Saturday, 31 July 2010

Lockwoods Chimney

"The most traditional of routes. To gain full satisfaction it is best to do the route by moonlight; the party should be large and of large men (preferably drunk!). "

This is the description of Lockwoods Chimney from the old Tremadog and Cwm Silyn guidebook!! I climbed the route first in my uni days as part of a party of 20 odd, on a grim November night after a few ales in a local pub!

So with a terrible forecast for the day and Dom, Tom and Dunc up for a bit of adventure I decided it was time for another visit. It certainly lived up to its expectations and felt a lot harder than I remembered it being (no alcohol this time though!). Its certainly a tough old battle - especially as it was very wet and slippery. It definitely had the boys eyes out on stalks at times - both from the exposure at the top and the strain of wiggling up the tight chimney!

Monday, 26 July 2010

The Welsh Monsoon

Well the weather for the past week has not been fantastic - in fact its done the same as it has for the past 4 years. The promise of a nice spring and a beautiful June has given way to the wind and rain of the Welsh monsoon - nicely timed for the start of the school holidays!
Its great weather for those of you wanting to brush up on your navigation skills but not ideal for rock climbing in the mountains!
Thankfully here in North Wales we have a few venues which are pretty reliable when it is wet in the hills. One of these is the Great Orme at Llandudno. I took a trip out there on Friday afternoon and after a quick warm up got stuck into my long term project - a 7c sport route. The photo topo below is taken from the North Wales Limestone Wiki .

2. I've Been a Bad, Bad Boy 7c/7c+ ***
Mark Pretty, 19.8.1988.

I've got the first half up to the traverse pretty well dialed in now I just need to get fitter and stronger and work out the most efficient way of doing the traverse section - lots of hard work needed!

On Saturday I was working for Seren Ventures and took Peter Feller and his team over the Glyders on a wet, foggy and windy day. They were doing some last minute training for Kilimanjaro which they hope to climb in a couple of weeks time - good luck! The views from the top of the Glyders are awesome and should look like this,

unfortunately we couldn't see for more than 20m in front of our faces for most of the day. We definitely earned our cream teas from the Pen y Gwryd Hotel that evening!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Top Ten Mountaineering Moments

On top of Pt. Lenana, Mt Kenya

With all the bad weather we have been having in Snowdonia over the past few weeks I have been spending quite a bit of time indoors on my computer. So I have been doing some virtual climbing - I have put together a list of my top ten mountaineering moments from the past 5 or so years. Check it out by following the link below to my website - maybe it can provide you with some inspiration on a rainy day!

Top Ten Mountaineering Moments

The sun is actually shining this morning so it time to shut my laptop down and head to the Great Orme for some climbing!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Peak Limestone

On Thursday I had a spontaneous trip over to the Peak District to meet up with friends Jim and Choo for some steep limestone sport climbing. We headed down into the depths of Chee Dale to climb on the Cornice - a crag that has not been dry for 3 years! I've not been sport climbing much this summer as the mountain crags have been dry and felt pretty unfit for this style of climbing. Never the less I had 2 great days on this beautiful crag and managed to drag myself up a couple of routes!

A change of scene - The Brecon Beacons

Last week I swapped Snowdonia for the Brecon Beacons to work with Therfield School and their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition. I have worked with this school and teacher/friend Helen for the past couple of years. Its great to work with young people for a change and help them to achieve their goals.

View from the Black Mountains

We had 5 great days and apart from a blip on Sunday, fantastic weather. For the expedition the teams have to plan and complete a 4 day expedition across wild terrain, remaining totally self sufficient. Most teams will end up walking around 80km - a fair way considering the weight of their packs! All our teams did exceptionally well and completed the challenge - so well done to you all!