With it being bank holiday John and I had cooked up plans to get out to Wales for two days with the intention of getting in some classic climbs on Idwal slabs and maybe even for John to have a crack at Cemetry Gates. However a last minute offer of a place to Gogarth was too good for Brannock to turn down and I turned to UKC for search of a last minute partner. With much trepidation I sent out a couple of messages to people and also started my own thread. Luckily for me I got a message back from someone living not to far from me who was keen for getting out and being a sport climber have his first taste of trad on grit.
I have been checking out my log book pretty intensely recently and have spotted some serious gaps in my jamming ticklist, mainly at Bamford, so come Sunday morning Tom and I set off for Bamford via a petrol station for some power juice (tropical fruit juice). With a number of routes in mind we made quick work of Bamford Wall as a warm up, a route I have wanted to do for a long time since reading about Haydn’s attempt at it. With this in the bag we moved further down the crag and ticked off Browns Crack, Quien Sabe and Curved crack in about as quick and efficient manner as I think I am capable off. At this point Tom decided to have a shot at leading a route and with Cam’s and Hex still in place he shot up Curved Crack with only a small fall due to trending too high and being unable to reverse the move.
Up next was Bilberry Crack a VS 5a which I eyed up dubiously my confidence not helped by watching the previous climber rest on gear then retreat into the adjoining VDiff. With this in mind I started from the large block and found a number of pleasant bridging positions which really took the sting out of the thin crack which took nearly every small nut I could through at it.
With all of the tick list climbs on this side of the crag done we wandered back along the crag passing under Gargoyle Flake, a route which everyone seems to have done and been photographed on in the process. Thankfully no one was around to capture me wobbling and cursing up the route: struggling first to keep my head on the bold slab at the bottom, freaking out at the start of the layback flake (this is where the swearing began) before trending left and missing the finale finish in all its glory due to my lack of faith in my size 1 and 2 nuts.
This started the general decline in my confidence for the rest of the day and despite numerous attempts on Gunpower Crack, which eventually succumbed to Tom’s strength and technique (his first trad lead), beat me off leaving me one final tick at Bamford ensuring a return journey.
Tom then capped off his brilliant and “stylish” lead of Gunpowder Crack with a brave lead of Shadow Wall underneath the prow. This route consisted of a edging up a couple of rounded breaks before a huge reach to break (Size 0 cam) before coming up around onto the top of the “Gun”. My attempt at this on second was pathetic and I couldn’t step up high enough to even attempt the high reach and ended up having to be lowered off for top to abseil and clear the gear of his second ever lead!
Despite the last two climbs getting the better of me I left Bamford very happy with what we had achieved that day and a good number of jamming routes under my belt!
(Photo's will hopefully follow)