You can’t beat a bit of gully
Going bananas on Y Garn
A little over a year ago if you had told Lucie (aka the bouncing Czech) that she would soon be a mountain girl she would no doubt have laughed at such an outlandish notion. Yet, in the last nine months she has built up a respectable CV becoming an indefatigable hillwalker, a fearless scrambler and a solid severe leader on mountain rock and gritstone. In fact she has progressed at an astounding rate and attained a level which took me at least five years and countless soiled under garments to achieve. I could easily be bitter and twisted but prefer to take the view that her meteoric rise to mediocrity is all down to having a good teacher. Furthermore with her gung ho bent my guidance may well have ensured that she is still with us on this mortal coil but of course she would insist that her innate mountain sense is the deciding factor. On this we grudgingly agree to differ.
Anyway, after letting her loose with an axe and crampons on The Bully I decided that she deserved to be taken up the lady gully. Now might be an opportune juncture to explain that Lucie finds it difficult to remember the names of the Welsh mountains so is given to renaming them with Pen yr Ole Wen now known as The Bully and Y Garn as The Lady. Other favourites include The Crocodile, The Hooter and Crip Gotch.
Moving swiftly on, despite pleas from my crusty brethren that we make a mass ascent of the Trinity Face I insisted that as Banana Gully had been my first snow climb it would be Lucie’s too. I don’t know who was more disappointed, Lucie or the Crusties but by all accounts our absence was soon forgotten and they had wonderful time. And so did we…eventually.
My problem was that the walk in to Cwm Clyd is steep and unrelenting though usually it bothers me not. However, my calves were protesting from the off after taking a battering the previous day on Tower Slabs in Cwm Cneifion. Happily my grumpiness was short lived and as we entered the cwm it was but a memory.
I do like Cwm Clyd and as a training ground for the winter climber in his (or her) novitiate it is to my mind unrivalled in all Eryri. Not only that, it is a grand place of shattered crag, secret llynau and often solitude though not this day. No, it was rammed with a diverse range of hill goers from quark wielding brats to bearded relics brandishing alpenstocks.
After providing a short but sage briefing on best practice and objective danger I turned to find myself talking to no one in particular. In the distance I spied a green blob rapidly gaining height up Banana Gully…guess who? By the time I had managed to attract her attention I was a sweating wreck and took recourse to a line of bucket steps in order to be reunited with my wayward apprentice. Balancing on her front points and fresh as a daisy she took one look at me and said “You’re fired”. All I could manage between gulps was “No darling, I’m f*cked”, and with that she was off again.
At half height she kindly waited for me and once I’d regained my ability to speak I introduced a new rule. She was obviously capable of looking after herself so I would go first in order to take photographs and under no circumstances was she to overtake me. This arrangement worked quite well and before long I topped out and assumed a good vantage point from which to capture her completing the climb and I can tell you now I felt proud. And so did she.
On the summit of The Lady Lucie admitted that although the route had been easy she had realised how potentially serious it was and in order to shut out any feelings of fear she had made an effort to move quickly and focus on the job in hand.
Soon we were feeling a chill and moved off to find our descent down the Devil’s Kitchen path which itself was an interesting affair until at last we wearily slumped into the car. It had been a fine outing on The Lady and I promised my lady that next time we would go to The Pointy One to tackle the Trinity Face.