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

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Snowdonia 15 Peaks - the 3000 footers!

Yesterday was a big day for Mike - it was time for his 15 peak challenge! I have taken Mike and his son Rab out scrambling a few times over the past 2 years and it has long been an ambition of his to complete the 15 peaks as a 50th birthday challenge! At over 30 miles long and with 4100m of ascent this is a tough walk - much harder than the more well known 3 peaks challenge!

We set off from Pen y Pass just after 4am as it was starting to get light. Mike, Mike's eldest son Rab and I made good pace up on to Crib Goch and enjoyed an atmospheric scramble along the ridge with the clouds swirling around us. As we made our way onto Carnedd Ugain (peak 2) the wind got stronger and it was really pretty cold - below freezing with the wind chill! We stopped for a 5 minute break in the shelter of the Snowdon summit cafe before heading down the start of the Llanberis track then down the steep Llechog spur to Nant Peris. This took 4 hrs 20 mins.

I left Mike here to get refuelled by his support team who also doubled as his family! Mike wanted to tackle the Glyderau by himself to get some 'spiritual' mountain time by him self. this is probably the hardest of the 3 sections as it has some fairly brutal ascents and descents and lots of rocky ground.

I met up with Mike at Ogwen cottage and Mike's youngest Sam joined us for the last leg. We plodded up the long and steep ascent to Pen y Ole Wen in beautiful afternoon sunlight. It always nice to get this out the way as it is the last major ascent of the challenge. We took our time and enjoyed the stroll across the Carneddau arriving on Foel Fras at 10.00 just as the light was starting to fade. We made it to the car and Mike family at the road head above Aber just before midnight! It was a great effort by Mike and also his family for supporting him not just yesterday but for the last few months as Mike and I planned the day!

You can find more photos on my Facebook Page.

Mike in the cloud on Crib Goch

Mike and Sam on Carnedd Llewelyn