Saturday, 20 February 2010

Crib Goch - another amazing day

With a lot of fresh snow lying around I thought I would head onto Crib Goch instead of wading up a powder filled gully. I parked in the Llanberis pass and enjoyed blissful solitude as I stomped up to Cwm Glas and the start of the north ridge. This gave a good airy stroll with a couple of exciting steps to reach the east ridge - which was busy. My late start meant that a nice trail had been made along the crest to the pinnacles so it all felt pretty straight forward today - just a tricky and exposed move or two to gain the last pinnacle. From there I carried on along Crib y Ddysgyl to the top of Carnedd Ugain, all on amazing snow. After rescuing someone from the top of Parsley fern gully I ran and bumslid my way down it in a couple of minutes before ambling back to the van.

I cant believe how many amazing winter days out I have had this year is North Wales - its just been stunning - and there's no end in sight at the moment!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A great week of work and play

I've had a brilliant last week of work and play and sitting at home with a brew in hand I have that slightly smug feeling of knowing that I'm lucky to live in such an awesome place. This winter keeps rolling on and long may it continue! Bryn and I made an ascent of the classic Sinister Gully III, 4 in upper Cwm Glas today. Its a good route although the difficulties are a little short lived. The crux icefall was in great shape but care was needed on some of the snow slopes. (More fresh snow falling now so watch out for avalanches!)

On Tuesday I took out Rob, Rowen, Ian and Luke for a Mountain Leader refresher day to prepare them for an upcoming assessment. We spent the morning near Nant Peris looking at ropework before spending the afternoon in the Moelwyns brushing up on navigation strategies and techniques. There was 3 - 4 inches of fresh snow and when the sun came out it was simply stunning!
Good luck for the assessment boys!

At the weekend I had two days at Tremdog rock climbing in the sun (apart from Sunday afternoon) with Davie and Rob - we manage to climb Boo Boo, Oberon, Poor Mans Peutery, Rio and Yogi - not bad for a first weekend of multipitch climbing - we even had time to do a few abseils as well.

Friday - had a great day out up the North ridge of Tryfan with Dean and co. on his 40th Birthday (he doesn't look it so dont tell anyone how old he really is). It was an exciting ascent with a few wintery sections at the top.

Thursday - see photos below

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The best place on earth...

Well maybe a bit of an exaggeration... but Snowdonia showed its best form this weekend. I went up in to Cwm Cneifion on Saturday where winter still holds sway. I went up with friend Helen and we soloed up Tower Gully, down Easy Route, up Hidden Guly - all on perfect neve - and then had a play on some ice. All under blue skies and sunshine. There was even a cloud inversion to the south. I had friends rock climbing at Tremadog - just 30min drive - in T-Shirts and others surfing on Anglesey.

After a few beers last night (celebrating a great victory) I had a lazy start then headed to the slate quarries for some rock climbing - my first in over 2 months! We had a great session in the sun ticking a few E2's and E3's. Its good to try and keep you hand and more importantly your head in gear this time of year so that you can hit the ground running when spring comes!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

More Scottish Fun

I'm back in Wales now after another awesome week up in Scotland. The highlight of the week was an ascent of the Forcan Ridge on the Saddle. This is a fantastic grade I/II winter scramble with a short abseil to pass a tricky step at half way. We had fine weather and good snow from the base of the ridge. Photos below:

Unfortunately the weather turned bad the next day so that put on hold plans for the classic 'five sisters of kintail'. The lowlight of the week was having to wake up at 3am to dig out our snowhole entrance to prevent asphyxiation in a snowy grave!

I got the train back from Fort William, which turned out to be an excellent choice - as well as being environmentally friendly the section between Fort William and Glasgow has to be one of the most scenic journeys in the world. I was blessed with fine weather, blue skies and snow down to 100m. The views across Rannoch Mor were breath taking.

All this time spent in Scotland recently has got me thinking about Munro bagging. For those that don't know a Munro is essentially a Scottish peak over 3000ft. There are 284 of them and many a mountaineer has a desire to 'bag' them all. This has always seemed pretty geeky to me - the whole idea of climbing a mountain just to it tick off the list has never really appealed to me, especially as there are many amazing mountains below 3000ft. However having climbed a fair few now I am starting to harbour a small ambition of doing them all over my life time. What really appeals to me is that many of the Munros are very remote and require an expedition mentality to climb - walking into a bothy or wild camping is required for some, others are best accessed by boat and they will all take you to some amazing mountain environments.