Walked in to Clogwyn Du on Sunday not expecting too much, maybe take some photos of the crag to see if the summer line of Hebinwi would go in winter.
As we approached the predictably black cliff I was pleasantly surprised to see a line of ice running the full height of Clogwyn Du left hand, including what looked like a direct finish.
Another team were not far behind, so we got our skates on, (or should that be crampons) and leaving one rope in the bag, quickly got ourselves established in the gully. I moved up onto the first pitch which soon becomes interesting, a rock rib splits the gully providing good hooks for the right axe, while the left uses the ice on the wall. Above, the gully turns into a narrow chimney and after placing some gear thin moves left lead to the ice. It was running with water but it seamed to be solid enough and six metres at about eighty degrees gets you to the belay.
Dave led the next pitch up to the chimney of the direct finish, another team were established at the stance so he took a hanging belay in the bottom of the chimney as he didn't seem to keen on the ice above.
This next section was really good fun, made more exciting by not having any ice screws.
I moved up placed a rock 3 in a icy crack as psychological protection and moved up using the thin ice on the left, another rock 6 on the right, then delicately commit to the blobs of ice and move up and left around an ice chandelier and on to easy ground.
Dave topped out and told me both pieces of gear came out!
Glad I didn't know when it mattered!
After leaving the gear at the top we descended back to the base of the crag to get photos of Hebinwi (will it go in winter? we'll have to wait and see...) then climbed back up via Clogwyn Du right hand.
An unexpected good day out.