/ Idwal Slabs - Ordinary Route
We climbed this route a month or so ago, we found pitch 2 to be completely nails, granted we were climbing in B3s in rain/hail with packs on, it was still a bit epic for a diff.
For this pitch I climbed up and right out of the stance and over the tricky bit (lots of quartz) to much easier ground, maybe in rock boots in the dry it could feel closer to VD/HVD, the guide "Move over left to gain and follow the rightward-trending scoop" seems to suggest that you don't climb up and right straight away.
Was I off route? Or just having a wobble?
You climb about the same grades as me and I'd expect a polished VD/HVD to feel pretty hard in rain and sleet.
Sounds like you were off route. I made that error the first time I climbed it (B3s!) and know what you mean about the sudden increase in grade...
> You climb about the same grades as me and I'd expect a polished VD/HVD to feel pretty hard in rain and sleet.
Trouble is, it's graded at Diff!
Me too - a polished slab in big boots in November in the sleet will be "nails"
> Sounds like you were off route. I made that error the first time I climbed it (B3s!) and know what you mean about the sudden increase in grade...
It seemed like the obvious line to take, although we were pretty much just following the group ahead of us (a uni group with two leaders who seemed pretty competent)
Its graded Diff assuming good conditions. Different climbs get harder by different amounts in bad conditions. If its any consolation I had to get rope assistance on Bowfell Butress in similar conditions last month and its "only Vdiff".
I've only done Ordinary route in big boots in the wet (as a waterfall), but I do remember there being a section that was fairly spicy for the grade once you left the major crack system. I think that Idwal routes, although frequently climbed in the wet, do take on a different character in poor conditions. I've backed off Faith before in the wet because wet, polished, slopey pockets in big boots felt incredibly insecure, but it was easy in dryer conditions in rock shoes.
It is a really good route and I suspect the crux is actually 4a ish even in the dry. Have to admit I was nearly in tears on it from the cold the other week !
There are two obvious big cracks leading off from the end of pitch 1, I took the right hand one which was tricky but great, perhaps the left hand was easier (looks like you can climb left toward the vegetation and then up).
I once soloed it in big boots (in the dry), and I'd never dream of soloing 4a on anything higher than a gritsone outcrop. I remember one short tenuous section, above a small ledge, but even that felt fair at Diff.
I did it in b3s a couple of years ago and found it a bit tricky, although that could have something to do with the ice.
A nut key is not a good substitute for an ice axe ;-)
> I did it in b3s a couple of years ago and found it a bit tricky, although that could have something to do with the ice.
> A nut key is not a good substitute for an ice axe ;-)
A good reason to carry 2 nut keys! :-)
ah, I think you're right.
That was Diff when I did it as well, though 20 years ago so probably shinier and harder by now :-)
Indeed it was.
It's barely a scramble in the dry, but in rain it becomes a waterfall!!
I had my only ever totally unexpected solo fall on that route. I was in big boots and confidently clambering up. The next second my feet just slid off (no warning!) and I finished up in heap (a wet heap) on on a ledge 5m below.
We used to down climb it solo as a descent route in the 1960s if we couldn't be arsed to scramble on up to the normal descent route.
You climbed it in rain/hail, in big boots and carrying a rucksack....... and found it hard for the grade - amazing!
I remember doing Avalanche/Red Wall on Lliwedd in similar conditions and it 'felt' E3 (really) though it was just a wet, greasy, badly protected Severe climbed in poor conditions.
The main thing I learned that day was that abseiling on a wet/muddy rope effectively wrings the entire thing out onto your lap, nice.
I climbed it in the pouring rain in big boots and mitts way back when and I remember it being a romp except for one spicy move. The descent on the other hand...
> You climbed it in rain/hail, in big boots and carrying a rucksack....... and found it hard for the grade - amazing!
> I remember doing Avalanche/Red Wall on Lliwedd in similar conditions and it 'felt' E3 (really) though it was just a wet, greasy, badly protected Severe climbed in poor conditions.
I did Avalanche, red wall, an longlands in dry conditions with boots and a pack, and it felt quite tasty. Great day though topping out and walking over Snowdon...
I reckon you were off route. I did this one years ago, in crap weather and very hungover.........it was definitely not nails. And I am not a good climber.
Just the way it should be climbed. Well done!Never ever go back with more technical gear, it just won't be the same.
In the nicest possible way your surprise may well have been based on the modern trend of starting climbing on plastic with ballet shoes and then experimenting with big boots. Hence the surprise. Not criticising just pondering on the changes out there.
Hope, in the rain, is interesting.
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