Tuesday, 29 December 2009
Snowdon from Glyder Fawr
We then climbed down into Cwm Cneifion and decided on Hidden Gully - a great little grade 2 with a couple of icy steps. It was in great condition and a real joy to climb. We finished the day off by descending the Gribin Ridge - a summer grade 1 scramble.
Take care out there folks - the rescue teams have been very busy and the paths are very icy! In fact the most dangerous part of yesterday was walking down from Llyn Bochlywd. The weather here now is properly grim - windy with sleet, and snow supposed to be arriving soon.
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Hope Santa brought you everything you needed - I got a stack load of warm socks... not complaining though, I can never have enough socks!
I'm back at my Mums in Cheshire eating a lot but looking at the forecast for more cold weather I think I will be heading back to Snowdonia soon for some more winter walking and climbing.
Enjoy the rest of the holidays!!
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
The next day we attempted to get up Creag Meghaidh but we got caught out in a fierce blizzard so retreated only to find the road completely covered - which made for an interesting drive to Fort William (especially as one of the rear brakes had seized!). We chilled out the next day as we were without transport and snowed in!
On Monday we made it half way up Aonach Mor on the Gondola then traversed round through very deep snow to its west face and climbed a very alpine style route in blissful solitude. It was quite hard work as the deep snow covered ice, frozen turf and cracks for gear. We topped out in the dark and navved down to the Gondola, where to our great fortune we managed to blag a ride down with staff, despite missing the last public Gondola by 2 hours. We earned our beers that night!
I'm really pleased with how my new La Sportiva Nepal Evo's performed - really comfy straight out of the box and they kept my feet toasty in spite of some pretty cold conditions. Money well spent!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Now I always like someone with a bit of ambition so I booked him and his team on a weekend to introduce them to the scrambling and the mountaineering skills they would need to ascend Mt. Blanc - I'm leaving the paragliding to them though!
So they arrived in Snowdonia late Friday night/Saturday morning and pitched up in the campsite despite torrential rain and gale force winds. Thankfully the weather had relented by the morning and we made our way the North Ridge of Tryfan, practicing various rope techniques as we went. As we summitted the weather came in a way so we bailed down western gully and got back to the car park by 4pm.
Rob posing on the Cannon, Tryfan North Ridge
With another poor forecast for the next day and another wild nights camping for Rob and the team (they could not be persuaded to stay in a bunkhouse!) we headed to Lion Rock at the end of Llyn Padarn. This is a great little venues for teaching rope skills and we covered abseiling, gear placement, building belays and then they all had a go a leading and ascending to the top of Lion Rock using a variety of climbing and scrambling techniques.
Daz on his first lead
We finished off, as all good days should do, with a pint of Guinness in the local. It was an excellent weekend and it is always a pleasure to teach and coach an enthusiastic and quick learning group. Rob and his team have booked on to a winter skills course and I will see them again in the Spring for more climbing and scrambling action - lets get some more rubber on the rock team!
Friday, 4 December 2009
Just arrived back in a still damp and now even colder North Wales after a fantastic 2 weeks in El Chorro. This awesome sport climbing location is just 1 hour from Malaga airport and at this time of year the temperatures are just perfect for climbing. I went out with friends Rhys and Lucy and stayed at a guest house called the Olive Branch, run by ex-pats Mel and Gary. We had a fantastic time there. It has a friendly and sociable atmosphere, great facilities - including a pool table and a swimming pool and is situated less than 5 minutes walk from the nearest climbing area. To visit their website follow this link: The Olive Branch.
The climbing is all on magnificent limestone, with harder routes taking steep overhanging faces with good holds, tufas and stalactites. I manage to climb my first 7c climb on my third try so it was a successful trip for me. It was even better to come back with a tan and find out that it has rained nearly everyday in the UK!
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Amazing colours on the slate
Its always nice to stroll through the quarries, to discover lost gems from times past and to soak up the amazing atmosphere. Thankfully as the first of the heavy showers rolled in off Snowdon we found a little shed, complete with old fire place, next to a winding house - probably used as a Foreman's office when the quarries were running. We quickly realised that climbing wasn't going to happen so we made our way back to Llanberis - getting fully soaked in the process!
You've got to try huh?
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Those of you who have experienced gritstone will know that it requires a certain zen - an ability to see holds where there are not, trust sloping footholds and smears and often to have the confidence to commit to insecure moves a long way above your gear!
On the drive to the crag there was a hard frost on the ground and the sun was filtering through a thin morning mist, its rays illuminating the last golden leaves hanging on the trees. I new it was going to be a good day. After a quick play on the boulders I seconded Jim up Smear Test E3 on the Lower Tier. Some damp was clinging to the rock here so we made the stroll to the skyline area which catches all the sun going. We quickly dispatched San Melas E3 and soloed up the short but excellent Wild Things E1 before getting stuck into Wings of Unreason E4. This has been on my ticklist for a long time and features a tricky undercut start to get established on to one the most perfect grit slabs around. The meat of the route involves a jump to reach the top - I was stood on the slab for about 20 mins psyching myself up before going for it and thankfully catching the top - wild!!! Unfortunately the photos below aren't mine - I forgot the camera so found these on the net.
Jump from here to the top!
We then headed down to the Third Cloud and I led the beautiful Appaloosa Sunset E3 just as the light started to fade and the cloud rolled up from the Cheshire plain like the incoming tide. Perfection!
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
First up a pair of Scarpa Charmoz: I needed a boot that would give me security and technical performance on scrambles, be light enough for everyday use and also take a crampon for winter walking/climbing. Waterproofness is a must! Like most purchases it is a bit of a compromise (unless you can afford 8 pairs of boots!), I have some slight doubts over the boots long term durability and waterproofness... but for comfort, weight and technical performance I think they will be great!
When it comes to working in winter lightweight waterproofs are just not good enough. As my old Berghaus salopettes have had it I purchased a pair of Mountain Equipment Karakorum pants - here is what ME have to say about them:
For mountaineers who like a high waisted fit trouser rather than salopettes. These durable pants are the first choice of mountain guides, ski instructors and many other outdoor professionals. They are made from our own exclusive Drilite Extreme fabric which is very hard wearing and now have an integral internal gaiter with a gripper hem.
FEATURES & BENEFITS:
- Full length reversed side zips with storm flaps for total extreme weather protection, the 2 way zips open completely and give versatility when changing
- Stretch Panels in the knees and seat for fantastic freedom of movement
- Fully adjustable, detachable braces and a half elasticated, high backed waist give the user full protection and a great fit
- 2-way front zip for added convenience
- Simple pull-aside seat saves weight and allows for easy toilet stops
- Fixed internal gaiters have a gripper hem to keep then in place plus gaiter hooks and anchors for added security
- Triple stitched reinforced crampon kick strips for durability
- Fully concealed tethered drawcords at leg hems
I'll let you know how I get on with them.
Monday, 26 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Aiguille Dibona summit
Jen on Visite Obligatoire on the Aiguille Dibona
The Ecrin Alps - La Berade
Gorges du Verdon - 300 m of immaculate limestone
Thursday, 20 August 2009
Work has been very busy In August and I have had 3 days of scrambling this week with Mark who is preparing for a trip to Jordan and Wadi Rum. Despite the wind and rain we managed 3 excellent days and covered a lot of ground including Direct start to seniors ridge (II), Cneifion Arete (III), Nor Nor Grove (II) and Little and North Gullies (I/II) on Tryfan east face.
Jen and I managed to get away for a sunny weekend to Pembroke - the climbing here is some of the best in the world - and combined with amazing beaches and sun make this a great place for a trip. If you've not climbed there you are seriously missing out! Big holds, steep routes, good gear, blue sea and fine ale... what more do you want? I can run guided weekends there if you are interested.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Jim of V12 was to be my partner for this trip - being a Malham devotee and having climbed 8a there - was going to show way! We stopped off at Chapel Head Scar in the South Lakes on the way over for a very quick hit. What a great crag - fantastic routes, clean, unpolished and solid limestone and a beautiful situation. Its well worth a visit for anyone climbing in the high 6's and into the 7th grade. I climbed Tufa King Hard 6c - fantastic tufa climbing and then flashed War Games a very meaty and classic 7b.
We then bailed over to Malham and I was overawed with the size and majesty of the place. A must visit spot for walkers and climbers alike. After my exertions on War Games I had a chilled out evening and just did the one route - Consenting Adults 7a while Jim had a look at the desperate Zoolock 8a. I then enjoyed a fantastic pint of Old Peculiar at the pub!
We returned the next day in the rain - however Malham is so overhanging it is possible to climb in the rain! I had a couple of goes on an amazing 7c called New Dawn but conditions where taking a turn for the worst with the moist air condensing on the rock. A great trip and I will definitely be back!!
Thursday, 16 July 2009
With a poor forecast we abandon plans for climbing in the Lakes and decided to stay closer to home. The weather for Saturday was supposed to be horrendous - so why not enter the Tal-y-Fan fell race - a gruelling 8 mile course starting and finishing in Rowen. I like running in the rain - but not in 20 degrees heat. The rain held off but the sweat didn't and I really had to push myself hard to get round in 1hr 28... pleased with this time as it was probably my first run for a couple of months.
On Sunday Jen and myself headed down to the LLyn Peninsula - where the sun always shines. For those of you who have never climbed in this quiet backwater (and I suspect that is most of you) you really should make the effort - especially when it is wet in the mountains. The climbing down this way does however require a certain amount of steadiness, commitment, an ability to deal with loose rock and maybe some form of mental derangement... but you will be well rewarded.
We headed to Craig Doris - which has a reputation for being extremely loose and scary. Walking down to the crag one thing is immediately apparent - the beauty and solitude of this area. Next, as you get to the base of the crag, is the quality of the rock - in some places absolutely shocking!
We got on an E1 called Full Sail, which is fairly steady, has reasonable rock though little in the way of gear for the first 20 metres. Keep your head together and you'll be fine.
We then waited for the tide to go out before getting on the rather perverse adventure of combining Knowing Her/Fascinating Witches/Scintillating Stitches giving 4 pitches at a grade of E2. This gives a straight up pitch followed by a 30m hand traverse, climb up 5 metres to hand traverse back to the original belay. Climb to the top... crazy but great fun.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
The Conwy Walking Week is in full swing with a huge variety of walking experiences available to all. I've been running the 'Finding Your Way' navigation walk on the hills behind Llanfairfechan this weekend. With the help of mountain leader Jenny Towill we introduced the art of mountain navigation to a great group of keen walkers. They quickly learned to identify features on the surrounding landscape in order to find their position on the map, take and walk on a compass bearing and use timings and pacings to estimate the distance they have covered on the ground. Great job team - you need to get out and practice those new skills, so go somewhere you have not been before, venture off the beaten track and enjoy the mountains!
Monday, 29 June 2009
Monday, 22 June 2009
If you are interested in coming along for a navigation course visit http://www.snowdoniamountaineering.com/Mountain%20Walking.html
Monday, 15 June 2009
We had the misfortune of being on Snowdon on Saturday - the first day the new cafe has been open - hence it was bedlam up there. Thankfully after the summit we got off the main tracks and were able to enjoy the peace of the mountains again!
The summit building cost £8million and is a year overdue - is it worth it? You'll just have to get up there and make your mind up for yourself!
Towards the top of Moel Elio we enter the clouds and Louise is glad she is with someone who knows where he's going! Visibility will remain at less than 20m for the next few hours. We're going well so we decide to carry on along the ridge to Moel Cynghorion and then after a little persuasion and encouragement on to the Snowdon Ranger path.
Louise is flagging slightly now but her good level of fitness and more importantly her stubborn attitude to succeed keeps her going. As predicted the cloud starts to break as we approach Snowdon summit - in fact we break through to see an amazing inversion. We look down in awe on a sea of cloud - only the summit of Snowdon is sticking out the top!
Good effort Louise - all the best for Kili!
Monday, 1 June 2009
I finally felt like I was up to the challenge so made the grunt up to the Cromlech on Sunday evening. By 6pm the heat had gone out of the day and a gentle breeze was blowing down the pass. As soon as I pulled on to the rock all my anxieties disappeared and I climbed like I only have done before in my dreams... smooth, flowing and uninhibited by fear. It was a very special evening.
Cheers for the belay Jon
Saturday, 23 May 2009
First stop - Glen Nevis: With low cloud, drizzle and wind we stopped off on our way up north for a stroll down this lovely glen. The rock climbing up there looked good but unfortunately damp! Walking up thorugh the woods with the river roaring through the gorge beneath us really took me back to some of the walks I have done in New Zealand.
Steall Falls, Glen Nevis
Next stop: Skye
Its been an ambition of ours to do the Cullin Ridge traverse - often described as the greatest mountaineering day out in the UK. It features 10 km of tricky scrambling, route finding, sections of climbing up to severe, several abseils and 3000m of ascent... then there is the walk in and out! With a poor forecast we decided to do some sea cliff climbing on sunday at Elgol.
The Cuillin Ridge from Elgol
We did 4 good routes as the weather turned out grand - but we couldn't help wishing that we were up on the ridge. We headed round to Glen Brittle to prepare for a 4am alarm call and a full day on the ridge. The day started well, if not a little cold and we made good progress over the first half of the ridge. Just as we were thinking the full traverse was on the cards rain clouds appeared on the horizon! By 2 we were over 2/3rds of the way round but had to bail off as the rain set in for the rest of the day - gutting. We heard the next day that some one had fallen in the wet conditions futher along the ridge and died - this just shows how dangerous the mountains can be in bad conditions.
Jen on the Inn Pinn
With futher bad weather forcast we got one more sunny sea cliff climbing day in on the north of the Island before we headed south and east to Perthshire for some more laid back walking, climbing and running around the town of Pitlochry.
The River Braan
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Bwlch y Moch is undergoing a bit of a revival at the moment thanks to the BMC. Crag clean up days have meant that routes formerly choked with ivy and vegetation have been rendered climbable and most recently a programme of tree felling has occured. They have removed a lot of the invasive sycamores (scary when they are dropping big trees down the fang gully whilst sat at the bottom of the plum!) which has made the jungle much more open - meaning finding the bottom of routes easier, the routes will dry quicker and there will be more sun for belays! There has also been work on some of the paths which is well needed!
For more info on the state of play at tremadog visit the wiki at www.tremdaog.wetpaint.com
Thursday, 7 May 2009
The sun came out for Vikki and Pete today, which made a nice change after the cloud and rain of the past week. We headed up to the Idwal Slabs - a fine multipitch play ground - to climb a 4 pitch V Diff called Hope. Both Vikki and Pete climbed fluidly and quickly, they also picked up some belaying and rope skills on the way. Our speedy ascent meant that we had time for some abseiling practice on the way back down. After a quick lunch we climbed the first pitch of Tennis Shoe Direct, VS, to give the team something a little bit more challenging. They passed with flying colours!
Friday, 1 May 2009
I definitely was beginning to feel slightly gripped. I'm 15 foot above my last runner having just made a tricky move. Feet on smears, fingers curled tightly over small, sharp crimps. I need a number 3 wire... i search frantically through my rack. Shit where is it. Realisation - they're both in the rock beneath me. Shit. Look around. Breathe. A reasonable rp goes in near my feet. I relax slightly. Then I see the light - Jims micro friend. It fits into the rock 3 slot perfectly. Job done. Climb now, shake out that pump. A big move via a pocket leads to the good rest on Left Wall. Only E3 from here...
Dinas Cromlech what a crag!
Sunday, 26 April 2009
We took Gavin to the Moelwyns for a second taste of multipitch climbing. The team pysche was not dampened by a shower during the walk in and we quickly quested up Slack - Gavins first Severe. You know when someone is putting the effort in when the climb draws blood! After a spot of luncheon we tackled the classic Kirkus Route Direct which features varied and at times exposed climbing. I would recommend the Moelwyns for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Ogwen and Llanberis Pass - its even a good bet in poor weather as the rock is extremely grippy!
Saturday, 25 April 2009
I wont blog on too much instead I'll put up a few photos...
Friday, 27 March 2009
Monday, 23 March 2009
I had a fantastic 5 days with a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Training group from Christleton High School. The weather was amazing and the group did exceptionally well. We spent some time looking at navigational techniques, emergency procedures and I took the boys on their first grade 1 scramble which they loved! They then headed off on their own for 2 nights out in the mountains - which included hiking over both Snowdon and the Glyders. A big well done to Oli, Mouldy, Boz, Gaz, Jez, Oli and Rhodri... good luck in Nepal!