Just Spent the Weekend at North stack, Gogarth. For some reason I had a strong kind of obsessive desire to do “The Bells, The Bells”.
The Bells was the first climb to get the grade of British E7, Climbed by John Redhead in 1980. It weaves a tortuous and complex diagonal line across the face and is described as being unthinkably bold.
After work on Friday, me being my optimistic self I headed to North stack wall, with the intention of doing The Bells. James (aka Fingers) and his brother Tim came along for support and to hopefully hold my rope. Unfortunately due to rough seas and a slightly high tide, we were just unable to reach the start of the climb without getting wet feet. So we settled with doing the direct of “Bluepeter”. Perhaps it was fortunate that The Bells wasn’t approachable, as it seemed to get dark really quickly!
Saturday, I headed back to North Stack with Giles and tree surgeon Sam. Because we were stuck for time again (due to the tide rising) I decided to get on with The Bells. All in all, it went really well and I successfully on-sighted it. But it didn’t come without a few heart-stopping moments! A number of handholds snapped on me, and on a couple of occasions caused me to pivot out from the wall like a door opening. This was followed by a uncontrolled scream/shout from Sam who was belaying.
Me clipping a sky hook on "The Bells The Bells" about to commit to the crux section.
As Sam was keen to give “The Long Run” a shot before the tide got too high. I abseiled off to strip the gear. I was pretty shocked to see the state of the peg I had clipped. It had almost completely rusted through and moved a lot!