Sunday, 27 June 2010

What a weekend of climbing

I've been making the most of the fantastic weather, packing lots of climbing before the rain arrives next week. On Friday after work I climbed with Lou on Dinas Mot and we fired up the classic Plexus E1 and the odly named Hornets attack Victor Mature E2. Two great routes on amazing rock.

Yesterday I met up with 'Strong' John and paid a visited to Clogwyn Gafr in the Llanberis pass. This is a great little crag with excellent rock with a good selection of extreme routes. This was my first visit and I love the fact that I have been climbing in the Llanberis pass for 8 years and there are still area for me to explore. I climbed Diapsan E1 and Pulsar E3 whilst John managed 2 E5s - Outspan and Nectarine Run.

Today I climbed what could well be the best E2 in North Wales. John and I made the long trek up to Craig yr Ysfa on the side of Carnedd Llywelyn. It was well worth it and I climbed Aura - one of the best routes in North Wales - and Pinnaclisma. A great mountain day out.

MoD Mountain Walking Week

Last week I spent 5 days with students of Wellbeck MoD college taking a group of students out into the hills and introducing them to the hills of Snowdonia. It was a week of fantastic weather and the week culminated in a wild camp at Cwm Glas, below Grib Goch. Unfortunately I cant show photos from the week for security reasons. Need to know basis....

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Snowdonia's 15 Peaks

There are 15 peaks over 3000ft in Snowdonia and it has always been a challenge to ascend them all. Traditionally this has been a one day challenge... but unless you are an experienced hill walker, very fit and slightly masochistic, most people will get far more enjoyment in ticking them over a slightly longer period of time.

For the past three day I have been guiding Leanne and Steve in their mission to summit all of the 15. Doing it over three days is still a good challenge and gives three amazing, long days out in the mountains.

On the first day we conquered the Carneddau - we were even graced with a partial cloud inversion in the morning which turned into hill fog later. 7 of the 15 are ticked on the first day - Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llywelyn, Foel Grach, Carnedd Gwenllian (formerly Carnedd Uchaf) and Foel Fras.

Cloud inversion in the Ogwen Valley

The next day took us into the Glyderau, which many find to be the toughest section with some long ascents and descents on scree and a scrambly ascent of tryfan to finish the day off. 5 more are ticked on the second day - Elidir Fawr, Y Garn, Glyder Fawr, Glyder Fach and Tryfan.

Fine weather on the Glyder Plateau - Castell y Gwynt and a view to Snowdon

The last day on Snowdon is the shortest but also involves an ascent of Crib Goch. This is a very exposed grade one scramble with some exciting positions. Just 3 on the last day - Crib Goch, Carnedd Ugain and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon).

Steve Scrambling up the East ridge of Crib Goch

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Too busy climbing to be blogging...

Awesome weather, all the crags are bone dry, its warm and sunny and its set to continue!!! Bring it on! Doing the welsh 15 peaks over the next 3 days - lets hope we don't pass out from heat exhaustion. Here a few pics to show a bit of action from the past week.

Rory hanging out on the Bluebottle traverse, Gogarth

The guidebook description for Lubyanka

Choo on the exposed top pitch of Lubyanka

The top of Cyrn Las with Crib Goch and the Parsons Nose in the background

Friday, 11 June 2010

Tremadog Sunshine

After recovering from my sailing adventures I have spent the past two days climbing climbing in the Tremadog area. With a NW wind the mountains have been a bit clagged in but down south in the 'rain shadow' the Tremadog cliffs have been basking in the sunshine. Yesterday I climbed with Jim at Craig Bwlch y Moch and we started on the classic E4 Cream which takes an awesome line up the Vector Buttress, culminating in a super exposed pitch up the headwall.

A photo stolen from the internet of the top pitch of Cream

We then abbed back down and I attempted the last pitch of Void - also E4 - but I found it considerably harder and bailed off it at the crux and let Jim finish it off. I love the climbing at Tremdog - its one of those places where climbing ability and technical performance is more important that just being fit and strong. The climbing is always so involved and the rock is just a joy to climb on.

Unknown climber on the classic Cristmas Curry

With slightly tired arms we headed round to Neb - which has a delightful first pitch of about E1. The real meat of the route is provided by the direct finish which is a bit of a sandbag at E3 and a nemesis of mine and Jim's. It was not to be and after a few tries we bailed of the original finish and headed home via a cold pint in Beddgelert

Jen treadind carelfully on the crux of Hardd

Today I me and Jen climbed at Carreg Hylldrem - a ridiculously overhanging crag with some fierce routes. We climbed and really enjoyed the classic Hardd but we were disappointed that the overhanging nature of the crag meant we didn't get any sun so we decided to have a picnic in the sun rather than climbing another route!

The veiw from the top to Cnict and the Moelwynns

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sailing Adventures

I got an email from my cousin James last Sunday entitled Urgent:Sailing. On opening it I discovered he needed a hand in sailing his yacht (a hunter Sonata) from Beaumaris to somewhere on the West coast of Scotland so how could I say no. Now my sailing experience is limited to a couple of hours on a lake in a topper and reading Swallows and Amazons when I was younger. I didn't really know what to expect.

Gi Gi at anchor in the Menai Straights

So when we set off from Beaumaris at 4am I thought we would have a nice sunny sail up the Irish Sea and arrive at the Isle of Man in time for a hearty fish pie and a pint of ale. All was going swimming for a few hours - sunny, calm sea, light winds - when James showed me our position on the chart and I realised just how far we had to go and how we desperately needed some more wind. After a close encounter with an oil tanker we decided to crank on the small outboard for a few hours. Unfortunately our slow progress meant that we missed the tide to get round the bottom of the Isle of man and had to battle against 3 knots... which considering the lack of the wind was a big problem. With darkness falling and little progress we started to worry that we wouldn't make it. We were thankfully saved by a warm breeze off the land which allowed us to speed up to 6 knots and we managed to find our way blindly into Port Erin well after 11pm!

Heading to Puffin Island and the Irish Sea

After a lie in and a trip to land for breakfast we sorted the boat and headed up the coast to Peel. Our jumping off point for Scotland. This was more my idea of fun - a steady wind and more importantly in to harbour for a pint and a curry at a reasonable time!

Skipper James

An early start the next morning found us once again in light winds combined with thick fog. We were also not receiving any calls on the VHF - so no forecasts, warnings etc. Thankfully the wind picked up and as we passed the Mull of Galloway the fog cleared but again we had missed the favourable tide so a long battle ensued to get to Port Patrick. We rewarded ourselves with Guinness and sea bass while struggling slightly with the now swaying land!

A slightly more impressive ship!

The last leg of our tip was round to Stranraer - only 7 miles by road but nearly 20 by sea! Finally we had a good NW wind and a favourable tide. These however combined to give a pretty big swell and we had 5 hours of hard tacking to get round into Loch Ryan. We had a minor emergency on the way when we almost lost our rudder to the sea as a nut had worked loose. Thankfully a bit of quick thinking from James allowed us to jury rig it with a ' g' clamp and saved us from being blown on to the rocky cliffs!

It was a great adventure... not sure I'll be rushing to get back on a boat unless it involves a short but vigorous sail followed by a cold beer!