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Brett Dennis has climbed with Wild Wales on several occasions and kindly sent us this article detailing his experiences.

brett dennis climbing in walesIn July 1999, I had my first experience of Wild Wales and have been returning on an annual basis ever since. The original Wild Wales advert struck a very personal chord – wild and remote climbing on high mountain crags, away from the crowds and finishing with a summit.

About 12 years previously, I had climbed part 'though not all, of a well-respected rock climb on Tryfan and it seemed that the best way to actually finish the route was to find a local guide whose philosophy was similar to mine.

Having first climbed whilst at College, then taking a 10 year break to pursue other sports, I found myself living in Kent with ready access to it's Sandstone crags. Immediately following my first Wild Wales trip I joined the local climbing club and have been climbing on a regular basis ever since both outdoors and in.

What has made the Wild Wales experience special for me has been the focus on remote but high mountain areas with a clear objective of completing a climb of quality. Books like Ken Wilson's Classic Rock and Steve Ashton's 100 Best Climbs have been an inspiration to many and the thought of actually climbing those routes with a competent leader is a major attraction. Like many other sports, playing with someone better than yourself will inevitably improve your own game. At Wild Wales, part of the preliminary planning involves the client's objectives and personal 'wish list' of potential routes.

Whilst not deliberately aiming to 'tick off' the recognised routes it is a wonderful feeling of achievement to successfully climb a route 2 or more grades above your own leading level. A route with a 'Star' in the guidebook usually means that it has more than it's fair share of excitement – either position, difficulty or sheer exposure. It has frequently been an advantage to have the local knowledge and experience of the Wild Wales guides to escape the queues at the popular 'classics' and seek out a lesser known climb of equal quality in blissful isolation.

brett dennis rock climbing with wild walesLong mountain routes invariably mean long walk-ins but with Wild Wales you are usually guaranteed an approach along little-used paths and sometimes no path at all. Local knowledge both contemporary and historical adds that extra little detail to the overall experience.

Over the last 4 trips and 13 Wild Wales climbs, I have climbed in both sun and rain but can honestly say I have never had a bad experience. Each trip, 'though different, has resulted in a major sense of achievement. The company has always been first class and the philosophy consistent throughout – no crowds, big mountains, carefully chosen routes, long days and fantastic locations.

I am already looking forward to the next trip.

Brett Dennis

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