Thursday 11 February 2016

Walking up a Welsh Mountain

Welsh Mountain 3

Six staff members from Emmaus Lambeth went this week to the Brecon Beacons on a team building exercise with the objective of climbing the 886m high Pen-Y-Fan mountain.  The team members Danny, James, Keith, Sanjiv, Matt and Dan were well prepared for all eventualities with warm clothes, good boots and even Matt had a whistle and a compass.  

Early on Tuesday we looked out of our cottage window, listened to the weather report and it was comforting that the report gave fine weather with light windy conditions.  We drove off collecting provisions for the journey and reached our base camp that was a car park at the bottom of the mountain at 9am and looked up nervously to see snow on top of the mountain.  A slight breeze was present and a clearly marked path was seen so we set off in good spirits.  Gradually the terrain and weather changed, the path was steeper and the wind stronger and at 100 metres from the top the wind became a fierce gale with ice and snow on the ground.  We all found keeping stable was hard and it was better to scramble on all fours or on our backsides when descending hollows.  Eventually under difficult conditions we made a decisive effort to reach the top and at the top we didn't stay long as our fingers and faces were becoming numb with cold due to a gale giving a high chill factor.

There were many climbers looking as if it was an afternoon stroll and some with dogs for gentle a walk in the park.  We arrived back at base camp at 12.30 feeling it was 5 in the afternoon and not believing we were there for such a short time.  The journey back to the cottage was relaxing and we were pleased to arrive, put the kettle on and appreciate a refreshing cup of tea!   James our leader said  "We all did very well and I am now planning the next trip".  Someone remarked "Not the North face of the Eiger".  James said "No perhaps K2".  This was definitely a team building exercise.