Sunday, 3 March 2013

Trinity Threesome


The night gave way to morning as the cold, clear sky above Pen Y Pass began to glow a light shade of orange. The frosty blanket covering my bivi bag had woken me long before my alarm, but I burrowed my head into the warmth of a goose down cocoon and waited for the jingle to wake the car park. Cold with clear skies. Perfect day for winter climbing on Snowdon. 



We managed to force ourselves out of the warmth of our sleeping bags and into the chilly morning air ready for an early start. We headed off up the Pyg track on our way to the Trinity face on Snowdon. Even with our early start, we soon discovered that others had had the same idea. Up ahead were other teams with the same objective. The well trodden path was encrusted in a thin layer of frost, with the odd ice patch here and there. No snow lay at this relatively low altitude.  We turned a corner, hopped over a style and met a group of lads, one of which was wearing the obvious choice of winter clothing: a kilt. Upon talking to them did we realise that they had had a colder night than us, summiting Scafell Pike in the Lakes as part of their 3 peaks challange.

 We left the tired but enthusiastic group and proceeded to follow another team. These we knew had the same agenda as us. With the Trinity face now in full view, snow covered and dazzled in the morning light, we broke trail and followed the remnants in the snow of all those who had gone before us. Footsteps now frozen into time. We looked up at the frozen face, our playground for the day.

We started up Central Trinity. Following the steps sort of lost the adventure. It was an atmospheric snow romp. not much else. I don't know what I was expecting, but nether the less, I enjoyed being on such a historic route. As we were climbing, I glanced across to Left trinity. There was an eye catching ice fall which looked to be a good variation. We topped out on the summit of Snowdon, then headed back to have a play on the ice at the foot of Left Trinity. Being Chris's first winter day out in over a year, I let him take lead for him to try and get comfortable with crampons and axes again.

Ice below Left Trinity
Chris on the ice

Soloing up central Trinity
 The ice fall went without difficulty and again, we found ourselves on the summit for the second time today. Only one Trinity gully left. Right Trinity. At grade III, I thought it would be ok to solo. But decided to rope up for Chris's sake. The turf was solid and frozen. The ice bomber. Every placement leading up to the first belay filled me with confidence. Chris however, was not so impressed. To him, turf was not a trustworthy medium. Ice = good. Turf = NOOO!! But he pressed on, and the further up the climb, he appeared to start to get into the swing. But his premature belay just below the top of the last pitch showed the day was taking its toll on him. I climbed up to join him. And followed through, up the final snow slopes and into the warmth of the afternoon sun on the summit ridge. I sat in the path, feet pressed up against a rock. The rope wrapped around my body. it's 2013, and yet the body belay still has it's place. It felt rude not to use the historic technique, and so I braced up, let the sun warm my face and shouted to chris "ON BELAY, CLIMB WHEN READY!"

Broken Specture



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