The Ascent of the Crib Lem Spur

The Innominata Mountain Club had organised for its esteemed members to spend the weekend in the rugged Welsh mountains. The setting was a humble mountain hut in a picturesque location, perched high above the Llanberis valley. The grandeur of our surroundings aroused in us a singular determination to conquer one of the great peaks of the area. After much deliberation on the prior evening, the Crib Lem Spur, on the mighty Llech Ddu, beckoned. As we retired for the night, the elements outside bode ill for our chances of success.

The morning dawned grey and unwelcoming. After the usual matutinal rituals, eight dauntless souls travelled by motor car to the town of Bethesda. With stout boots and strong hearts our intrepid expedition began the gruelling approach. Sharpe accompanied us for the first part of the approach and then withdrew to pursue other endeavours.

Through deep bogs and atmospheric conditions designed to test our resolve, our little group pressed on. Eventually the fearsome precipice of Llech Ddu hove into view. Obscured by swirling cloud, it nevertheless exuded a forbidding and singularly unwelcoming presence.

Our way to the start of the main difficulties led up to the left of a tumbling cataract. Crawley spearheaded the effort to climb the long, gruelling slope. We toiled up the rugged incline for what seemed an eternity. After some time the rocks to our left arranged themselves into a ledge traversing the base of the grim spur above. We had grown a little separated, with Crawley arriving at the start first, followed at some distance by myself. Fletcher was next, with Leeson and Hardie in close proximity. Jones and Tindell brought up the rear.

The inclement conditions led the party to doubt the wisdom of proceeding with the ascent. Indeed Jones and Tindell chose to retire to the Bethesda hostelries. However for the rest of our doughty group, patent ambition won the day and we pressed on. Fletcher led the way up the start of the jagged crags, rendered all the more challenging for want of dry rock and warm hands. Presently we arrived at a formidable obstacle in the form of a table of rock fashioned into the shape of a tree. We attempted to turn the rock on its right, but this looked beyond the bounds of reason. Going over the top was eschewed, owing to the lubricious nature of the surface. Our only option appeared to be to turn the rock on the left. Felicitously this revealed an elementary means to access the next section of the climb.

Hardie Above the Treacherous Table Rock

By this time Fletcher, Crawley and Leeson had forged ahead, with myself and Hardie coming up behind. The ridge once again reared up, presenting a redoubtable buttress that blocked our path to the upper reaches of the ridge. In a misguided attempt to test my mettle, I chose to attack the perilous buttress directly, while Hardie, who was doubtlessly sounder of mind, chose a more prudent gully to the side. I paid for this lack of judgement by getting a boot stuck fast in a crack. I was on the verge of summoning assistance when the offending boot finally parted company with the vile crack and I was able to journey forth to the apex of the buttress.

Hardie High on the Crib Lem Spur

A few more obstacles of diminishing difficulty followed before we emerged, victorious, on the final easy slopes that led to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd.

As we gathered on the summit of this most splendid of peaks, firm congratulatory handshakes were exchanged. Such was the satisfaction at having etched our names into the annals of Innominata mountaineering that I believe I detected the faintest of smiles from several of the party.

The pleasures of a summit prandial interlude were disrupted by further precipitative and eolic phenomena. These inspired in us a fervent desire to proceed forthwith. Without consulting any cartographical documents or navigational instruments, we strode off confidently.

After a little time had passed the suspicion grew in our hearts that our path was leading us in the wrong direction. The lay of the land did not correspond to our expectations. Instruments and maps were finally consulted and we determined that we had indeed strayed from our intended course, heading towards Ogwen rather than Bethesda.

After adjusting our itinerary we pressed on with unyielding resolve to extricate ourselves from this unfortunate state of affairs. As we lost height we eventually emerged from the clouds and headed across to Cwm Pen Llafar, whereupon we re-joined the footpath we had traversed so much earlier on that eventful day.

Presently we encountered Jones and Tindell, who had passed a pleasant afternoon in a local hostelry. We regaled them with tales of our adventures. Adventures that will forever leave an indelible mark on our collective memories.

Summary for the TL;DR generation: We did the Crib Lem Spur scramble. It was a bit wet and we went the wrong way on the way down.


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