely area, but the walk down to the sea level is very precarious, It's another walk down which Bill is not too keen on, so we went off to Holyhead Mountain to do King Bee Crack, perhaps the classic of the crag. Bill led and, with a sore hip, did well to surmount the crux bulge. Actually, on following, I thought the niche below the bulge slightly more awkward. Another superb route.

        Bill up King Bee Crack....       ...and surmounts the strenuous bulge       King Bee Crack       Quartz Wall with Tension and Black & Tan
From there we went over to the Quartz Wall and the superb roof of Black and Tan. But first to go for was Tension, climbing up to the roof, then moving left into an amazing position and on superb holds up the final crack to the top. Our last route then was Black and Tan moving up under the big curving roof to an awkward move at its end to gain the final block to the top. A fitting end to an excellent weekend.

David Mercer2004