Friday, 8 January 2010

Torpantau Fail! RAC Win :)

Well. That was an eventful evening.

Left Cardiff about 6PM on route to Torpantau, stopping by trefforest to pick up Josh. Things were going great until we took the wrong turning and ended up at the reservoirs due to water damage on my OS map.

Anyways, that was all okay in the end, we turned round and went back (I won't mention the nearly skidding sideways into a verge). Then we got down the right hand road to Torpantau and lo and behold, shortly after the bridge, the hill is unpassable. Road is caked in a thick layer of ice below the snow and you'd need snow chains to get through. We had a 4x4 and couldn't manage it. Que sliding quite fast and unnervingly towards the drop below us and our very skilled driver just about managing to dodge it.

To cut a long story about a number of failed attempts to get up this hill involving snow shovels and gear ratios short, we admitted defeat. I'd be very impressed if anyone without a tractor or snow chains manage to get through.

So, the alternative. After our eventful hour long detour of an epic without even having left the car, we went over to RAC instead. Josh and Adam had never climbed it before so I thought i'd show them and at least get something done. I was pleasantly surprised! The bottom pillar is still looking good and all in all we got about 3 pitches done of good ice. There is just about enough ice for short runner screws and just about enough ice/frozen turf for belays. It's gotten noticeably fatter since last night.

Top pitch was great fun, little near vertical boulder problem with a rocky top out.

Ice is still brittle on the top layer, but more plastic underneath, you do need short screws though. Temps were about -8 when we were there tonight (12am) so hopefully it'll freeze up some more.

Here's some photos showing the pillar and ice conditions on the main short pitches. It's perfectly solo-able, we just decided to rope up as Josh is new to the sport and Adam is rusty :)

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