/ Snakes and Ladders (And Tunnels)

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dutybooty - on 14 Apr 2013
Did this route as described in the ground up guide this weekend! It was awesome. Anybody know any extentions, similar routes around the UK?

It was just brilliant.
Landy_Dom on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty:
What was the top of the chain like? - last I saw it was creeping down to the ends of the iron bars. Has it been made any safer?
dutybooty - on 14 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty: Made very safe. Small bit of tat holding it back, then a large piece of new looking cord attached to the stake and then with some sort of tension knot to hold it back.

Route in general seemed very well looked after.
willoates - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty: Wouldn't call it "very safe", a few tonnes of chain is kept safe with a bit of chord. I agree its safer than it was, but its not amazing.

the dodgy bit is the rail way bridge thing at the end. it is sketchy as fook and if people keep going on it, somebody will die on it... go around it.

Will
Jonny2vests - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to Landy_Dom:
> (In reply to dutybooty)
> What was the top of the chain like? - last I saw it was creeping down to the ends of the iron bars. Has it been made any safer?

I'd be more inclined to worry about the dodgy ladders and the bridge of death.
bombshell - on 15 Apr 2013
Jonny2vests - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to bombshell:

Wow. Can't believe you went down there without helmets. Mentalists.
deacondeacon - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty: did this a few weeks ago and yes there is some fairly fresh tat on the top of the chain, but be under no illusion that it'll be strong enough to take the weight of the chain. It must be a couple of ton in weight (as others have said). I didn't think the ladders were too bad but I felt the bridge was too dodgy so we went round, you just can't tell if its safe or not.
I reckon you could make it safer with a couple of 50m ropes ( there are a anchors a long way back either side of the bridge) but with rope stretch it would still be a scary and potentially Messy fall.

wilkie14c - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to bombshell:
We had a trip around snakes & Ladders after watching your video when you first uploaded it <thankyou!> and it certainly was a very memorable day - scarey, exciting, adventurous, historical and just unusual. My advice to anyone thinking of doing the route is to print out the topo and keep it in the glovebox, if a Wales day turns to rain then go for it! Although probably impossible to grade as a 'route' HVS was bandy'd about when we did it and the exposure and danger we felt certainly felt fitting for the grade. If I may as bold as to downgrade it slightly now the main snake is tied off properly and AVOIDing the bridge of death then VS would perhaps be more fitting. My partner wrote up the day for his blog and he has deliberatly kept the route description vague so as not to give too much away <the fun is in the route finding> and on the blog there are some photos that show the condition of the snake as we found it, before it was tied off. Scarey! As for the bridge of death, well its up to you but there is no way I'd ever get on it again - Quote "we agreed that roping up would make his body easier to find if the bridge collapsed"
Sturdy boots or approach shoes are fine, I did it in 5.10 tennies. Waterproofs, helmet vital, headtorch optional. No rock gear needed but a single rope with slings and screwgates and belay device for abbing off are needed. The first snake can be a fight, its too thick to grip comfortably and slippy as hell! Don't let it stop you or slow you down if time is short. Aid it easily with a 60cm sling on your belay loop and a 120cm sling for your foot. Simpy larks foot these to the chain moving them up for each move. (Hexes work well too threaded through the chain links)
Its a brilliant day but take great care.
www.daveclarkesolo.com/climbing-blog.html
JezH on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to willoates:
> (In reply to dutybooty)
>
> the dodgy bit is the rail way bridge thing at the end. it is sketchy as fook and if people keep going on it, somebody will die on it... go around it.

I agree. Between the couple of times I've been to the bridge about half a metre of ground had fallen away at one side and similar at the other...

Double Knee Bar - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to JezH: +1. Sack the death bridge. It's sagging more and more each time I see it. It'll go some day soon.
dutybooty - on 15 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty: I thought the death bridge looking unjustifiably bad. As such didn't do it.

My comments as to very safe and well looked after were in comparison to how the route is portrayed, not the traditional sense of safe and well looked after!

So we've got a caving trip that looks like an expedition!

Any other ideas?
ex0 - on 15 Apr 2013
Not sure how you guys have been climbing the chain but I found it much easier to use the chain links as a bi-doigt and climb it that way. Can see how it would suck if you're just trying to haul yourself up it.

The very first ladder you climb after scrambling up Australia, are you meant to approach that level via scrambling the scree to the left or are you meant to climb up to it so that you approach the ladder basically dead on?
dutybooty - on 18 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty: Austrailia both straight across and going to the left to the higher level are correct ways. We went left this time, shall go right next time!

And the chain I thought it was easy enough to put my right foot between the rock and the chain, left foot between chain and air. Put on left foot, jams right foot in.

(Took me to the top of the chain to realise it though)
jkarran - on 18 Apr 2013
In reply to deacondeacon:

> did this a few weeks ago and yes there is some fairly fresh tat on the top of the chain, but be under no illusion that it'll be strong enough to take the weight of the chain. It must be a couple of ton in weight (as others have said).

For what it's worth that chain is 'only' 5 or 600kg.

> I didn't think the ladders were too bad but I felt the bridge was too dodgy so we went round, you just can't tell if its safe or not.
> I reckon you could make it safer with a couple of 50m ropes ( there are a anchors a long way back either side of the bridge) but with rope stretch it would still be a scary and potentially Messy fall.

The ground either side of the track looks pretty close to collapse with deep cracks forming and the track itself is in very poor condition. There was a big collapse from here a few years back (probably the one that left the 'bridge'). I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it, roped or otherwise when it goes next time. A cut rope running over that much broken slate would be a very real possibility and even with a baby bouncer there's a good chance you'd end up mixed up by the falling debris. It's one of those spectacular features best admired from a distance :)

jk
BALD EAGLE - on 18 Apr 2013
In reply to dutybooty:
> Did this route as described in the ground up guide this weekend! It was awesome. Anybody know any extentions, similar routes around the UK?

Another vote for the amazing underground SL&T equivalent "Croesor-Rhosydd Through Trip" and this was our outing last November:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp-KlTNvezM
May the force be with you... :-)

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