On Saturday morning, as Nick and I approached the massive cliffs, I was having doubts about whether we'd made the best choice of venue for our first rock trip of 2010. After a few months' gap I'm always jittery getting back on rock. And Gogarth
can make you feel "gripped" at the best of times.
For some reason though this weekend, Gogarth felt almost friendly: warm sun shone both days and there was little wind. There was no big swell or waves booming in the zawns. Instead, seals watched us from the sea as we climbed. Oystercatchers piped, the first bumblebees of the year buzzed around, and puffins flew in formation above the calm surface below.
I started on The Gauntlet, soon relaxing into the climbing. The quartzite rock at Gogarth is a pleasure to climb on: hard, angular and positive. Nick then led The Ramp, running the 2 pitches into one, and suffering bad rope drag. We then climbed the Puffin Direct/Force 8 combination, the first pitch of which was quite strenuous. I was happy to get up it without resting on gear.
Today we climbed Gogarth, E1 5B, the original route up the Main Wall. The first four pitches gave excellent, varied climbing. The final pitch was hard and we struggled up it in poor style.
It was an weekend of fine climbing in warm sunshine, with Gogarth feeling friendly for once. 3 HVS and an E1 - not bad for our first weekend back on the rock.