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South Gully, Cwm Idwal

~ Wednesday, 1st December 2010

 Winter has arrived fairly early this year. It has been cold for a while and fortunately snow fall has been light enough to allow the council to keep the roads open. Snow is lying very low and some is getting blown around, but it's not causing any problems.

Helen and I managed to get out ourselves today. Ollie was at school, so it was time to go and have a look at what the conditions were like. We didn't get away as early as we'd hoped, so Idwal was the logical venue.

Things looked good as we walked into the Cwm and as the South Gully was looking OK we headed up to the bottom of that. A couple of teams ahead of us were having a fun time and very little ice was falling down, always a good sign. Whilst we were waiting our turn, a friend, Nick Thomas, turned up. He should have been climbing with first team on the route, but I guess like us, kids delayed his arrival in the Cwm!!

We invited Nick to join us. I lead the first pitch, nice and steady, with one of the largest belay ledges I think I've ever seen. Helen took over for the second pitch, the hardest and most consistent, with great ice, just about thick enough for good screws. All of the accompanying photos are of Helen on the second pitch.

Most of the other ice routes in the Cwm are forming, but I'm not sure I'd rush back in there just yet, as many of them still look a bit thin. I think we need a short thaw cycle first. However, it is a most promising start to the winter, long may it continue.

Good climbing!