Andy Kirkpatrick talks a lot of sense but in the end it depends what you want it for, and I suspect his activities need something a bot gnarlier than lots of people's lots of the time.
Vapour Rise Flex / Lite in it's various guises over the years is really useful stuff. And personally I don't want a hood on every layer in my system. (I was really pleased when Rab brought out the hoodless version of the Boreas pull-on). Plus if I want to use the Vapour Rise with a hat, or a brolly, or on my bike, then a hood is largely redundant and potentially inconvenient.
Some of us were busy seeing nobody on Foel Goch, south of Cerrigydrudion, on Saturday, and on Allt Fawr above Blaenau Ffestiniog on Sunday.
In the past month or so we've also enjoyed empty or near-empty walks up Moel Hebog, Tal-y-Fan, Maltraeth Sands to Abermenai Point, Moel Tryfan, Padarn Woods, Elidir Fach, Moel Maentwrog and Graig Wen.
It's almost 40 years since I first went walking in North Wales but with a decent look at the map and a bit of imagination it's still possible to tread fresh ground, avoiding the crowded honeypot hills, and it's amazing how rarely these overlooked places disappoint when you do explore them.
We've also looked at Glyndwrs Way but while we've done a few bits in the course of day walks the logistics for the whole thing have always seemed a bit problematic.
Yes, very nice. Sometimes the "small scale" outlying areas are well worth a visit. We had a week in a cottage at Woodlands south of Coniston Water a couple of years ago, it really is the Lakes in miniature, and we finished with a walk over Hampsfell on our last day.
We were out on Saturday, repeating a walk we we're first drawn to by the unusual sight of a large patch of bluebells high up on an open hillside - Foel Goch, visible from the A5 shortly after Dinmael Raise as you (normally) race towards Snowdonia. The bluebells were there alright but didn't photgraph all that well, unlike the ones in the woods outside Llangwm on our return leg, which were absolutely stunning.
Foel Goch turns out to also be a fantastic viewpoint with a 360 degree panorama of North Wales - from the Clywdians to Llantysilio Mtn and Eglwyseg, on over the Berwyns and Arans down to Cadair Idris, back up the Arenigs and Rhinogs, on via Nantlle Ridge and the Moelwyns to Snowdon, the Glyders and Carneddau back to the coast. Amazing for such a modest hill.
Add to that good, close sightings of a kestrel, a buzzard, and a red kite and all in all it was a pretty good day.
FWIW Dave wasn't actually an American climber. He was British, but went out to the States in the 90s to pursue his passion for climbing and writing.
I was fortunate to know him for a year as we shared a Masters course (and a student house) in Lancaster in 89/90. He climbed way, way above my grade but wasn't in any way flash about it, there really was no edge to him, a nicer bloke you couldn't have met.
He was very bright academically too, and torn between pursuing a business career or his love of climbing. In the end he went to the U.S. and ultimately combined both.
Although I hadn't seen him since we left Lancaster, the news of his death came as a great shock. Who can say what he wrestled with to resort to taking his own life, but for the Dave I knew it just seems like a tragic shame and a bright light gone out way too soon.