Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Short Clip of Jim on New Dawn

Northern Limestone

It is always exciting to head somewhere new - it gives you a whole different psyche and outlook. It has been somewhat of an oversight on my part that I had not visited Malham Cove - a bastion of sport climbing and an arena of immense, overhanging limestone walls.

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

Adventure on the Llyn Peninsula and the Tal-y-Fan fell race: Perfect weekend!

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

Conwy Walking Week - Finding your way navigation course

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!