White Goods Festival of Drytooling Report Press Release

© White Goods Festival

The first weekend of November saw many people eating toffee apples and heading out to bonfires and firework displays, but a group of around 40 people who headed for north wales to make sparks of a different kind fly. 1st to 3rd November saw the resurgence of the white goods dry tooling meet. This was for some time an annual event to kick start the winter season. Over the last few years the event has dwindled and last year didn't run at all. However 2019 saw the meet come back with avengence. This year's event, organised by Neil Blake and Alex Orlov was attended by climbers from far off and exotic lands including Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Coventry.

The ethos this year was to not only have the opportunity to have a nice day out but also bring together both experienced dry toolers, winter climbers and also people who had never been tooling before to try and create a sense of community to what still is a very niche aspect of climbing in general. After some discussion Alex did some excellent work to create a web page where people could sign up for the meet and ask any questions they may have. This enabled us to get a good idea of how many people may attend and the level of experience etc. After some emails, telephone calls and a meeting I secured support from Mark Richardson of Black Diamond who very kindly sponsored the event. They provided demo axes, fuels, new fusions and vipers for climbers to try out over the weekend as well as supplying some excellent prizes that were awarded on the Saturday night for various fun comps/activities throughout the day, such as most stylish climber, king and queen of the crag, fallen angel award for the best lob and also for the fastest ascent of jaz which went to Simon Ward for a time of 2 minutes 14.38 seconds. Prizes included head torches, pilot belay devices, rope bag and a rucksack. There was also support from krukonogi and rhino skin solutions. Many thanks to pat Saunders of rhino skin for donating prizes.

The weekend began with Alex, pat and myself arriving at the three pigeons inn, Graig-fechan on the Friday evening in the typically welsh rain so best idea was to put up the tent in the pubs campsite and head to the bar. Fortunately the weather didn't seem to put people off and approximately 15 people duly arrived in preparation for the weekend.

Saturday morning, with some rain but an improving forecast we all set off for the crag and steadily the weather improved, people arrived and the crag was buzzing with the sound of axes scraping, fruit boots and crampons scratching, people falling and routes being ticked. Nearly every route at white goods was ticked by the collective over the weekend with some people putting in lots of effort to do as many routes as possible. If the old saying of the best climber is the one who is having the most fun is true then the best climbers must all have been at "the goods" that weekend as everyone seemed to be smiling and having fun.

As darkness fell many people headed back to the three pigeons for food and beer. The pub was not able to do food due to a fire in the kitchen earlier in the year but the cleared space, moved tables, put chairs together and gave out takeaway menus to those who wanted it. After that, on a makeshift screen (a fitted sheet purchased the night before) there was a showing of the excellent "generation dry" film. Even though the dialog was in French it was quite easy to understand what was going on and proved to be excellent. Following the film we held a climbing teamed pub quiz; people naturally gravitated into teams and with a total of 5 teams and 5 prizes from rhino skin there were to be no losers, so it was just non competitive fun. How wrong could I have been as it seemed to generate laughter, fun and "healthy discussion " throught. Best thing after that was more beer!

Sunday morning saw many people returning to the crag to do battle again (albeit after a comedy moment where someone (me) got to the crag and realised id left all the demo axes behind so had to do a quick trip back to get them! Back at the crag and the action again was in full swing with the addition of several people who came for the Sunday.

Just remains to say thank you to everyone who came, climbed, quizzed, drank and climbed again, you made the event the success it was and your feedback has been amazing.

Lastly I need to say a big thank you to Adam Mcudden for all the jumaring, filming, photography and editing over the weekend and you can see his results on his climb'n'dine you tube channel. Also a massive thank you to Mark Richardson of Black Diamond, Pat Saunders of dark ventures and to Alex for his support, enthusiasm and customer support from krukonogi who provided one climber with a replacement pick (that's what I call customer service!, he was stood next to him at the time)

The Organisers: Alex orlov, Adam Macudden and Neil Blake   © White Goods Festival
The Organisers: Alex orlov, Adam Macudden and Neil Blake
© White Goods Festival

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