/ Fail on Main Wall, Cryn Las

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StuartCJones - on 30 Jun 2013
I failed, epically, yesterday on Main Wall... Desperate struggle on the first pitch and fell on the second before retreating. The only excuse I have is that it was wet, genuinely wet, but it felt impossible to me.

Now I know 'real men' climb wet rock in the Pass... So should I just be trying harder?
Dan_S - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

I can't comment on the wet, but the grade felt about right when I did it in the dry. I'd say it's one of the best HS's I've done.

Pop back when it's dry and give it a go in good conditions, it's worth it!
Jon Stewart - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

> Now I know 'real men' climb wet rock in the Pass... So should I just be trying harder?

I'm very unlikely to gain a reputation as a 'real man' and such I avoid climbing wet rock because it's no fun and it makes you fall off.
OwenM - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: That second pitch is nearly always wet, the top two pitches are really worth going for it though.
The Ivanator - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: Exit from the ramp to the chimneyish section on P2 was certainly wet (and felt a grade harder) when we did it, there is decent gear at that point though, so aidable at a push. The pitches across the wall via the step onto the spike, then up the easy but airy slab are brilliant (4 & 5 I think).
Have another go in a good dry spell.
CliffPowys on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

I first climbed Main Wall in about 1965. It had been raining and the second pitch was still wet as well as being occupied by a second who moved up a bit, went down a bit, moved up a bit... I took off my Masters (ancient rock boots) and led the groove to the left in woolly socks. The rest of the climb was drier but I stuck with the socks but over the Masters. Naturally we were using hemp waistlines, cabled rope, and slings with the odd bored out machine nut on them. At the top we screamed and shouted and I buried my ruined socks under the turf before we raced each other down to the pub!

I do not think that you should be 'trying harder'. Much better to retreat if you are not comfortable. Main Wall is not going anywhere. I have done it twice since, once in winter conditions, but it is satisfying however you do it. IMHO climbers should gain experience to be able to master wet conditions but it is more important that you have fun!

Return and enjoy!
Jamie B - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

It happens. Lots of good climbers have been spanked by wet Hard Severes over the years. At least you were out there giving it a go, in genuinely wet conditions I tend to head for the pub!
Goucho on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: Don't beat yourself up. Main Wall is no pushover for the grade, and in the wet, a tricky route.

But do get back on it when the weather is dry, because it's a great route and the top pitch is one of the best HS pitches in Wales.
david14 on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: don't beat yourself up, at least you got down safely. Early 80's got benighted on Main Wall mid-winter, sat it out until dawn (13hrs) doing top 2 pitches at sunrise.
In reply to StuartCJones: Don't worry, it's not nearly as good as everyone says it is - I thought it was really over rated. But anyway, your profile says you've climbed grade V so I can't see why in decent weather you wouldn't tootle up it!
Al Evans on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to david14: I was once down in Llanberis with a crowd including a very young and very keen Al Rouse. It was absolutely sheeting it down and not a soul would venture further than the Padarn, not even to go for a walk. Eventually Al came up to me and said I can't stand this, come and do something with me Al or I'll go mad and go soloing.
It was a threat I couldn't ignore so we got the gear together and trooped off up the pass which was deserted. Al chose Trilon and fearlessly led the big rib pitch in the monsoon weather. I don't know what it is graded now, but then it was VS 5a and I remember thinking as I followed it, soaked to the skin, that it was not a great choice as a waterfall to climb.
Al was an unknown young lad then, but on that day I realised he was going to be one of the greats of UK mountaineering!
abseil on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

Sorry to hear you fell, and glad you're OK. "Trying harder"? No, I don't think so.
wilkesley - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to OwenM:

Definitely go back, it's a great route. Sometimes you just have bad days. The first time I did Direct on the Mot, I found the second pitch really hard (think it's 4b currently). However, did the rest of it easily. On subsequent ascents I have always found the second pitch straightforward and can't work out why I found it so hard the first time!
stonemaster - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: One has never been mistaken fr a real man...even by mistake...:). No need to try harder. Just wait for better conditions. After all, no one was hurt. Better to walk away safe to try again than sitting in a hospital bed going aargh, etc. Good luck.
Jonny2vests - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

Add water to a route and the grade changes unpredictably. A wet jug is still mostly a jug, a slab might be impossible. I remember doing Great Slab Route (Diff) on chair ladder in a force 8. Desperate.
alan moore - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:
... So should I just be trying harder?

Main Wall is nails in the rain. The traverse right on the second pitch particularly so. The crux pitch, with the step off the pinnacle, felt much easier than pitch 2 when I did it one horrible, rainy day.
Simon Caldwell - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:
When I did it, it was dry and I still found it hard and terrifying. Tophet Wall a few weeks later felt much easier.

Best multi-pitch HS I've done.
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

I'm finding this thread curious; from what I remember the first two pitches of MW are ambling up easy rock before the main action begins. Perhaps you meant the first and second pitches of the main action.

jcm
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to StuartCJones)
>
> I'm finding this thread curious; from what I remember the first two pitches of MW are ambling up easy rock before the main action begins. Perhaps you meant the first and second pitches of the main action.
>
> jcm

Exactly what I remember: it was just like a steep, serious rather dirty scramble for c.200/300 ft - but then I remember the ramp pitch as being very soon after that (it was a long time ago though!)

Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

I've now looked in the guidebook we used in 1969, and see that after the scramble there are two short pitches of 30ft, then there's an 80ft pitch going up to the right. That's the pitch I remember where the meat of the route really starts.
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Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Did it ever dawn on you that routes feel different to those climbing closer to their limit? The first two pitches are easier but not easy, especially if wet.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

The question was: What are now referred to as the first two pitches? It is not clear.
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Really? They are listed pretty clearly in the books.
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to johncoxmysteriously)
>
> Did it ever dawn on you that routes feel different to those climbing closer to their limit? The first two pitches are easier but not easy, especially if wet.

Sure - fail on whatever you like, see if I care.

My point though was that most contributors to this thread seemed to be assuming the OP was referring to pitches which according to my recollection were pitches four to six, or thereabouts, when the OP referred to the first two pitches.

jcm
GrahamD - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

It actually isn't that obvious where the scrambling has finished and the route description starts
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to GrahamD:

Not my recall. After the scramble there were two old pitches linked into one in all the modern guides then the oft damp ramp pitch is which is now pitch 2.
Gordon Stainforth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I see that the Paul Willams guidebook runs the first two pitches of early guidebook I had together, so that what is now (well presumably still remains) pitch 2 is what I referred to above as the ramp pitch, which I remember clearly as being the first difficult pitch.
GrahamD - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Maybe its just me that got confused where the start was. I realised as I got higher that I'd roped up too low down.
johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

I'd have to look in the guide then. I recalled the ramp as being a lot further along than pitch two, but maybe nowadays what used to be pitch one is a scramble and pitches two and three are done together, or something. Or maybe I'm just getting old and misremembering. The ramp is definitely the hardest pitch and if that was the pitch in question I'm not surprised the OP had trouble in the wet.

As you were.

jcm
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Again you were a good climber when you did this. In wet conditions, a HS leader might have problems on pitch 1 (the modern version) and, like Graham, quite a few might decide to rope up for the scramble approach.
Offwidth - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

"I'd have to look in the guide then" ... usually a good idea. I like what you did though on the implication of my lead ability (I still fail on lead on the odd Severe... Monolith Crack and that brutal hanging chimney at Bowden most recently ;-)
Kipper - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
>
> I'd have to look in the guide then. I recalled the ramp as being a lot further along than pitch two, but maybe nowadays what used to be pitch one is a scramble and pitches two and three are done together, or something.

Me too. I don't remember any scrambling but that the 'ramp' was probably the trickiest bit (although not for the pair in front of us who went too far left from the next belay, while we waited for ages before deciding the route went up almost above us).
Caralynh - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:

I climbed it a while ago when VS was my limit. Started in dry weather and yes, pitches 1 and 2 were an easy warm up. It started spitting on pitch 3. By 4 (crux I think, anyway, whichever pitch has that weird reach around to the left) it was raining. Pitches 5 and 6 were climbed in torrential rain and a thunderstorm. Great climbing, great memories.
Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Kipper:

Thats the wonder of modern guides like the Ground Up or Rockfax Selective or the definitive CC Llanberis... they have colour pictures that work better than black and white memories based on changed information. The scramble in from the left to the base of the route is clearly described in all and the start of the route is obvious in the nice new pictures too. I'd add that all this info was even clear in my old Steve Ashton, Paul Williams and Llanberis guides that I used in the early 90's. Steve did split pitch 1 to better protect the exposed moves just below the normal pitch 1 pulpit belay (better climbers wont notice the exposure but on a wet day an HS leader will).
Dan_S - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:

Unless I'm missing something (possible, I'd been drinking when I read the guide last night) the Paul Williams guide doesn't mention anything about scrambling in the route description, giving the first pitch 4a and the 2nd 4b. That is to say, it may mention it on the approach description though. I'm particularly crap at finding routes, and then finding the correct way up following guides, and I don't recall any particular issues with Main Wall.

Either way, threads like this always seem to turn into a willy waving exercise, and detract from the fact that regardless of the grade you climb at the route is both a classic and is really rather good. The OP should get back on it when it's not saturated and enjoy a quality day out.



Offwidth - on 02 Jul 2013
In reply to Dan_S:

To be clear I meant its also very clear where you start in my old Paul Williams guide even if it doesn't describe this or many other minor scarmbles to get to the base of a route (ie the scambling bit below gets you to the point where your are "on a ledge below the L-hand side of the buttress, down and to the L of a triangular oiverhang with a grass ledge above").

I totally agree about the outstanding quality of this route, a 4-star if there was vere one, but I wanted the advice to be clear, rather than relying on old memories of better climbers using previous generation guidebooks. I apologise if that came over as willy waving, as its just the editor and lower grade sympathist coming out in me.
StuartCJones - on 03 Jul 2013
Thanks guys, I'm looking forward to getting back on it now (it's funny how quickly my perspective changes after a few days off and some single pitch leads to build confidence).

For clarity it was the 'rightward gangway' where I became unhinged. And we definitely encountered a 'scramble' on the way up to the wall.
Kipper - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Offwidth:
> ... (ie the scambling bit below gets you to the point where your are "on a ledge below the L-hand side of the buttress, down and to the L of a triangular oiverhang with a grass ledge above").
>

Ah! This rings a bell - I thought the 'scrambling' bit was just the normal approach to the start of a climb. I'll have to have a look at a guide.
Gordon Stainforth - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to StuartCJones:
> Thanks guys, I'm looking forward to getting back on it now (it's funny how quickly my perspective changes after a few days off and some single pitch leads to build confidence).
>
> For clarity it was the 'rightward gangway' where I became unhinged. And we definitely encountered a 'scramble' on the way up to the wall.

Interesting that what you are (now) saying ties up exactly with my memories - from 44 years ago - and not with what many ohers have been saying on this thread.

Kipper - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
>
> The question was: What are now referred to as the first two pitches? It is not clear.

I've now looked at a guidebook(s). Both the 1955 guide and North Wales Rock mention the scramble, but both have the 1st pitch starting after this in the same place. The tricky section that the OP encountered is the 2nd pitch (as we thought) - or the 3rd in the 1955 guide.

Interestingly, one of the guides mentions starting up the arÍte on the next pitch, the other up a corner. I think I know which is correct.


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jcw on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to StuartCJones: Yes you should if you want to become an Alpinist. I was trained by Ron James and the first time I did Main Wall was as a threesome in a snowstorm end November 1964: 4 1/4hrs agony. When after a year 's absencen I returned to UK it was to do Munich in a waterfall end November. A week later we did Piggotts (with Frank Cannings) in the bitter cold, but I noted it was a break though in my mental barrier. My first three climbs on Cloggy were between November and February when no one else was climbing. Doing that sort of thing was part of the process of hardening up for the Alps, where most everyone in those days wanted to climb. It still would be. But if what you want is enjoyment, don't bother. It's entirely up to you.
Turdus torquatus on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Kipper:

Judging by the state of my 1993 Paul Williams Llanberis guide on the Main Wall page, you and I did this using that guide. I wouldn't put it past us to have carried a whole library of alternatives though.
Kipper - on 04 Jul 2013
In reply to Turdus torquatus:
>
> Judging by the state of my 1993 Paul Williams Llanberis guide on the Main Wall page, you and I did this using that guide. I wouldn't put it past us to have carried a whole library of alternatives though.

The 'Book of Doom'? It's likely we had that, plus others that I didn't mention above.

You went up the wrong ramp.



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