Object Number Fifty One: The Fourteen Peaks/Welsh Three Thousanders
Object Number Fifty Two: The Crampons Object Number Fifty Three: Rowena's Scooter
Object Number Fifty Four: Ron James Object Number Fifty Five: Len Kata's Tent
Object Number Fifty One:
The 14 Peaks/Welsh 3000s Challenge
Thank you to Chris Alston for this exceptionally energetic Object.
The Welsh 3000’s Challenge is a trek across the three mountain groups of northern Snowdonia, encompassing the Carneddau, Glyderau and Snowdon. From the start point to the finish point (Summit to Summit), it is approximately 24 miles long but an overall distance of over 30 miles should be expected. The challenge is often undertaken by fell runners and hill walkers in the summer months, ideally mid June or on the longest day of the year, 21st June. Since Ordnance Survey reproduced surveys in metric measurements, a fifteenth peak, Garnedd Uchaf, has been added. The hut provides the ideal location to prepare for a challenge of this magnitude and we have seen many Anabasis members successfully complete the challenge and partake in a few celebratory drinks afterwards. This event has been used as a bench mark for fitness prior to expeditionary club meets in the Alps and further afield, however my successful attempt was done on behalf of the Royal British Legion and in the company of Andy Murphy.
After a few visits to Garth to carry out a route recce of the three sections, Andy and I opted to commence our walk on 14 June 2003. Starting at first light, we ascended Crib Goch and made our way towards Snowdon, where we were fortunate to have the summit and views to ourselves for a brief period. We then descended towards Llanberis and side tracked down towards the foot of Elidir Fawr. From there, we tackled Y Garn, the Glyders and Tryfan in the scorching heat. We were fortunate to have our supportive family to meet us at various points to replenish our rations and water, however we were stood up at our first rendezvous point as my parents had caused the ultimate distraction by turning up to the Ogwen Car Park with baby Benjamin Murphy. We couldn’t complain as seeing him come along for the experience gave us even more motivation.
After a good feed and much needed hydration, we ascended Pen yr Ole Wen, this time accompanied by George Murphy who fancied a bit of a moonlit walk for old times’ sake. Clear skies and warm weather made the Carneddau relatively easy going as darkness fell. Andy and I weren’t at our best as we were both sporting numerous aches and pains from our time with the military, however we arrived at Foel Fras in a time of 16 hrs 20 mins.
We descended via Drum and met up with Di, Colette Murphy and Steph Alston who transported us back to the hut where we were treated to a fabulous bowl of Goulash and a glass of champagne. Very proud to have joined the long list of club members who have completed the 14 Peaks, many of whom completed it much quicker and in more extreme weather. In total, our effort was rewarded with donations of £760 for the Royal British Legion which made it all worthwhile. We look forward to hearing of further attempts at club meets. Good luck.The 14 Peaks: Snowdon, Crib-y-Ddysgl, Crib Goch, Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach, Tryfan, Pen-yr-Ole-Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewellyn, Foel Grach, Foel Fras. And the 15th: Garnedd Uchaf.
Object Number Fifty Two:
After labouring away at these Objects for the best part of the year it turns out that this particular beauty was, literally for anyone in a standing position facing the stove at Garth, staring us in the face.
This particular pair of crampons, it turns out, was cut from metal catering trays at the then Ford Factory at Halewood. Possibly the Ford Motor Company was considering diversification into the manufacture of climbing equipment but it seems more likely that it was a private project of one of the Duffy brothers who was at Fords at the time. Charmingly, this particular pair crampons turned up within a few days of my receiving a photo of my daughter Amy donning a pair for the very first time (on the Perrito Moreno Glacier, Argentina). I noted the many years since I donned my
own and seeing this picture prompted one member to observe: 'By the way, twin hasn't had his crampons on for even longer although they are quite useful for spiking the lawn!!' So Twin's crampons join Object Number Fifty Two in not seeing action in anger, or even mild irritation, on the hill. As if this Object has not charmed you enough already, now allow yourself to be charmed again: just as charmingly, Object Number Fifty Two turns out to be a close relation of two other Objects, namely the Square Frying Pan and the Pair of Ford Wellies.
Object Number Fifty Three:
Rowena's Vesta Scooter
They were romantic days of early beginnings and youthful dreams. There must have been the 'down' moments but I remember all as rosy.
The Object is not Ron James himself but his book, Rock Climbing in North Wales, always referred to as 'Ron James', or just 'Ron', and as such as likely to be 'he' as 'it' in pronoun form. First published in 1970, just a year before I first set hand to rock, it was, I think, the first compendium guide to Rock Climbing in Wales ('Wales' meant North Wales then, as if there was nothing to climb south of Tremadoc). There was a second edition in 1975, the only significant difference (that I remember) was the inclusion of A Dream of White Horses - It replaced Rap, also at Gogarth, which had appeared in the first edition. Ron appreared before the numerical grades (4c, 5a, etc) and the E numbers (E1, E2, etc) came along and so we had VS-, VS, VS+, HVS-, HVS, HVS+, ES-, etc. (There was nothing in the book above ES-). Despite Ron becoming out-moded and its 8 x 4 and quarter inches dimensions making it impractical for use 'in the field', it came to enjoy almost biblical status in our little group - Simon Letts, Paul Bliss, Ken Ainsworth, Stewart Prince. The status was such that Ron was inlcuded in a points system which gave, to any climb we succeeded on, 1 point to a VS, 2 to a Hard VS, 3 to an 'Extreme', 4 if it was in Ron James, and 5 if it was in Hard Rock. We took the grades from elsewhere, several of our 'Extremes' being given HVS+ in Ron. It meant that 12 points was the maximum possible and reserved for things like White Slab, Gogarth and The Grooves, with 'easier' things like Diagonal and Dwm coming in with 11 points. Ron was also handy in that he allowed for the occasional cheeky aid point which proved very helpful on 6-pointers like The Crucible and Plexus. We never got round to nominating an equivalent book for the Lakes or Scotland and that meant that the most points any climb away from North Wales could muster would be 8. So, it was utterly ridiculous, but it felt right because there was something special about our climbs in Garth's back yard. All but one of those 'Extremes' were of course E1s, but If we had known that Mousetrap eventually became an E2 we could have claimed 13 points for that one! (Ron, bless him, had it as a HVS-). One more little recollection - I found myself riding in a car once through Llanberis with a couple of male climbers, one of whom said that Ron (himself, not the book) had been seen climbing Cemetery Gates (7 points) with his wife, Barbara, and his companion observed 'that's a hard climb for a woman' (!) Ouch!
Object Number Fifty Five
Len Kata's Tent, or another visit to remote antiquity
(following on from Object 9). No photograph is known to exist, but there is a splendid image of the owner in Object 47.
Len, sadly, is no longer with us to present this Object himself so I
shall. We need to go way back to the make-do-and-mend, pre-affluence
times when folk kitted themselves out in ex-WD oilskin gas capes and
white sea-boot hose from the wonderful old Army and Navy Store on Byrom
Street ( remember the pervasive brewery smell?). My own gas cape cost
five shillings (25p)- well within my budgetary limit of
Some of us also wore “Joe Brown” hats like Bill Murphy’s (Object 30) but in more tasteful shades. I once overheard the great man himself ( Joe, not Bill ) selling one. “Best thing ever invented,” he announced but then paused and ( lest this should sound too large a claim ) modestly added, “for keeping your head warm.”
In those days much the best tent in the club was owned by George and Di Murphy. It was an Arctic Guinea, an expedition-proven design with so many guy-ropes it must have taken most of a week-end to put up and take down. Len tried to rival its weatherproof qualities by placing one old tent inside another, slightly larger, one. The result caused astonishment and curiosity. So when I mentioned that I had slept in it I was asked to describe the mysteries of its interior. I refused, fearing reprisals if I spoke without the owner’s permission. This is probably unfair to Len, who was a kind, considerate chap unlikely to unleash his unarmed-combat skills at me.
Rumours that the tent was involved in Len’s role as an international man of mystery, and that it contained CIA communications equipment, were unfounded. They probably arose from its resemblance to the Arab tents used by the CIA to camouflage its gear in the Middle East. Tent and owner are remembered with affectionate nostalgia.
(Thank you to Warwick Waterworth for this antique object).