There are often so many routes you can pick to ascend a popular mountain, especially in the UK. So why is it that some people want to take a harder way up to the top?
A question I would never ask!
I’m a climber, so taking a challenging route is what I do.
However I have hill walker friends that don’t understand why I would ever want to take a more vertically challenging route?
Mary-Ann had bought the Garry Smith Scrambling guide book to North Wales, wanting to give it a go after her Women’s Winter Mountaineering course and a day scrambling (grade 1&2s) last year. She had picked a few Grade 1 and 3 scrambles that she wanted to do including Tryfan’s classic North Ridge, Briskly Ridge and Cneifon Arete. I had never before scrambled in North Wales before and was excited to see what it had to offer.
The second day was where Mary-Ann first let on that she was enjoying the climbing aspect of scrambling. With a warm up route of Seniors Gully (1-) continuing onto Cneifon Arete, where we pitched the first two pitches, making it feel like a climb rather than a scramble. Whilst scrambling grade 1’s can feel like a technical walk, grade 3 scrambling tends to be low grade climbing that often warrant the use and knowledge of rope technique.
The end of our second day brought on the issue of what to do for our final day in North Wales. I proposed the option of doing another grade 3 scramble over the option of more walking and a grade 1. I noticed a feindish glint in Mary-ann’s eye at the mention of more climbing, had I turned her to the steep world of “silly business”? Deciding on the combination of a grade 3 (Wrinkled Tower) and a grade 1 (North Ridge) on Tryfan to end the weekend off.Convinced I had converted Mary-Ann into a Mountaineer, she later confirmed my thoughts by without even thinking turning round and looking back down at the route and saying “that was a really nice route” on a grade 3 scramble!
Did I play a part in the corruption of a hill walker, maybe, but I think it was in her all along, ready to be let loose with a little help from some friends.
Rory Southworth is a climber, runner and hiker mostly found in the Lake District.Currently experimenting with barefoot/natural running, Rory is an ambassador for Xero Shoes, Sigg, Trek Bars and Ascendancy Apparel.
Upcoming adventures include Wainwright’s Coast to Coast and a Lands End to John o’Groats cycle through most of the mountain areas of the UK.
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