/ Dream of White Horses - Beta request - Spoiler alert
Anything from route finding hints to the location of the nearest pub all gratefully received, I have no qualms about style or beta ethics, so don't start me on those!-)
There is a video of the route being climbed by Libby Peter and Neil Gresham on their Get Out on Rock DVD. Might provide some route-finding beta if you can borrow a copy?
On the other hand, when we did go back to do it, I found the descent down the grass gully to the notch almost as unnerving. Much of the route seemed like a picnic thereafter.
There are, I'm sure, lots of pictures of the route that will help, on this site and elsewhere. I've got a few at https://www.flickr.com/photos/8411024@N08/sets/72157631951864538/
Try not to get on the route behind other parties. Uncomfortable belays for hours on end in the chimney on Wen are common place.
Last pitch - extend then extend again ! runners pulling out of this pitch are not ice for the second.
>On the other hand, when we did go back to do it, I found the descent down the grass gully to the notch almost as unnerving.
Yes, well tip one would be: sort out the tides properly, go there at low tide, and take a long enough rope (and not the climbing rope) that you can abseil the whole way down the slab to the zawn bed.
Tip two would be, if youíve never climbed at Gogarth before, be mentally prepared for it to look ****ing horrifying and not to get daunted. I donít know why, but no matter how many sea cliffs you may have climbed at before, Gogarth sometimes has that effect on a first visit.
The climbingís not hard and the route-finding isnít either really; nothing to trouble an experienced climber. But you do need a positive attitude; as PBaB indicates, the most likely place to fail is at the top of the crag.
Lot's of parties start to traverse form the notch... but the bottom pitch is worthwhile.
It's a traverse, so your second needs to be happy and whoever's leading needs to protect the second as well as themselves (there are also some down steps on the last pitch).
On P2 and especially P3, it is possible ot take the worng line - spend a bit of time condiering higher/lower lines of holds (usually chalked). It's all reversible quite easily and not strenuous so you can take the time.
Small wires mostly. Small positive edges - suits newer boots.
Take prussiks and know how to use them.
Yeah take every sling you own for the final pitch and lace it.
Don't have a wee at the notch if it's windy.
And try and keep yourself from looking at the last pitch on the traverse while at the stance before it. I suspect that this pitch is actually scarier for the second than the leader, although I found the last moves at the end somewhat challenging with rope drag and all.
Same thing here!
Did go back fairly soon after, I then got so overawed again. I just climbed straight back out. Probably harder and less well protected climbing than DOWH!
Third attempt ended up seconding the final pitch in time to the sweeps of light from S. Stack Lighthouse.
Been back again several times and no such epics.
Though I have seen other parties end up in similar situations.
Bottling it at the top or getting Be-lighted (Not benighted!)
All good responses. I'll tell you what happened when I did it quite a few years ago - largely as an exercise in how not to do it!
Probably correctly, we didn't bother going to gawp at it from the other side and just got down to business with the abseil. The walk down the slippery grass slope to find the notch does indeed stick in the mind. The tide was in so we just abseiled down half way and started from P2 as many do. Unfortunately we weren't early and got caught behind a couple of v slow parties. We had abseiled in down a rope someone had left there and I'd stayed on the rope whilst the stance cleared. When the party whose rope it was came and retrieved it, I actually forgot to attach myself to anything on the stance and pratted around for quite a while before realising. When I did, I almost had a heart attack. When we set off, finally, my mate led off and I think went too high on the traverse - it felt a lot harder than it should have and there was v little gear. He was very experienced and almost too good and didn't realise he was off line until too late. What with that and my earlier stupidity, I was about as rattled as I've ever been on a route. The team of 3 in front of us included one almost complete novice (I kid you not) who dealt with it better than one of the experienced pair in his team. However, the rest of the route was fine after that early mistake. Runners on the final pitch do indeed need extending - not with long QD's but ideally long slings. However, the final pitch is genuinely quite straightforward - the only supposedly tricky bit is a step down. Due to getting caught behind other teams, it took us most of the day to complete and we were frozen by the end of it.
We got very pissed in the pub that night, slept badly then went to Tremadog and did some other classics with hangovers :)
As you can see, the route sticks in the mind for years afterwards....
We made the mistake of looking from the notch and was freaked out the whole day. Wonderful route though. Climb the flake to the top before descending into the concrete chimney belay. Take lots and lots of gear, you need lots for the final pitch anyway and you have to cover for dropping something into the sea. Prussiks go without saying. You may see seals if the sea is calm, enjoy.
I came across this the other week:
Meant to be a general guide to route finding but it does specifically model Dream and there might be some useful tips in there.
Take shed loads of slings and extendable QDs. A dozen should do the trick
An 80m abseil rope got us nicely down to the very bottom from the main abseil point without a midway stop. We did manage to belay too high on the first pitch which meant a downclimb for the start of the second pitch!
First time I climbed in wales I onsighted the corner which was soaking which left me feeling unstoppable until I attemped the approach to DOWH...
Ran away tail between legs!!!
Take a look at;
How it was in 1972
Don't listen to the people saying not to check it out from across the zawn first - it's a rare treat to be able to see the whole layout of a sea cliff climb beforehand, and you can plan every pitch, belay and even move if you fancy it. Plus it looks awesome.
Watch out if starting from the notch, as it can end up being quite a diagonal abseil down to it.
The Libby Peter pdf tells you everything you need if you're worried about taking the right line on the earlier pitches.
Finally, leave enough time to climb Britomartis afterwards for a great HVS day out!
Actually, this is a serious matter. I'm not that fussy about pubs, but I've never found one in Holyhead which doesn't look as though the locals are dying to knife you and the toilets were last cleaned in 1974. Is there one, nyone?
Last time we searched for quite a while and ended up in the Boathouse Hotel pub... Can't say I was all that impressed by the food - frozen fish when you're a stones throw from the sea! Most of the patrons were quite old and wouldn't have wanted to get blood on their beige trousers so at least that was a plus point.
Bit reluctant to say this but you might not find one, I wouldn't bother, go back to Llanberis, it's not a long drive.
The White Eagle at Rhoscolyn does good food and booze. Ditto the initial shock and awe when you first see it.
Anglesey arms hotel back near the old bridge
Nice trousers though
I do think the last pitch it is hard to see the route until you are actually on it, then it all makes sense, so don't worry about it.
From our mistakes;
Do descend enough on pitch 3 so there isn't any down climbing on pitch 4, doesn't help with the potential for gear to lift out.
I also think its worth using cams on the last pitch if its windy, I led the pitch using slings on spikes and nuts which was fine till I realised most of them had unhooked them self due to the oscillations of the rope! No good for the second at all, I actually had to go back and replace gear with cams to make it safe for him. Its a memorial enough climb, you don't need that going on.
>Its a memorial enough climb,
Golly. Atmospheric, then.
Good call, sir. Now you come to mention it, there was a decent pub in Rhoscolyn, no doubt the one you mention. I don't know why I never thought of detouring there on the way back before.
Right to left is best
Just a housekeeping note Fred. Its worth taking a small rucksack just big enough to carry some fluids, snacks and to hold stripped off clothing. We did it as a party of three and didn't have the sense to do this. When we abbed down the direct line to Wen ledge we were a bit chilly. By the time we finished we were burnt to a crisp and one of the lads had gone a very nice puce colour.
If it's a nice sunny day then yes - go and have a look first, it looks like a nice slab.
If it's one of those grey days with the rock dry but the cloud level just above the main cliff then don't go and look - just run away :-)
I'd say do go and have a look from the top of the other side of the zawn, it will really help you get your bearings.
It's a fantastic route, and the holds are positive and large the whole way.
Make sure you exit up the correct groove on the very final section.
Maybe this video will be of use:
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy the route!
The fish and chip shop in Holyhead that is on the right just before the big roundabout as you leave Holyhead (direction Bangor) is often open late (midnight) and can provide an after climbing dinner if you finish later than you thought you might..! One of my favourite pubs in the area is actually the White Eagle in Rhoscolyn. Not too much of a drive from Holyhead and well woth seeking out, especially if you are looking for some nice food.
>The fish and chip shop in Holyhead that is on the right just before the big roundabout as you leave Holyhead (direction Bangor) is often open late (midnight)
That picture really isn't my best look.
I've often seen Queues of shivering climbers on DOWH in the morning shade, then the route empty in the afternoon when it's bathed in glorious sunshine.
Enjoy a lie in and climb it in the afternoon, with a low tide so you can tick the first pitch
I agree. Why on earth would you NOT go for a look first???
A trick I used was to add a belay on the last pitch about 15m in, just after a short burly descent. This means a weaker partner is protected as they lead the descent and when they second the remainder of the final pitch you can put more runners in and use long extenders rather than long sling extenders (which is my preference if I do it in one runout).
I strongly recommend it as it helps to work out what to do and if it spooks you maybe you are not ready yet.
Someone mentioned possible nesting bird bans, - does anyone have more info?
There's no restrictions on the wen slab. Check the bmc rad if your unsure.
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