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International Climbing Meet 2006

UK / North Wales / Plas y Brenin

7th-14th May 2006

Last year I went with Rajesh Gadgil & Harish Kapadia for a climb in Nashik Area to  accompany British Climber Jim Fotheringham. After the climb Harishbhai asked me about participation in the International Rock meet organised by British Mountaineering  council. Without any hesitation I accepted the invitation though it was a self sponsored event.  It was a great honor for me actually accepting the invitation came from Harishbhai the great  personality in this field.

6th May 2006 Himalayan Club President Dr. M. S. Gill flagged off Indian Representatives for  the meet on the occasion of opening new office of Himalayan Club. Our team members were  Cyrus Shroff, Shripad Sapkal & Myself. Rajendra Wani & Rajesh Gadgil helped us to cleared  the airport formalities. We traveled to Manchester via Heathrow.

At Heathrow Airport the immigration officer hold us for some time since it was first time for  Shripad to visit UK rather out of India visit. Finally it got cleared and we were relaxed.  But the relaxation didn't kept for a long since after reaching Manchester, I got to knew that  , I lost my digital camera. Their was less time for me to trace out since the pick up bus was  waiting for all international climbers at Manchester Airport. During the journey of 200  miles we were discussing about all new faces, some of them are from non-English speaking  country & with funny dresses. We got to interact few of them during the journey.

We reached the famous Play y brenin the outdoor center at 6:00pm. Initially after the  completion of the registration formalities we helped ourselves for the tea and then the real  interaction with all climbers. Dave & Becky the host from BMC interacted each one of us.  Becky was a very well organised sweet lady. After the dinner we were allocated rooms to  spend next 7 days.

The place Plas y brenin one of the nicest place I lived in. A lake nearby & mountains on  both the side. Sometime one can see the Snowdon the highest mountain of Wales. Luckily the  weather also was good for climb.

But unfortunately the next day(8th May) after the breakfast Dave informed all climbers about  the weather forecast where we might need to climb in the rain. Woh... It must be a unique  experience to climb in the rain. We visited Tramadog where as per the host rocks were dry.  But prediction was underestimated and we climbed a route of the grade VS(Very Severe) with  my host Davis. Davis was a 55 yr old climber climbing since from last 30 yrs. He climbs E1  grade of British climbing. The climb was of 3 patch where I lead the second patch. As per  Davis due to rain the climb grade went up to HVS. When we reached on top we both were  totally wet. We found a place for abseiling and then later visited a coffee shop. Sipping  coffee was enjoyable in that weather. Like us many other climbers were enjoying tea/coffee  along with our packed lunch. That evening Plas y Brenin host presented some of the climbing  clips and we were thrilled watching them.

So Next five days schedule was of similar fashion. Luckily weather was good all the time  except the second last day of our meet. On 3rd day of the meet I presented Climbing near  Mumbai some of the pictures which I carried in my laptop.

Remarkable event for me was climbing with Alan Hinks. The First Britisher who climbed all 14  8000mts peak. He is 55 yr old now but looks very strong and very much careful about his  equipment. We did a route called brant 345 ft of the grade HVS. He lead entire climb. And  during the climb got to learn some of the safety methods from him. After reaching the top we  couldn't able to find the route to descend so we spent almost 3 hrs reach the base from where  we started. Since he was about to present his climbing presentation we windup and return  home as fast as he can like the way he climbed the Brant.

Another remarkable event is climbing at Gogarth. The sea cliff's. To climb the sea cliff one  has to abseil to the base of the cliff which itself is breathtaking. I had to pea once on  the way. I climbed with Colin Hawes who climbs HVS graded routes. He built climbing wall as  a profession. I made a deal with him to get some of the equipment specially camming devices.

Other host were Jim Hall. In all I did total 9 routes. Climbing the Slate quarries was also a  unique experience. Also we did some climbing practice on the artificial wall during the  stay. We visited DMM equipment manufacturing factory once. Also we visited Joe Brown  equipment shop to memorize the great British climber.

So overall it was a great experience. M sincere thanks to BMC & HMC specially Harish Kapadia  & Rajesh Gadgil to avail such opportunity.

Written by: Rajan Rikame

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