A lot seems to have been going on both in and out of the shop over the past few months... This blog is, hopefully, going to summarise some of the goings on at Joe Browns.
Back in November/ December we had our Llanberis shop renovated. The psychological effects are still being felt by Rob and Chris...
Throughout January/ February we had an unprecedented good winter which meant sharpening up of the ice tools, buying warmer gloves, and permanently keeping a headtorch in your pack (or on your head if you were out after work)
March brought around a vague anticipation of Spring, this led swiftly to post work 'night-bouldering' sessions up the Pass. Working your way up from Utopia to Wavelength, then on up to the Meadow on a still night ticking all the classics as you go is a pretty unbeatable experience (even for a cynical old trad climbers). For those who have never ventured that far from the Cromlech Roadside I thoroughly recommend a visit - Utopia Traverse, King of Drunks, Killer Weed, and Lordy, Lordy rank (in my humble opinion) as some of the best problems in North Wales.
King of Drunks in the dark (the final throw to the 'golf ball' hold looks a long way away in the light)
However, throughout the latter end of March/early April the strange allure of the Roadside Face beckoned... In particular the classic V8 'Rampless' which starts along the slopers as for 'Cave Route' but swings round onto the roadside face via some fingery moves (see photos either side) and continues traversing below 'The Ramp' via a sustained and sequencey moves into 'Pocket Wall'.
Over the past three weeks we have been greeting by some fine quality spring weather AND some fine quality new guidebooks. Gogarth North in particular has had a very thorough examining by members of staff: this Sunday James, Rob, and Alex paid a visit of Main Cliff and climbed:
Katrina Spinney enjoying every moment on the hidden gem 'Hustler'
- Jaborandi - E2 5c - Dismissed in the old guide as 'rather scruffy and a little contrived'. What we found was a superb and sustained three pitch climb similar in quality to Resolution Direct.
- Peepshow - E1 5b - Another cracking pitch up the Main Cliff! Climb it up to the spike and abseil off as the upper pitches aren't anything special, ideally you can combine Peepshow and Jaborandi after one another (you can even get your tat back off the spike!).
- Stimulator/ Achilles Combination - E3 5c / E3 5c - Another link-up on the right hand side of Main Cliff. This area features a number of fantastic 'connections' such as Imitator into Bezel (both VS) and Emulator (E1) into the Ramp (HVS) that are as good as anything the actual Main Cliff has to offer!
- Hustler (HVS), Meztiso (E1), and The Third Man (E2) - This ill-frequented end of Main Cliff offers several hidden delights and is well worth the journey. Using a backed up sling above Hustler you can abseil back down to make the most of the area without having to go through the trials of the long traverse in again!
Only other news is that the infamous slate pumper - The Mau Mau (E4) - is, according to James, significantly harder in the dark.... FINE EFFORT!!! While on the topic of slate, we believe the new guidebook is to be expected pre-summer (and it looks stunning!).
Above: James setting off in the twilight
Left: The man himself slowing down somewhat as the darkness sets in... (I've increased the exposure so that you can actually see him)