Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Well a big Merry Christmas, or I guess I should say Nadolig Llawen, from Snowdonia. Unfortunately it doesn't look like we're going to get a white one as it unseasonably warm at the moment. So I hope that Santa brings you that new down jacket you wanted or some nice shiny DMM Dragon Cams! I'll leave you with a few photos from this time last year. Have a great one!!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

North Wales at its Best

The weather this November had been really good - warm and fairly dry. Over the past few day climbing in the pass could have been possible and the mountains have been catching some awesome sunshine. Yesterday I made the best use of the fine weather by making a quick dash up Crib Goch by my self then joining friend Greg for a quick afternoon route at Gogarth. We topped out with the sun setting behind Ireland but thankfully before we needed the aid of the South Stack lighthouse!

Spanish Sport Climbing

I'm not long back from a short trip to Catalonia in North East Spain where I had 6 days with friends Dave, Jim and Neil. Due to an injury the emphasis of the trip was more of a relaxing holiday than a mega crush fest so I ended up reading my book in the sun more than climbing - ideal! I still managed to do a few routes up to 7a onsight and it was great to visit crags that I had not been to before. The trip started off with getting washed out of Terradets and Santa Linya so we headed further south and enjoyed climbing on the conglomerate/limestone crags of Margalef and Montsant.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Gold Duke of Edinburgh Practice with Therfield School

For the past 5 days I have been training up a group of students from Therfield School in preparation for their Duke of Edinbugh Gold Expedition next summer. I really like working with this School and I love to see the progression and development of the students as they take on the challenge. I spent the first day with my group in the Northern Carneddau looking at navigation techniques, dealing with emergencies, discussing how to look after themselves and most of all enjoying a warm and sunny day in the hills!

On day 2 we headed out for a harder challenge and summited Moel Siabod. This was a fairly tough day out for the group as they had to carry full expedition packs and cope with low cloud. This really tested their navigation and made for some very greasy conditions underfoot. They all did superbly so on Saturday we cut them loose and they completed a 2 day hike in excellent weather.

All 23 students did fantastically and I looking forward to the Brecon Beacons and their qualifying expedition next spring.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Gogarth Video

Here's a little video of Jen and I climbing North West Passage - E1 at Castell Helen, Gogarth. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

New Slate Guide Book Reveiw

Wow! That was my first impression on getting my hands on the long awaited Llanberis Slate Guidebook by Ground Up. The front cover shot is all that a front cover shot should be - an awesome image by Ian Parnell showing off the the most famous route that Llanberis slate has to offer. It also manages to capture the raw and unique atmosphere of the quarries and the intense nature of its climbing.

The next thing I noticed was its size, which increases the visual impact of the cover photo. The guide is larger than previous Ground Up offerings and at A5 is not a book that you can slip into your pocket. But why would you need to as most of the slate routes are single pitch and those that aren't are not over complicated in line (routes on the back wall of Twll Mawr excluded). As you open the guide up the advantages of the larger size are immediately apparent - large numbers of excellent and highly inspiring photos and clear photo topos.

On flicking through I was instantly drawn to the Diary of a Slatehead -  a number of short pieces by Martin Crook, which "provide a fascinating window into the slate climbing scene during its 80's glory days." There are also numerous short pieces detailing the characters that have been responsible for the development of the quarries over the years - The Slateheads. These include all the infamous characters such as Joe Brown, Redhead, Dawes and Crook.

Last Tango in Paris, Vivian Quarry

The action photos are just stunning and made all the better by the A5 size. They illustrate the odd beauty of the quarries, the strange juxtaposition of the natural and the man made and the unique and sometimes baffling style of climbing. A particular favourite of mine is Ray Wood's shot of George Smith on The Wall Within which encapsulates the atmosphere and 'other-worldlyness' of the Lost World perfectly. I also like the historical photos that grace the guide - lets face it we don't get enough bright lycra these days!

The guide is layed out in the usual and user friendly Ground Up style and features all the aspects that you would expect a modern guide to have - graded list, comprehensive route descriptions, photo topos, index etc.
It has an excellent introductory section with lots of info on style and ethics and access, which I would implore you to read. Access to the quarries has at times over the past years been slightly delicate so lets hope that the extra influx of climbers this guide will bring does not cause any problems. My one negative comment on the guide would be the photo used for Dali's Hole -an area at the forefront of current access negotiations. It shows a busy climbing scene, with groups enjoying the previously easy bolted routes - precisely the cause of access issues in the first place.

Looning the Tube, Australia

The guide features 900 routes - 200 of which have been added since the previous guide! There is now something for everyone in the quarries. When I first started my slate career whilst at Bangor Uni, there where very few easy routes - in fact if you couldn't climb HVS there wasn't much point in visiting the quarries. Now there are lots of grade 4 and 5 well bolted routes for the aspirant Slatehead to cut their teeth on - including a few multi pitch offerings such as the excellent '362' in Never Never Land. It also features the quarries on the other side of the valley - Glyn Rhonwy, which are a quiet back water where the seasoned Slatehead may venture to find a whole realm of new adventures.

Also featured in the guide are some 'Slate Walks and Adventures'. These detail various ways that you can explore the unique atmosphere of the slate quarries and find those hidden gems from times gone by - ideal for a wet day. Included in this section is a description of Snakes and Ladders - a journey though tunnels, up chains, down big holes, escapes via rickety ladders and there's even a bit of climbing thrown in for good measure!

A guide book should not only be practical and accurate but also inspiring. A guide book should make me want to delve into to it, read route descriptions, find hidden treasures, fill me with pysch and make me want to get up off my arse and go climbing. It should also be something I can read on wet days and in quiet moments.This guide definitely ticks all those boxes. In fact I think this is one of the best guidebooks I have seen. Congratulations to Simon and his team - it was definately worth the wait!

Get your copy of the guide from V12 Outdoor today!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Busy times for Snowdonia Mountaineering!

I'm currently enjoying my first day off after 10 days of instructing and guiding in the mountains and on the crags of Snowdonia and North Wales. Unfortunately I dont have my camera-pc lead at the moments so you'll have to wait a few day for some pics.

Monday 12th - Tuesday 13th
Intro rock climbing course with Matt and Jon - see previous blog post.

Wednesday 14th
My regular Wednesday work with a local group of adults with special needs. We went for a nice stroll over Conwy Mountain.

Thursday 15th - Friday 16th
I worked on an SPA training course for Phill George Mountaineering. The SPA is the entry level outdoor climbing qualification for those who want to take groups to climb on single pitch crags. The trainees did really well and are looking to return in December for assessment.

Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th
I took new clients Liz and Austen out for two days of navigation and scrambling. More on this to come... plus top tips from Liz on how to use a she wee and advice from Austen on using Jedi mind tricks....

Monday 19th - Tuesday 20th
Returning client Tony wanted 2 days of rock climbing but unfortunately on Monday the weather Gods weren't kind so we postponed the day. Thankfully on Tuesday we found sunshine at Holyhead mountain and ticked off 5 routes - 2 v diffs and 3 severes! A great day. Tony is hoping to return in October to tackle some longer routes. Outside Edge route a Cwm Silyn is top of the list!

Wednesday 21st
My regular Wednesday work with a local group of adults with special needs.We enjoyed some Autumnal sunshine on the walk up to Aber Falls

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Intro Rock Climbing Course

On Monday I was joined by new clients Matt and Jon for a 2 day intro to rock climbing course. Both Matt and Jon had done a small amount of indoor climbing before but had never climbed on real rock before. Looking at the weather forecast on Sunday I was starting to worry that we might have to spend a good portion of the 2 days inside! Thankfully in Snowdonia we have Tremadog and whilst the Mountains were getting battered by hurricane Katia, Tremadog remained dry and (relatively) sheltered! After spending some time buying new rock shoes at V12 Outdoors in Llanberis we drove down to Tremadog and the boys enjoyed Boo Boo (diff), Yogi (severe) and the first pitch of Oberon. We also looked at abseiling with a prussik.

The weather on Tuesday was even better at Tremadog and we climbed the classic Poor Man's Peuterey (severe) on Pant Ifan. The boys built their own anchors and belayed each other up the 3 pitches.
We finished the day with a quick ascent of the brilliant Micah Finish of Christmas Curry (hard severe), which provide a thrilling and challenging test for the boys and a great way to end the course!

Matt on the Last Pitch of Poor Man's Peuterey

Jon and Matt enjoying the view from the top

Jon on the arete of the Micah Eliminate of Christmas Curry

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Scrambling and Rock Climbing Skills

Today I was joined by new client Tony who contacted me as he wanted to get back into climbing and mountaineering after a bit of break. He has done some good and hard climbing in the past but after spending a lot of time sailing and recovering from injuries he felt he wanted some one to help him back into the hills. The weather has been appalling for the past few days in Snowdonia so I was pleased when the morning dawned dry(ish) and the wind had dropped to 30mph!
We drove round into the Ogwen valley and enjoyed the grade 3 scramble on Tryfan Bach. With the weather forecast to get worse in the afternoon we decided to drive to Lion Rock to look at some crag skills and get rock shoes on! Tony is back in 10 days time with aspirations for Cneifion Arete and a traverse of the Glyders!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Mountaineerin Skills CourseTestimonial

In August I was joined by new client Raphael for a 4 day mountaineering skills course. He had this to say about his experience:
I had a fantastic four days with Rory out in the mountains in Snowdonia.  He is a highly accomplished guide and, in a short time, we covered lots of skills of navigation, scrambling rope work and rock climbing.  Rory was keen to push me physically, but I never felt anything less than totally safe under his instruction.  All in all, a fantastic guide, whether you are a beginner or want to further improve your mountaineering skills. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mountain Leader Training Course

This week I'm at Blue Peris Mountain Centre in Snowdonia working on a Mountain Leader Training course. Today I took my team out to Cwm Idwal to look at emergency ropework. We scrambled around on the rocks of Clogwyn y Tarw looking at situations that might occur when leading a group in the mountains that can be resolved with use of a rope. After some heavy showers in the morning the sun came out to dry us out and we enjoyed practicing a variety of abseiling methods. Here's a couple of photos from the past two days.

Eve practicing a classic abseil

Navigation practice on Crimpiau

Monday, 22 August 2011

Fun times on Tryfan

I've been spending a bit of time on Tryfan recently - 3 out of the past 4 days to be precise. Its a great mountain and I never fail to enjoy a good scramble or long climb to its rocky summit. On Friday I rounded off Rafael's mountaineering skills course with an ascent of Nor' Nor' Buttress on the East Face - an excellent grade 3 scramble. It was great to put into practice all the mountaineering skills we had looked at in the first 3 days of the course.

Rafael on Nor' Nor' Buttress

On Sunday I took new client Tony Cross out for a scramble that would push him a little. He had done a bit of grade 1 scrambling so we headed to the East face again and enjoyed Little and North Gullies in slightly damp conditions! The day was a birthday present from his wife so hopefully it will be a year he will remember.

Rafael on Tryfan summit

This week I am instructing on a Mountain Leader Training course based out of Blue Peris Mountain Centre. I took my team up the North Ridge of Tryfan and looked at managing groups through steep and rocky ground.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Rafael's Mountaineering Skills Course

This week I have had 3 days out with Rafael on a mountaineering skills course. On Monday we headed out to the Glyders to do some grade 1 scrambling and introduce mountain navigation. The weather was grand and Rafael enjoyed the Gribin Ridge - his first grade 1 scramble. I have made a little video of the day that I have embedded below.

On Tuesday the cloud was right down to the valley floor so we took the opportunity to focus on navigating in poor visibility. We enjoyed a nice circuit of Cnict which involved quite a lot of compass work!
We had a day off on Wednesday so met up in Llanberis this morning and made the short drive to Lion Rock. We spent the day looking at a variety of rock climbing and scrambling skills in preparation for a big route in the mountains tomorrow! Destination Tryfan East Face.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Alpine trip to Chamonix

I'm back home in Snowdonia after a short holiday to the Alps with Bryn. We didn't really have any plans or objectives - mainly due to injuries limiting us and a poor forecast! We decided to head to Chamonix where we have some friends we could stay with. On arrival there it felt like winter! Snow had fallen to 2000m for the previous few days and the peaks where plastered. Everyone was a little despondent - they had not seen sunshine for about 3 weeks. On Friday it looked like there would be no change as it rained hard in the morning. It did brighten up in the afternoon so we stretched our legs on the petit balcon sud.

The forecast was much improved for the next day so we set an alarm and woke to a clear dawn! We caught the first lift up to the Aiguille du Midi. Its a crazy experience to be whisked from the valley floor to 3700m in a few minutes. Even more crazy is to step out of the ice cave on to the descent arete. There is no time to adjust to the surrounding and the exposure. One moment you are inside a man made structure the next you are balancing down a narrow snow ridge with a 1500m drop to your left and a 1000ft drop to the right. It certainly focuses the mind!

Descent from the Aiguille du Midi

We strolled down to the glacier and then enjoyed the traverse of Point Lachenal - a nice, short AD- route that is good for acclimatisation. We took our time and enjoyed the views and sunshine and tried not to get to puffed! The altitude had its affect on the slog back up to the Aiguille du Midi - I just seemed to have no energy! Check out Bryn's awesome video from this day:

The Grandes Jorasses
Back down in the valley we made plans for the next day - we wanted to head up for a bivvy just above the Albert Premier Hut on Le Tour glacier. We headed out on Saturday afternoon after a burger at Midnight Express. The weather, despite the good forecast, looked threatening. We took the lift up to Col du Balme and then it started to rain. We walked for about an hour, getting steadily wetter until we found a small boulder to hide under! After nearly 2 hrs we decided it was time to bail so we walked back down to the valley.

Next day we decided to try our luck with a bivvy again - this time near the Argentiere hut with the aim of climbing the Tour Noir. This was a peak that I attempted in 2003 but had to turn back as Paul had forgotten his sun glasses (not easy to climb with a buff over the face!). We took the bin up to the Grands Montets and made the descent down the Col de Montets to the Argentiere glacier and our bivvy.

Chilling at the bivvy

We left the bivvy at 4.30 and started the ascent towards the Col du Toir Noir. It was quite warm and we passed climbers who had turned back as the route they had hoped to do was running with melt water - not promising. We stopped to don our crampons - Bryn quickly realised that he had a problem. His crampons kept coming off his boots... not ideal. He had never used this combination of boot and crampons before and they didn't appear to be compatible. So once again we had to turn around. As consolation we watched the sun rise on the massive north faces of Les Courtes, Les Droites and Le Aiguille Vert.

Alpine sunrise
We strolled out before it got too hot and after a brief wander on the glacier, getting lost in a maze of crevasses, made it back to the lift station. A brief inspection of Bryns ingrowing toenail (by him), revealed a nasty infected mess! It didn't improve that evening so thoughts of rock climbing and front pointing had to be put on the back burner... that didn't leave us with too many options so we decided to do an easy and short route on the Index the following day. We enjoyed the SE arete in approach shoes - a great route 5 minutes from the lift which goes at about severe.

Bryn on the Index
The next day dawned wet and stormy so we decided to make the drive home... so what did we learn?
- Summer in the Alps is best for alpine rock climbing in the sun.
- Make sure that your crampons fit your boots.
- Winter in the Alps is better: Instead of rain you get snow (powder skiing), the weather is more stable, no afternoon deterioration of snow due to heat, getting around and down the mountains on skis is so much quicker, the night life is better.....
- It helps to be injury free!
Despite this it was a good holiday and good to catch up with friends in Chamonix. We will be back in the winter for some ski mountaineering and touring!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Scrambling in the Glyders

Yesterday I met up with new client James for a day of scrambling to prepare him for a trip to the Alps in September where he hopes to climb Mont Blanc. James wanted to work on his hill fitness, take in some challenging ground and get used to a bit of exposure.

With a perfect forecast we headed for the Glyderau with the aim of scrambling up Tryfan and Glyder Fach. James' fitness work in the gym (hours on the step master!) had obviously paid off as we mad excellent time to the foot of Little Gully on Tryfan's East Face. We put a rope on here and scrambled up Little Gully and into North Gully to pop out on to the North Ridge just below the summit. We paused to take in the summit and have some food before scurrying down the South Ridge and across to the North West face of Glyder Fawr. We scrambled up this by the tricky Main Gully (grade 1 in the guide but definitely grade 2!) to the summit plateau where we made the obligatory visit to the Cantilever Stone for photos. We finished the day by scrambling down the Gribin Ridge where James put into practice the route finding skills he had picked up during the day.

It was a fantastic day out in warm sunshine and I'm looking forward to taking James out for another day in August.

Little Gully, Tryfan East Face

Tryfan Summit

Main Gully, Glyder Face

Main Gully Glyder Fach

The Cantilever Stone

Learn to Lead Course - Last Day

For the last day of Louis and Jeremy's learn to lead course with The Rock Climbing Company we headed to the Ogwen vally and Clogwyn Bochclywyd. We decided that they were both ready for a bit more of  a challenge today so we started off with Marble Slab HS, which they both led in great style. They went on the lead Five Pitch Route HS in 2 pitches and 2 Pitch Route in 1 Pitch - confusing hey!
The guys have done really well and now have the skills and confidence to show up at a crag and go climbing under their own steam.
We finished the day with a short stroll to try the Idwal Squeeze - a bouldering/caving challenge which is always highly amusing!

Jeremy emerging from the Idwal Squeeze

Friday, 22 July 2011

Learn to Lead Rock Climbing Course

For the past 3 days I have been working for The Rock Climbing Company on a Learn to Lead climbing course.
After 2 days of preparation Louis and Jeremy tied on to the sharp end of the rope and led their first climbs. We made the drive out to Holyhead mountain to escape the low cloud in the mountains and were rewarded with a fine and sunny day. We started of on central slabs where Jeremy and Louis climbed D'elephant in 2 pitches which we followed up with Slippers and Hat - all good V Diffs. To finish the day off I lead up Bruvers HVS to really get there arms working.

Jeremy on The Bruvers HVS

Louis leading Hat V Diff

Louis leading Hat

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Welsh Monsoon Arrives!

Bang on time for the first weekend of the school holidays the Welsh Monsoon has arrived. I was supposed to take client Tony out for a day of advanced scrambling but having seen the forecast we decided to re-schedule! Check out todays forecast from MWIS:

Headline, Snowdonia National Park
Severe upland gales. Considerable rainfall; local flooding.

How Windy?
West or northwesterly soon 40mph gusts 55mph and by midday on higher western hills 50 gusts 70mph.
Effect Of Wind?
Widespread considerable buffeting. On higher summits, general mobility very difficult; you may be blown over. Severe wind chill.

How Wet?
Extensive heavy rain throughout daylight
Rain off and on eastern hills. Elsewhere, particularly all hills toward the coast, incessant often heavy rain, giving falls of 1 to locally approaching 2 inches, with local flooding on paths and streams in spate.

Cloud on the hills?
Very extensive, lowest west and north
Cloud will shroud western and northern hills below 400m most of day. On eastern areas, base generally in range 500 to occasionally 750m.
Chance of cloud free Summits?
Less than 10%
Sunshine and air clarity?
Sunless. Visibility extensively very poor in heavy rain and cloud.

How Cold? (at 900m)
6 to 8C but will feel as cold as minus 7C directly in the wind.

Mental - especially the section where it suggested winchill will be -7 on the tops!!!
Sometimes you have to take the decision to not go out - no matter how far you have come. I would expect the rescue teams to be busy today.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Grand day out on Glyder Fach

Well its been another beautiful and warm day in Snowdonia - a great day for a walk and scramble in the Glyders! I took out regular clients Therfield School who are visiting Snowdonia for a Mountain Experience camp. Last week I was down in the Brecon Beacons supporting their Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition and it was good to see some of the challengers in Snowdonia helping out and passing on their enthusiasm to the younger year groups.

We scrambled up the Gribin ridge then headed over to Glyder Fach for the obligatory photos on the cantilever (I cant post them here). After an enjoyable stroll down we stopped at Llyn Bochlwyd to cool our toasted feet in some chilly water before heading back to Ogwen Cottage for an Ice Cream - perfection!!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Costa del Holyhead Yeh!

Great afternoon with Jen at Holyhead Mountain. We climbed some awesome single pitch routes in glorious sunshine! What a crag!! I led Jen up The Bruvers HVS, Breaking the Barrier E1, Andover E1 and See Emily Play HVS - all great climbs.

Cragging at Clogwyn Bochclywd

On Tuesday I met up with my good mate Jamie for a relaxed afternoon of cragging at Clogwyn Bochclwyd in the Ogwen valley. This is an awesome little crag, with a good range of grades and an easy descent. It makes an excellent afternoon/evening venue as it gets the sun from 2pm this time of year and is a short walk in from Ogwen Cottage.We warmed up on Marble Slab - a great little HS with involving moves and good gear. I then lead Bochclwyd Eliminate which is a fantastic HVS. Jamie led Waltz in Black - a nice E1 which didn't really feel much harder than the HVS. We finished the day on The Wrack E2 which definitely felt like a step up featuring steep and technical moves.

Unknown climber on The wrack

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Learn to Lead Rock Climbing Course

This weekend I was working at Plas y Brenin on a Learn to Lead Rock Climbing Course. On saturday the weather was grim so we started off by looking at belay building and placing gear whilst traversing around the wall. We then headed down to Tremadog which was damp and greasy so we did a big boots ascent of Boo Boo, with Stuart building his own belay and belaying Iona up.

On Sunday the weather was perfect so we made the short drive into the Ogwen valley and walked up to Clowyn Bochlwyd. This is a great little crag for leading on if you can climb severe as the route are well furnished with holds and good gear placements. Stuart lead Five Pitch Route (in one pitch) and then stepped up a grade to Hard severe by climbing the delightful Marble Slab. A great weekend and a excellent effort from Stuart!

Walking Group Leader Assessment

On Friday I worked on the final day of a Walking Group Leader Assessment - WGL - at Blue Peris Mountain Centre. The Walking Group Leader award is for people who want to lead groups in remote but non-mountainous terrain. Areas within the remit of the award includes Dartmoor, The Peak District, Yorkshire Moors and Dales.

After a late start (night navigation until 3am the previous night) we spent the day at Moel y Ci looking at navigation, relocation, remote supervision and emergency scenarios. All the candidates did well - one passed outright and the other 2 were deferred so need to return for one more day of re-assessment.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Rock Climbing Coaching testimonial from Helen

A few weeks ago I took Helen out for a couple of days of rock climbing coaching as she wanted to improve her technique, confidence and ultimately climb harder! Helen had this to say about her course:

"As an established climber struggling to break the VS barrier I booked a couple of days with Rory and was not disappointed!  Rory was patient at all times and it felt like climbing with a friend rather than an instructor. The techniques he taught me were soon put into practice as we went outside for a couple of big routes and I have now broken the VS barrier!  If anyone was looking for an instructor who is knowledgeable, patient and willing to share their skills I would have no hesitation in recommending Rory."

Helen seconding The Chain E1 on Dinas Mot

Friday, 17 June 2011

Mountain Walking week with Wellbeck MoD College

I have spent this past week hill walking and scrambling in Snowdonia with a group from Wellbeck Military College. We had a great week with varied weather but the team always managed to step up to the challenge. The group spent a lot of time learning mountain navigation and leadership as well as tackling steep and rocky ground. For many of them it was their first experience in the hills so the North Ridge of Tryfan was an excellent eye opener! Thanks to Baggy of Blue Peris Mountain Centre for organising the week and asking me to work!

Northern Snowdonia from Moel Siabod

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Smart Climbing Workshop

Yesterday I ran 2 self rescue workshops for Becks on her Smart Climbing weekend. The course is design to increase the confidence and abilities of the climbers by working on both mental, physical and technical skills. The aim behind my workshops was to give the climbers some key skills to deal with problems which would allow them to push their grades on more serious terrain safe in the knowledge that they could get themselves out of any situation. We looked at unplanned retreats by turning belays into abseil anchors in a multipitch scenario, tying of a belay plate and carrying out some hoists - a lot to pack into 2 hours. For those that want further training I can run a weekend of self rescue skills that will truly make you self sufficient in the multi pitch environment.

Tying of a belay plate

Friday, 3 June 2011

Rock Climbing Coaching with Helen

Today I met up with Helen for part 2 of a rock climbing coaching weekend that we postponed last moth due to bad weather. We spent the first day looking at a range of climbing techniques on the slate and in the indoor wall. Today the weather was amazing so we headed into the Llanberis Pass. We enjoyed the morning sun on Clogwyn y Groachan and Helen got to grips with some 5b technical moves on Kaisergerbirge wall and Wind. These are both HVS although I think wind is pretty much E1!

To avid being burned to a crisp we headed onto the shady and slabby Dinas Mot in the afternoon and climbed the first 2 pitches of Western Rib finishing up the chain to give a great E1.

Amphitheatre Buttress - the best V Diff in the country?

On Thursday I guided returning client Matt up the classic Amphitheatre Buttress in the Carneddau. As mountaineering rock climbing goes it doesn't get much better than this. It is about 10 pitches long and works its way up a buttress of perfect rock, culminating in a knife edged pinnacle section! It has been a long standing ambition of Matt's to climb this route and he was really chuffed to get it ticked. The weather was just amazing and treated us to cloud inversions, swirling mist, broken spectres and bright sunshine what and awesome day!

Matt above the clouds

Matt on the slabs of pitch 2

Crossing the knife edge section

Looking down the top section of the route