Sunday, 26 September 2010


... the climbing on the Dolerite cliffs of Tremadog is some of the best in the world. I spent both my days off this weekend at Tremdog - inspired by a good forecast - sun and northerly winds - and the new Tremadog guide. The climbing is very technical and skills such as route reading and improvisation are very important. On most of the routes it doesn't matter how hard you can pull down or how strong your fingers are as the climbing is very subtle and requires a wide repertoire of techniques - slabs, corners, grooves, aretes, roofs - and often all in the space of one pitch or even sometimes a few moves!

There is also a good range of grades there - especially for those climbing at VS and above - and is a great, friendly environment in which to try your first multipitch climb.

In addition to this there is a cafe there run by the famous Eric Jones (solo north face of the Eiger, base jumping etc), all the routes are fairly quick to access from the road (some less than 2 minutes from the cafe), it gets much better weather than the mountains, the rock is beautiful and the craic is good.

What are you waiting for?

You can buy the new guidebook online or in shop from V12 Outdoors.

Multipitch sea cliff climbing

On Thursday and Friday I was working for the Rock Climbing Company running a multipitch sea cliff climbing course. I was joined by Peter who had previous experience of traditional climbing from many years ago and sport climbs regularly indoors and outdoors. Peter wanted to broaden his horizons, get involved in some trad climbing again and have the confidence to climb in areas where sport climbing doesn't reach - big, gnarly multipitch sea cliffs.

On the first day we headed to Tremdaog to try and beat the weather and get Peter's multipitch systems up and running. We managed to climb Oberon and abseil off before the showers arrived. We then spent a bit of time looking at prusikking up a rope - useful for escaping from sea cliffs - before climbing Merlin in the rain!!

On Friday the weather was looking better so we headed to Anglesey. We spent the morning at Holyhead mountain looking at some self rescue skills, then when the sun came out we abseiled into Castell Helen on Gogarth. We climbed Lighthouse arete - a 3 pitch VS and Rap a tricky 2 pitch VS.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Climbing courses in Spain

As the nights start to draw in and the weather gets wetter (is that possible?) and colder my mind starts to thinks about clipping bolts and climbing with the sun on my back in El Chorro. I'm heading out to stay at the Olive Branch again for November and will be available for guiding and a variety of tailored courses. So if you're new to Sport Climbing and want to know what its all about then give me a shout. The Olive Branch is a very friendly guesthouse situated underneath Las Encantadas - just one of many great sectors in the area. For more information on my courses and El Chorro visist Sport Climbing Courses.html

Monday, 20 September 2010

Mountain Leader Training

Last week I was instructing on a Mountain Leader Training course based at the Blue Peris Mountain Centre until a sudden attack of the lurg cut my week short. I always enjoys working on these courses and developing the skills and knowledge of potential mountain leaders. The course is for people for have already some experience of looking after themselves in the mountains and are thinking about leading groups in the mountains. Some does this as part of their career in the outdoor industry, some because they volunteer with Scouts or similar and some because they want to learn new but have not intention of leading groups.
After the training candidates can return once they have clocked up enough experience and are confident with their skills for a 5 day assessment. For more information on mountaineering qualifications visit MLTW and MLTUK.
Unfortunately my camera is still in the process of being fixed... come on Sony!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Llangollen Cragging

On Saturday morning Snowdonia woke to heavy rain... we didn't despair as we knew that the sun would be shining on the excellent limestone crags above Llangollen. So we hopped in my van and made the slow drive down. How right we were!! John, Jim and I spent a fine day climbing on Craig Arthur which is home to a fine set of both sport and trad routes. I climbed the classic of the crag Digitron E2 and a great E3 called Manikins of Horror. I also fell off the last moves much to my annoyance of a really good 7a+.

Its well worth a visit down that way if you are in Snowdonia and the weather craps out. It takes between 1-1.5 hrs depending how many caravans are on the A5! Unfotunately I have no photos as my camera has broken and is on its way back to Sony. Rubbish!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Navigation Course Testimonial

Rick and Claire sent me this testimonial following their navigation course in August... thanks guys.

Client Testimonial – Rick and Clare Marsh
One Day Navigation Course 14th August 2010


We had both got quite into walking and spending days out in the Lakes and Snowdonia. In July while summiting Scarfel Pike the weather conditions become quite poor with reduced visibility. Rick was quite happy at navigating and map reading but I had no knowledge and felt that should a situation arise where Rick was unable to take control then I would just panic. Returning home I researched various websites and courses but felt drawn to Rory as he obviously tailored each day to the individual.

The Day!

We met at 9am in a local cafĂ© and discussed what we both wanted to achieve. At the start of the day having looked at a map and decided where we were heading I then proceeded to face in the opposite direction! When asked to walk 100metres I stopped at 10metres – I think you are starting to get the picture! At this point Rory realised just exactly what he had taken on!

We were guided by Rory all day and I can truly say the knowledge and information he gave us was duly digested and absorbed and even Rick admitted he had learnt so many new things and reinforced lots of other bit’s. As for me I can safely say I now know which way I need to go, how to take bearings and check distance and ultimately feel safe to navigate the mountain in various weather conditions.

We cannot recommend Rory’s course highly enough he is a great communicator and has an ability to explain things in a way you understand and keeps reinforcing this throughout the day.

Pembroke Holidays

Deep water soloing Perfect pitch

I'm sat at home in sunny Snowdonia catching up on admin and emails before an afternoon out climbing. I've been pretty busy playing recently after a hectic August. I've been done to Pembroke for a good stint - first with Jen then later with Jim. We had great weather but at the weekend the sea was massive and made things a little frustrating as the starts of most routes where wet and the rock was very greasy. We got loads done and even sampled a bit of deep water soloing.
Here's a geeky tick list of all the routes I climbed:

Keelhaul E2 - Bosherton Head
Intensive Scare E2 - Bosherton Head
Bakers Door E1 - Bosherton Head
Unknown E3 - Bosherton Head

The Beast from the Undergrowth E2 - Huntsmans Leap
Shape Up E1 - Huntsmans Leap

Huntsman's Leap

Ultravixens E1 - Chapel point
Ultravox E2 - Chapel Point
Promised Hand E2 - Chapel Point
Green Peace E1 - Chapel Point

Mysteries E3 - Stennis Ford
Manzoku - Stennis Head

Sinecure E1 - Carreg y Barcud
Beyond the Azimuth E1 - Carreg y Barcud

Seconding Sinecure

Jen seconding Beyond the Azimuth

Perfect Pitch 6a+ - Lydstep DWS
Offshore Drift 6a+ - Lydstep DWS
Cellar Deck 6a+ - Lydstep DWS
Star Gate E3 - Mother Carey's
Mother Night E4 - Mother Carey's

Test Case E3 - St Govan's
Space Cadet E3 - St Govan's
Suspense E4 - Stennis Ford

Bloody Sunday E4 - Huntsman's Leap
Good Luck, Mr. Grondski E2 - Rusty Walls
Lucky Strike E1 - Rusty Walls