Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Tea and tooling

By Kenny Stocker
13, Nov, 2014

Tea, coffee and dry tooling at White Goods 2014

Saturday morning 7 AM. The world was silent, the nation slept soundly in their warm beds, all that is apart from a small group of climbers awaking in pools of their own cold sweat. Only they could hear the summons; White Goods, White Goods, White Goods, a droning chant with the power of reeling in otherwise perfectly normal, god fearing, law abiding individuals just like you and I.

The weather gods had dared to intervene, to give the weak an excuse to bail. An unfavourable forecast had put many off, but they had underestimated the madness of the devotees, those climbers with the bluntest picks and the shortest crampon points, climbers needing their tooling fix.

Luck favours the hopeless, fine weather, warm weather, winners! Midmorning sunlight bathed the climbing amphitheatre causing a curious effect. Shirts were jettisoned, bare skin exposed, soft and fragile skin normally protected by evocatively named shell clothing against the cold elements and the cold steel of the tools.

Not climbing myself, I intended to make myself useful by serving up tea and coffee throughout the day. It wasn’t strenuous work so I kept my shirt on and started brewing.

If you have no idea what I am blathering about I was at the annual White Goods drytooling meet. If you know what that is skip a couple of paras, if not read on. Drytooling is a niche component of the diverse activity we call climbing. Not without controversy, it involves climbing with ice axes, crampons on rock, ice is optional.

White Goods is a small limestone crag at the foot of a golf course in North Wales, not even in Snowdonia. Its humble beginnings were as a fly tipping site, that is until a small group of climbers took things into their own hands and cleaned it up.

The crag appeared to be in fine condition. Every year I have returned it seems a little cleaner, a little more hospitable. It is noteworthy perhaps that a travelling Will Gadd held a dry tooling masterclass here a couple of weeks back. All the hard work put in by the White Goods pioneers is paying dividends, it is becoming a great training facility for drytoolers, it has even sprouted a suspended railway sleeper!

Excellent crag topos were once again provided by master of proceeding Ramon, this year taking over from Dave Garry. Here is Ramon on the weekends big ticker…

“Greg (Boswell) flashed Stump Man M11 after I prepped the route and rehearsed the moves for him. He also flashed Careful Torque M11, Neomania M10+, Ready Steady Hook M10 and a whole lot of other routes, the man is a machine.”

The most tenacious performance must surely have been from Massa, once on a route he just wouldn’t give it up. As the darkness fell Dave Garry abandoned all hopes of an early exit, his demo tools still high up on the headwall in Massas unyielding grip.

Our Saturday night hospitality was unavailable. The usually friendly Griffin Inn had recently changed hands, was not open so could not provide the food, camping and roaring fire we were accustomed to. Fortunately an alternative venue was found - the Plough Inn near Llandegla.

The evening entertainment was provided by team Scotland’s Ally Swinton. A missing HDMI cable meant we all huddled around his laptop screen, which in retrospect gave the presentation a very intimate vibe.

Ally has been living the life of a climber in Chamonix for a few years, his talk took us on a journey through some of his favourite routes as well as, and perhaps more importantly the people he enjoys climbing with. We were treated to an hilarious, entertaining, anecdotal talk with inspiring pictures. Successes, failed attempts, helicopter rescues and a dramatic story of a 700 metre avalanche from the Aiguille de Bionnassay. Despite the seriousness of the incident it was difficult to keep a straight face.

There were plenty of awards handed out in the evening, best improver, gnarliest veteran and of course top dog. There was no surprise that this year it went to Greg Boswell for his enviable ability to be able to get up anything without mincing around. I wasn’t aware of quite so many grinding, spark yielding falls this year, but Dougie from Scotland took three impressive dives to earn himself the best fall of the day award.

It is easy to take all this for granted, but as with any crag that has been pulled back from natures grip or mans ruin it is thanks to the work of the volunteers and enthusiasts who have channeled weeks of their own time and hundreds of pounds of their own money into equipping and cleaning the venue.

But bolts don’t last for ever, tat needs replacing with chains and belay anchors need to be kept secure. At the end of the evening a pint glass was handed around for donations to an unofficial bolt fund, this is long overdue and it received warm reception and generous donations. It seemed apt that this event, which is free to attend, was the place to do this. Hopefully this will help ensure the security and continuing development of the venue.

Once again the event was supported by.. us, DMM and e-climb. Good to see some new faces as well as a lot of familiar faces over the weekend. From what I heard most people had some unfinished projects.. training for next years event starts now!

  • Google+

In pictures

No Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.

Daring Deeds

A bloody long way North
Pete Whittaker takes of along on his bloody long trip
Five Ben Nevis Ridges in a Day
A new take on some Scottish classics
Serra da Estrela - Our Backyard
Daniela & Paulo tell us about their local haunts
Himalayan Adventures: Shan-Ri - Part 2
Part 2 of Paulo's search for a virgin summit
Himalayan Adventures: Shan-Ri - Part 1
Seeking virgin summits in the Himalayas
Ant and The Whale
A mountain journal short on Ian Almond
Salbit Westgrat - Alpine Training at its Best
Tom Ripley heads to Salbischjen for some E1 fun
Mont Blanc in a day
Anna Wells attempts the ultimate "day hit"

More from Deeds

News

Join us for the long easter weekend.
come along and catch nature off guard this weekend.
Competition Winners Begin Their Adventure
Winners of the Boulder Adventure competition depart on their trip
Vision of Adventure
Big pillow auction funds go to Vision of Adventure
So what is adventure?
A question of adventure
Erb’s Palsy Group Go Climbing
Climbing and caving experience day for children with Erb's Palsy
Alpkit Adventure Weekender
Join us in store for an adventure filled weekend
Castle Manor’s Camp Out
Building skills, confidence, and resilience in the outdoors
Adventures for Life Skills
Building life skills through a 19 day adventure in the Scottish Highlands

More from News

Develop

What’s so Genius About the Jeanius and Sequence Jeans?
Designer Ronnie discusses denim development
Illuminating our Head Torch Development
Developing a new range of head torches
Bags more packs in our range
New packs for you to put your kit in
Gripping Developments In Gloves
A whole new glove range: the inside story
The low-down on Polygiene™
Wear more, wash less: you can't get simpler than that!
UK-made climbing packs
Developing Ibex and Chamois
Gravitas Lightweight Activity Waterproof
New activity shell coming soon
Ekins on the Zhota
Alex Ekins reports back on using the Zhota tent

More from Develop

Spotlight

What’s So Wonderful About Wool?
Nature's technical fibre
How to Choose a Down Jacket
A handy guide to down jackets
How to choose a head torch
Buyer's guide: which is the best head torch for you?
Cuillin Ridge Traverse: Ten Top Tips
Tips to stay safe on the Cuillin Ridge Traverse
Where to Climb in the Peak District
Peak District Climbing Venues
Top Tips for Winter Climbing
Ramon Marin's winter climbing guide
The Who’s Who of Alpkit Backpacks
Navigating our new range of packs
Apogee Jacket: Worry-Free Warmth
Reviewing the Apogee Synthetic Jacket

More from Spotlight

Kudos

More from Kudos

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness

CLOSE

By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions