Friday, 9 October 2009

Rhinogs trip part one

The summer holiday means a hiking trip. This one had been in the planning stages for a while-My last trip had been in February and I'd been fiddling with kitlists since then. There was a fair bit of untested kit in there, but by the end it had all been comprehensively tested! Part way through the trip I started videoing stuff. The camera work is a bit ropey becuse I could only use it on the end of my arm!
pack-murmur 220
Shoulder pouch-lowe alpine camera 50
tent-Gatewood cape 311
inner-6 Moons serenity 198
stakes and pouch-TN carbon 30
sleeping bag-PHD minim ultra 350
Sit mat/ food cosy-section of CCF 20
sleeping pad-Neo air 270
food bag-Team IO cuben (med) 6
cooking pot-Snowpeak solo 105
cup-disposable 500ml 5
stove-Caldera cone 60
Firelighter-disposable lighter x2 40
utensils-Tibetan long handle spoon 17
Cloth-1/4 bandanna 7
medical kit-Homemade 20
head torch-Photon 10
knife-SAK 22
Stuff sack-trekmates 4
hat fleece-25
insulation-phd ultra vest 150
windshirt-Rab neutrino 70
over-trousers-Mountain laurel cuben chaps 39
campshoes-plastic bags 25
water bottle-mineral water 25
bladder platy-1l 25
hip flask-nalgene 53
water treatment-aqua mira 30
poo- trowel-MSR blizzard stake 22
gps-Geko 80
Compass-Silva mini 8
safety-whistle 5
Total 2301
With camera 2476
add paperback 2676

My rhinogs trip started out with glorious sun. It was a long trip to Barmouth and it was very difficult not to drink all the guinness I had brought with me- in fact it was impossible and so I started my walk with somewhat of a fuzzy head. I bought a packet of chips to soak up the booze and donated the last of my change to the lifeboats so that I wouldn’t have to carry it. I do enjoy drinking and walking, although the somewhat steep pull up out of Barmouth did dent my enthusiasm slightly. Luckily I only had to walk for about ten minutes before I found a flat shelf overlooking the sea. I brushed aside the sheep turds and threw up the tent. I was carrying a gatewood cape which allows fly only pitching and so I inflated the neoair and put it straight on the ground. While my tea rehydrated, I sat on a rock and read my book- JG Ballard’s Crash. The opening is incredibly intense and it’s a great book but it jarred really badly with my surroundings, obsessed as it is with urban decay and mechanised transport. In the end I sat back and looked at the view, breaking my promise to leave the Tobermoray I had brought for the rest of the trip unopened.
Unsurprisingly, I slept well. I was walking by 7 o’clock. The day’s walk was something I had looked forward to for a long time- a long ridgewalk into the heart of the Rhinogs. I had planned a short day with an early camp so that I could have a wander about and maybe a swim in one of the lakes. The weather was overcast, however, and as I approached Yr Lethr, a large bank of mist and rain rolled in. At first it was only spitting, but I put on my waterproofs anyway as I wanted to test them. I was using a tent/poncho combination and had teamed it up with some cuben fibre rain chaps from mountain laurel. I had actually hoped for a bit of rain, but I wasn’t expecting the blasting I got a few minutes later. In the mist, I missed the path and ended up stood on the edge of a cliff, trying to hang onto the wildly flapping map. After retracing my steps I picked my way down a rocky and steep path. I met the only people I was to see the entire trip, who gave me an odd look, as I greeted them dressed in two white bin bags and a big silnylon sack! As I descended to Lyn Hywel, I lost the path again and ended up clambering over scree slopes and through thick heather. I supplemented my diet with the bilberries that grew in great numbers as I went. I had planned to camp next to the lake, but the ground was absolutely saturated with standing water in places. I wandered around for a bit but nothing sprung out at me as a better site and so I tried to pitch. Here there was an issue- pitching a tent I was wearing. It is possible to do it from the inside, but that did necessitate crawling around in puddles. Eventually I gave up and got out. I can pitch the cape pretty quick and the rain had dropped so I received only a minimal wetting before I nipped back inside. It was only 3.30, and I was hoping that the rain would stop so I put on a brew and got into my sleeping bag. My top dried very quickly, as the arms were only a bit wet and I dozed for a while. The rain didn’t let up. In fact, it got worse. By 7.00 I had finished my book and eaten my tea. I tried to go to sleep and managed for a while until at about 10, I was woken by the tent fly pressing into my face. One of the pegs, a TN carbon had lost it’s top and the hook that attaches the beak of the cape to the guy had come free. I rummaged around, using my sit mat to

keep my arm out of the puddles in the porch and put the peg in at a steeper angle. All was well until an hour later when I was woken by the tent fly pressing on my face again! The weather was even worse, and the wind had changed direction so it was blowing directly onto the porch of the tent. There is a greater area of material here, and the force of the wind had caused the hook on the beak to fail. It had flown off, I knew not where, plus the topless peg had allowed the fly to come free again. I crawled around, with my torch between my teeth, praying that the entire tent wouldn’t launch into the night. Eventually I pegged the beak directly to the floor. The fly came free a third time an hour later at which point I got up, moved the topless peg to a different spot and spent the rest of the night worrying about it needlessly. In the morning I assessed the situation. In fact the tent had stood up the battering well. One component had failed, (six moons have replaced it without question) but it was an exposed spot- the actual tent was fine, and moved about a lot less than my Laser comp. All this in a shelter which weighs less than 550 grams. The weather was still poor but I pulled my motivation together and moved off.


The Dude Abides said...

Hi there. Just came across your blog and enjoyed the trip report.

Being woken in the night with the tent on your face is always a treat! See the poncho tarps about before but not in the UK. Looks interesting.

minimalgear said...

I'm really coming round to the poncho idea, quite a lot of people say they never bother with waterproof frousers, just get wet and dry out and really, it's very similar to that