With rain soaking the Lake District and the trad climbing season coming to a close, me and fellow slacker Callum raced down to the famous sea cliffs at Gogarth in Anglesey, to grab a last minute ascent of the ultra classic Dream of White Horses, one of the most famous rock climbs in Britain, if not the world.

Ready for climb with Icepeak Soft shell
GEARING UP… He’s not smiling yet!

After a night under the stars at the north stack car park, we woke to grey skies and ominous winds. We scrambled down to the abseil point, and with the wind howling around the zawn, the sea crashing hundreds of feet below us and retreat about to become a non-option it all got a bit scary. However, being with Callum meant backing out was simply not allowed, and so I set off on the first pitch, the traverse out across the great slab, with the impossibly looking headwall, the third and final pitch, looming in the distance.

Traversing the face; On the face and fully exposed
Despite having to press our entire bodies into the rock at times to avoid being blown off by the unrelenting, and now nearly gale force winds, the first two pitches went smoothly, although once or twice we did wonder if it was raining, only to conclude that it had to be spray off the rocks way below us!

As I set off on the final section, the traverse across the headwall with nothing but 100m of air and then the pounding sea below me, I couldn’t quite see how it was going to be as straightforward as the guidebook suggested. In fact, it was. The holds kept coming, as did the gear, and to make things even better the wind couldn’t reach into the back of the zawn, leaving me to relish easy climbing, in a mind-blowing situation, in relative comfort!

Final groove in an awesome position! The view down the exit groove (climb done – big smiles all round:)

Incidentally, this was the first outing for my new “staff uniform”, the Ice Peak Softshell Jacket. I had toyed with the idea of a thin windproof, but it would have been just too cold. The Icepeak jacket was perfect, warm, waterproof and totally windproof. By the end of the climb it had become my new favourite climbing jacket. Better than a collar and tie!
Ad’s (H2H sponsored Athlete, now on his travels around the world – Good luck Ad’s.)
September 2007