Vember Passes Away

Vember, CloggyUKC News©

The classic Cloggy E1 Vember was named after the daughter of Mrs Williams who ran the Half-Way House cafe on the railway up Snowdon. As reported in the Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald, Vember has recently passed away and UKC offer condolences to all who knew her.In this news item we look back at that classic era on the Black Cliff.Speaking of the route and of the name, Joe Brown wrote in his book The Hard Years: “One of the first breaches we detected in the defences of Cloggy, that might reveal a new route, was the climb now known as Vember. I had first noticed it when climbing Curving Crack. Vember was the name of Mrs Williams' daughter and the family looked after the Half-Way House on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. Cloggy© jim jones, Aug 2009During the period of strict rationing after the war they helped us with items of food and an occasional bucket of coal to keep the fire burning in a derelict house that the Valkyrie sometimes used near the railway. We were also given addresses where bacon and other scarce foodstuffs could be bought without producing a ration card. The reception extended to our parties earned the Williams family our undying gratitude. Mrs Williams and Vember had remarkable eyesight. They would keep a watch for us coming up the track. Long before another human being might spy us we had been identified and tea or a light snack, according to the time of day, would be ready when we tramped in to the cafe.” Mike James, an active climber of that generation, reminesces:”In Peter Harding's guide to Llanberis Pass (known as “Harding's Bumper Fun Book”) the appendix shows some new climbs on Clogwyn d'ur Arddu, including “Vember. 310 feet. Exceptionally Severe. A very difficult and exposed route. First ascent J. Brown, D.Whillans Oct 13 1951.”The modern climbs around it are mostly as far above it in difficulty as Vember itself was relative to the old routes on Cloggy. It wasn't until several years after the young woman Vember had moved on from the Halfway House that the climb named after her became the target of a new wave of climbers following on from the Rock & Ice Club.The present year we are in, 2009, sees the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, while purely in a climbing context it is the 50th anniversary of the finest summer hitherto experienced on Cloggy, with weeks of sunbaked dry slabs and walls, the Black Cleft merely damp, and Moss Groove dry. Evening climbing in the sun was a marvellous experience on a crag more known for its swathes of mist and dripping slabs.The top climbers were of course pressing ahead with harder and harder ascents, but the large masses of ordinary climbers were beginning to realise that they could have a crack at the earlier Rock & Ice routes. Llithrig and Vember were early targets, and I can remember being led up Vember by Dave Gregory. The lower crack was not a lot different from our familiar gritstone cracks, but the second pitch was ferociously steep and difficult, and of course very exposed, an exposure enhanced by the sheer awesome size of the cliff around you, making it an unforgettable experience. Jack Soper once remarked that if you stood with your back to Cloggy and looked down the valley, you could still feel it behind you as a looming presence.”Thanks go to Dave Pickford the use of his photograph. You can see more of Dave's photography at photo originally appeared on PlanetFear.Mike James also wrote An Epic on the Badile. Diesen Artikel inkl. Bilder auf anschauen