Monday, 29 June 2009

Summer hits North Wales

The sun has been well and truly in North Wales - its been soo hot that I've been driven to the sea! Had two fantastic days at Gogarth one of which involved the sea level traverse from Main Cliff to Parliament House Cave. An amazing adventure comprising climbing, jumping, swimming, squirming through cave, dodging jelly fish an over amorous seals. Great Fun!!!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Navigation Course

Well at least the poor weather is good for thing - running navigation courses! Had a great weekend running a course for Dave, Tom, Base Camp Pete, Lauren, Heather and Cherry. On Saturday we headed over towards Llyn Crafnant from Capel Curig, focusing on micro-navigation techniques. The team picked up the skills very quickly and by the end of the day they could interpret small contour features, estimate distance by pacing and timing and use suitable navigational strategies. On Sunday with a forecast of low cloud and fog we decided to head up onto the Glyders. The team put into practice the skills they had learned on Saturday and got us up the Gribin Ridge and across the Glyder plateau safely and efficiently despite the very poor visibility. Good work team!

If you are interested in coming along for a navigation course visit

Monday, 15 June 2009

Great days out on Snowdon

I've had 5 fantastic days working with the MoD, training up cadets in mountain walking skills. The team where great - very enthusiastic and picked up new skills very quickly. The week culminated in a 2 night expedition around Snowdon - taking in Liwedd, Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain. I think many of the group were surprised by the ruggedness of the terrain - a real eye opener.

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!

Training for Kilimanjaro

Louise wants to climb Kili - at just under 6000m it is the tallest peak in Africa and a major trekking challenge. So to see if she's got what it takes she books me for a day of mountain walking in Snowdonia. After a quick rendezvous at Pete's Eats we head out with a plan of Moel Elio and beyond. Louise sets of at high speed, she has also told me that she is a personal trainer. I worry whether I will be able to keep up with her! I suggest a slightly slower more sustainable pace and thankfully when we hit the first steep slopes she slows down!

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

Right Wall E5 6a

Right Wall... what a simple name but hugely evocative for those who aspire to climb this 50m blank wall of rhyolite. Dreams are made and broken here and many a talented climber has spent hours gazing up, wondering if they have what it takes. Right Wall was first climbed in 1974 by Pete Livesey, a climber who talent, dedication and vision saw him revolutionise climbing in the 70's. It follows a devious and bold line up the wall, linking lines of pockets and small holds that only appear at close quarters.

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