Plans remade, 6am start on the 27th. Cool. So going to bed the temperatures were still -1/-3degC. At 5am the next morning i had a rude awakening. The ice was melting and Bob was on his way over! Stuffing shreddies and water down my throat i grabbed an assortment of sharp and melt things shovelling them into a sack and running out the door. On the road by 545am we headed high to avoid the 'warm' 2degC temperatures. Hitting poor road conditions we whacked out the snow chains. The race was on and we meant business.
Eventually we got to the layby and dumped the car. Humping our packs to the bottom Torpantau we could see it was melting slowly-for the moment at least. As we came up to the first ice steepenings we donned crampons, harnesses, axes, rope and all the other paraphenalia and began soloing up the easy ice until we stood beneath the main 30m pitch of the route.
Starting the main pitch of Torpantau Falls (III)
Managing to weave my way up between the hollow, melting, running, shelled ice i threaded a route up the ice bosses. Eventually coming to the final headwall few metres. Seeing a thin crack up high to my left i aimed for this, stuffing a decent cam in just as the crux of the route came up. Torquing the axe pick in this thin crack i moved up, reaching back out right to hook on any turf that was half frozen and jumping my feet up to by the cam. Give it another tug, Bomber!
Reaching up again hooking the picks through heather and other stream type veg i got some good 'uns. Running my feet up so my front point was back in the torque crack. Twist the shit out of it and go. Stand up, rock right. Done.
Was a brilliant pitch and well worth the III. Conditions improved slightly as we crept higher up the mountain but not by much, it must have been hovering at OdegC at the top. It wont be in for much longer and looking at the longer term forecast for this week, i doubt anything else will be.
So finally after a string of early non-starters i finally got some south welsh winter ice into my belly. Good stuff.