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Pat Littlejohn's Stomping Ground
Wherever Pat Littlejohn goes adventure follows. From his initial stomping ground of South Devon, to pioneering some of Britain's great sea cliff classics and then taking his on-sight new routing skills around the globe to the Alps, Africa and the Himalaya. For the last two decades Pat's local patch has been the Lleyn Peninsula, the raw beautiful coastline just south of Snowdonia, riddled with some of the most challenging cliffs in WalesÉ but devoid of climbers. The Lleyn has a highly intimidating reputation but Pat argues that with the right choice of routes climbing there needn't be a nightmare. Here he presents his favourite routes for an enjoyable day out on the Lleyn.
Though Gogarth is undoubtedly the best sea cliff in North Wales, Pen Llyen (the Lleyn Peninsula) is my favourite coastal climbing area. It gets the best weather and has a huge variety of climbing on many different rock types (some of them not to everyone's taste!); from friendly single-pitch routes to really big, serious undertakings on Cilan Head which represent the extreme end of adventure climbing. You have to be careful what you recommend here Ðbecause of the 'variable' rock the routes don't suit everybody and demand more in the way of judgement and experience than most other seacliff climbing areas. But having climbed here regularly now for 20 years I can say with confidence that if you take that step 'beyond Snowdonia', out on to the Peninsula, and persist in your madness, you will be rewarded with many rich climbing adventures that won't be quickly forgotten...
The USA Team
In October and November 2008 a trio of American climbers came over to the UK to check out the fabled Hard Grit.
The USA Team
© karend, Jan 2009
During their six week stay, often dogged by bad weather, they amassed a very impressive tick list of ascents mainly inthe Peak but sometimes in Yorkshire. Some were climbed in a really quick time and in good style and it caused quite a stir with the internet forums reporting every move the guys made. It's not surprising really considering that some of the routes are amongst the hardest in the country and certainly some of the most feared on gritstone.
Climb magazine photographer David Simmonite trailed the team on a lot of their days. Here he introduces the guys and asks them a bunch of questions.
High Boots and Cold"FIVE HUNDRED BLOODY QUID THOUGH! THAT'S A HELL OF A LOT OF MONEY FOR A PAIR OF MOUNTAIN BOOTS!"
It only works out at about £50 per toe. I'd pay that to keep mine.'So ran the conversation that I overheard from the next table whilst I was tucking in to a huge plate of something vegetarian and a pint of tea in that well known centre of climbing culture and good eating Pete's Eats in Llanberis a while back. The conversation was between two people who were obviously preparing to head off to some high and cold mountains somewhere.
I agree with both of them. Good boots that are suitable for climbing above summer alpine conditions such as in the Himalaya or Andes - or even on the high peaks of the Alps in winter - are not cheap. On the other hand, over the years I've grown pretty fond of my toes (and in fact all the rest of me as well) and do not want to damage them or have to turn back from a summit (again) because otherwise I probably would (damage them that is).
The first time I came across boots designed for high altitude use was when I was shown a pair that had apparently been designed for Ed Hillary and The Team when they climbed Everest in 1953. They were huge soft leather things that looked more like a prolapsed briefcase with metal dentures underneath, than a cutting edge bit of climbing gear.
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