UKC Logbook Description
The cave pitch, which is absolutely amazing, is easy compared with the Great Chimney!
Important Tips for the summer ascent that the guidebook route descriptions skip: 1,Full Waterproofs and headtorches essential for all parties - especially in bad conditions as you can't see very well in the cave.
2, Be very experienced in multi-pitch climbs b4 doing this, whatever your rock standard. Give yourself a whole day - it'll take hours longer than whatever you expect it to take.
3,The great chimney is mis-marked in the recent edition of Classic Rock as being near where the Door Jamb is - it's quite a bit higher.
4, You'll need to be John Dunne to climb the Door Jamb out of winter. If you avoid it on the right, try to traverse on the early vegetation terraces even though footprints going upwards will suggest otherwise. If you do go up the steep grass, you will find some old black ab tat in the base if the headwall backed up by my latest addition of a rock 9 and extender, to equalise it.
Alternatively there is a good rock traverse ledge at the foot of the buttress but you'll have to down climb into a big flake and then lower yourself onto a ledge to get back into the gully: you'll be below the right hand chimney pitch (awkward).
5, The Great Chimney is lightly over-looked by most guides as simply 'awkward' - it's a lot more than awkward! Only 100 Classic Wales climbs gets close by saying it is 'ferocious'. It was dry when we did it, and we thought it was hard, top end HS 4c.
6, Do not take a rucksack on your back for the Great Chimney pitch, even though it looks alright from below: if your second is quite a weak climber and can't take it, get to the top of the chimney (preferably not top of its rh wall which is a sloping belay ledge), anchor direct from your harness to a sling on the massive flake directly above the chimney, pull all the spare rope through from your second - clove hitch the middle of the rope to your harness, take your figure of eight knot out of your harness - weight the end of the rope with a hex, drop it down to your second, tie the rucksack on and pull the it up. That done, tie back on again.
7, In the cave there is some knotted rope to 'help' you get to the ledge. Only use this if it's really wet or iced in winter. Instead the original 60's route description was correct when it said climb the opposite side of the cave (righthand wall) to that of the rope and tat on good ledges and then traverse across the inner chockstone to reach the ledge traverse - or just climb direct to the ledge but it's harder and you'll be tempted by the tat. In fact the left wall direct is fine. Easier than great chimney.
8, protect your second on the ledge by: sling on inner chockstone and couple of cams before dip. After the low dip on the ledge, there is a place to put an absolute bomber wire in the roof you've just dipped under - nearly any size will do as i recall. 8, If you have low visability, when you exit the gully, do not head immediately left over the wall as this leads to the cliffs. Head right/straight forward for 60-100 yards until a clear and well-walked path is met and then head left to return to the col.
Good luckGreat Gully Craig Yr Ysfa