Me and Tim had bivied out by some boulders in Cwm Idwal where we were hoping to get an early start the next morning. I woke at 6am to a sharp, cold feeling on my face. During the night had it started to snow and around us now, lay a dusting of the sugar snow. Looking across to the cliffs of Idwal in the pre-sunrise light, we could see faint white lines streaking down the cliffs. As the morning light brightened, we could now see that a majority of the routes still had a long way to go. The devils Appendix was nearly non-existent. The Idwal stream was in, the Curtain still had a long way to, but had some very interesting ice formations at it's top. The Devil's pasture was just that, a grassy Pasture. And the Screen? It had touched down and look fat! So we headed for that. We geared up underneath and Tim took the lead. Fist axe placement and BAM! a dinner plate sized dinner plate piece of ice came off. Things were not looking good, and they only got worse further up. Tim climbed the first steep bit of ice on the first pitch, then eyed up the last section to the belay and decided that the top will need more of a thaw until it's 'in'. So we bailed from halfway up the first pitch.
|The Screen (IV 4)|
|Point at which we bailed|
|Ice Cave near the Kitchen|
|Tim on Idwal Stream|
|Soloing Idwal Stream|
From the top of the stream, we headed over the Glyders to the top of Clogwyn Du. We descended down a grade II to the base of the cliffs and saw an MIC (I assume?) instructing a group in the art of self arresting. A look in the guide book, and a brief discussion and it was decided. Our target, Clogwyn Left Hand Branch (V 5/6). This was to be our first V. We soloed up the first pitch and Tim took lead on the crux pitch. And so it was on. Tim started off in good style, hesitating a little at an awkward step on the start of the mixed stuff, but continued up in good style. The Ice was good and fat, but Tim had decided to take the harder mixed variation and continue up the groove. I was scared for him. Watching him struggle and inch his way up only made me more nervous. He passed the Tat, and was soon confound to a small narrow groove and a roof. The only way now was to step out onto the ice. He climbed well, even if he did knock off large sized chunks of ice, and soon reached the belay. My turn to follow. And what a pitch! the first bit of mixed was easy, but higher up the groove and it steadily got harder and harder. At one point, I squeezed myself into the groove at the top take a no hands rest and let the hot aches pass! But my time had come to step out onto the ice. I could swing the left axe and got a good bite. But my right swing was hindered by the roof of rock. I had to gently chip a placement for my right tool and then commit. The placements held, but feet were poor on the edges. Once out on the ice, I relaxed and smoothly climbed up to join Tim on the belay. Bloody good lead by him!
|Tim leading Clogwyn LH|
|Belay at the top of pitch 2 on Clogwyn LH|
|Ice on the 3rd pitch of Clogwyn LH|
|Tim at the base of the 'chock stone'/'Chimney'|