Slate, sunburn and snacks

By Hati Whiteley

There’s a lot of pressure sometimes to do epic stuff every time you get a few days off work, but you don’t have to fly or cycle or run across the world to make it a holiday worth having. Good weather, good friends, doing stuff you enjoy and getting out: I’m pretty sure that’s what the holidays are all about…

There was one weekend where everyone at Alpkit seemed to be going to Wales. Ronnie was going to Llanberis, Rowan to Pembroke, Connie to Bala, and Elly to St Davids. Factory Nick, Pro Doodler (Illlustrator) Seb and I figured we might as well go to Wales too to do some routes at the slate quarries in Llanberis – it was the holidays after all…

Friday morning, we assembled on the pavement and filled Nick’s car with too much gear, trying (yet still failing) to reach the limit to what you can fit in a Honda Jazz. A quick post-work trip to the Morrisons reduced aisle (9p for rhubarb - it’d be rude not to!) and we were on our way to Llanberis.

A toilet stop at the Cromlech boulders became a midnight bouldering session, leaving us groggy and not-so-selective when it came to choosing a bivvy spot. By some miracle we awoke to excellent views across Lake Padarn (although a little less off the beaten track than we’d hoped). Back in the car, a visit Pete’s Eats, and we were on our way to the slate quarries!

Bus Stop Quarry has Nick’s idea of a perfect walk-in: park on the road, hop over the stile and you’re there. For such a roadside crag, it doesn’t feel roadside and under the sunny skies it was like a continental climbing destination with climbers galore making the most of the weather.

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The last day, and the hottest, took us to Rainbow Slab. It got the full sun all day so we fashioned our clothes into hats for coverage and Seb promptly pulled onto Bela Lugosi is Dead, an E1 5b crackline where he would spend the best part of the next hour getting a magnificent sunburn before bringing the two of us up. We passed much of the day hiding from the sun until Nick’s route got the shade: the Richard of York finish to RYPGOPB is an E3 with the first gear at 25 metres – it makes for a tense climb and a tense belay.

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