About Me

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I'm Alex (also known as Midge, Al and the Guy in the Neon Orange and Black Leathers). Three main passions in life: Mountains, Motorbikes and Old Stuff. Currently in North Wales, at Bangor Uni with my Transalp 600 and Snowdonia on the doorstep. The purpose of this Blog is a combination of discussing the above and highlighting other blogs and videos of interest.

Slideshow Info

The Slideshow contains various pictures (all taken by myself), ranging from my Dogs to hanging belays at Gogarth. Hopefully they give you a flavour of what I get up to.

01/12/2011

Trad at Tremadog (and some motorbike stuff)

After what had been a wet week and a rainy night Sunday was proved to be a sunny, warm day. BUMS headed out to Tremadog, parking at Eric’s Café (I’d gone on the motorbike) we set off for a day on the rocks.

I partnered up with Ellie. We first looked at Grim Wall area but it was running with water. Passing the guide book to Ellie, she picked a route called Scratch (VS 4c). The only problem was that it is at the other end of the crag (Craig Pant Ifan) and a long scramble up, so by the time we were ready to climb to it was about midday. 

Scratch is a two-pitch route.  The first pitch led by Ellie, is a bit dull but with fairly sparse gear. The second is fantastic: A long corner crack climb, followed by a rightwards traverse, then another jamming crack to the top.  We abseiled off, almost sixty metres to the floor.
Ellie leading up the first pitch of Scratch (VS 4c).

Looking down Scratch from the top (Ellie is at the Belay).

Ellie at the start of the traverse.

Ellie joining me at the belay.
Next up was Barbarian (E1 5b) due to laziness and my misreading of the guidebook. We had considered doing Scratch Arête (HVS 5a) however I was looking at the wrong thing in the guidebook and by the time Ellie pointed this out I’d psyched myself up and our bags were conveniently at the base of the route. Ellie led off, again up a fairly easy pitch but with sparse gear into a really cool belay position. Then it was my turn… ‘Oh dear, this looks hard’ was the first thought through my head, looking up at two roof sections to come. Racked up and psyched up, I set off. A major faux par occurred, as I was standing above Ellie’s head I looked down and calmly stated: ‘Watch out, if I fall you’re going to get my nuts in your face’. After messing around over the first roof section, you travel up a slab and hit the second roof. Throw in a hex and a large cam and you’ll be safe travelling out to the belay. Embarrassingly I got mentally boxed out, not realising the belay was so close, therefore plenty of swearing and eventually a rest on the rope was required. As soon as I saw the belay my head calmed down and went straight there. The plan had been for me to do the final pitch as well however with bad rope drag and needing a breather I set the belay up. Ellie cruised up the first roof and slab. She had plenty of fun with the last roof, including a wonderful leg/hip jam half way out of the roof. She soon joined me at the belay then pushed on to the top. We ab’ed off as it was getting dark. Getting back to the road was fun with one head torch.
Watching Gwen, Meg and Will doing the first pitch of Scratch from the first belay of Barbarian.
Ellie at the first belay, note guidebook down top. My faux par was to happen in about five minutes.

Looking up at the roof sections to come.
Looking down from the second belay, notice Ellie's little blue helmet in the corner.
A fantastic day out for both of us. 

As for motorbikes, the Transalp is running fine, apart from giving a false neutral whilst overtaking the other day (a heart in mouth moment!) but that was more down to my error and having to now wear winter gloves (also Hondas are known for it, it does feel like the smoothest first to second gear change ever, though!) Yes it is now cold, winter gear is out and I think that the thermals will be out soon as well. I’m looking at getting metal panniers and other luggage, if anyone else is interested this company gets good reviews and is reasonably priced: http://www.touratech.co.uk/.  

Charley Boorman is doing silly things again in Canada, involving motorbikes and other adventures. The T.V. show is called Extreme Frontiers, it is being shown on Channel 5. Web address: http://www.channel5.com/shows/charley-boormans-extreme-frontiers.  

There is a great charity in Africa that has realised the potential of motorbiking, ‘Riders for Health’. Their website: http://www.riders.org/default.aspx. With it being that horrible time of year (Christmas), it might be worth looking into them as a present for family, friends etc. 

And for some music:

P.s. Malt Loaf is a wonderful food for cragging and I would recommend it becomes a staple requirement in any climbers rucksack. 

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