Thursday, 22 May 2008

Clachaig Gully

After being stood up today by a climbing partner, Al decided to take the afternoon off and help me tender my climbing addiction. He had an idea to climb this 'classic' route in Glencoe! When I heard he wanted to try Clachaig Gully, I wasn't too sure. It turned out to be a interesting climb with some great bridging problems on sometimes wet and slimey rock. Some pitches were run out, but generally the gear was good with patches of loose rock here and there. The sun was on our backs pretty much all the way so a stop off in the nearby pub was needed right away. Very good route which was first climbed in 1938.
For more pictures see :

Sunday, 18 May 2008

After work enjoyment

Today after finishing a shift at The Ice Factor, I headed down to Glen Nevis with Hannah (our seasonal instructor) and Sian (our cafe assistant) and wandered up and climbed Pinnacle Ridge (S). I led up and then brought them both up in series. After walking down I then led them both up Clapham Junction. Hannah went for the HVS 5a section and Sian cruised the VS variation. We then wandered up to Resurrection (VS 4c) and once again I led up then brought them both up to the big tree. We then abseiled off and ran away from the midgies!

Walking up Ben Nevis at 50! 17/5/08

Today I led two great women up to the summit of Ben Nevis. This was a was such a great experience and achievement for these two ladies who are currently in their 51st year. With little and no experience walking in Scotland, this was the ultimate goal for them both and they did it. It was a pleasant day to be walking up the tourist route, not too hot nor to cold, but blimey - hundreds of walkers/runners. I have never been up the tourist route on a Saturday as busy as today! From car to summit to car took us 10 hours, so it was a long day but it was so nice to be outside on the hill. We were also blessed with clear views on the summit and had a great outlook as we all drank our whiskey and ate my mum's homemade chocolate brownies. (thanks mum)

Last Day in Wales 15/05/08

For our last day we headed up to Dinas Cromlech in Llamberis pass. After an early start, we were first onto Cobweb Crack (VS 5a) where I led up the pitches. It is a great route, highly recommended and I'm sure I will return again. We then went on and climbed Cenotaph Corner (E1 5c). I led up the one long pitch and then we 'rapped' off from the top. As we had enough time for another route I led Campbell up Cemetery Gates (E1 5b). Another excellent route, just the kind of route which I really enjoy. We watched other climbers on Right Wall (E5 6a), Resurrection (E4 6a), Left Wall (E3 5c) and Memory Lane (E3 5C). What a great way to finish my trip to Wales. I shall be back.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Another sunny day in Wales

Yesterday Campbell and I spent the day in Llanberis pass. We firstly went up to Carreg Wastad and climbed on Overhanging Chimney VS and Skylon HS. We then headed down to Clogwyn y Grochan and I led up Brant Direct HVS and also we climbed Phantom Rib VS. The sun has been playing a major part in my first North Wales climbing experience, I'm just not used to it, so after getting very sun burnt, Campbell and I went to The Heights for several beers to cool off.

Today as we were not feeling to active because of the previous nights drinking session we headed over to Gogarth for a look, quite intimidating I must say, I was keen, but unfortunately not everyone was. We agreed to head to the Cromlech Boulders for a for the day and also watch climbers make easy work on Lord of the Flies (E6 6a) and Right wall (E5 6a) on Dinas Cromlech.

Tomorrow is our last day in Wales so were going to head up to Dinas Cromlech. (but not to do Right Wall or Lord of the Flies!)

Monday, 12 May 2008

More action in Wales

Yesterday we went to Clogmyn y Grochan in Llanberis pass for another day of fantastic climbing. Our first route of the day was Spectre (HVS 5a) which was a wicked route. Campbell led the 1st pitch and I led the 2nd and 3rd, then we abseiled off ready for another route. (thanks Andy for letting West and I to use your ropes to ab off) We then went and climbed Brant (VS 4c), another classic with interesting climbing. After retreating after topping out we went to climb Nea (VS 4b), but we were caught out by a freak thunder storm so lowered Campbell back to the ground and we ran for cover!

Today we ventured you to the mighty Clogwyn Du'r Arddu on Snowdon. After a 90 minute walk in under the bright rays of the sun we arrived at the base of our route. We climbed Great Slab (VS 4c***). Which was just amazing. The rock was fantastic, the location was perfect topped off with nice rock and very warm weather. Campbell led the first pitch and then I climbed The Top Traverse (HVS), which is a variation of the second pitch. Campbell went on with the next pitch and then I linked up 2 more pitches and Campbell took us to the top. The route was probably one of the best routes I've climbed in the last few years. We then descended the crag and climbed Primitive Route which is a 3 star V Diff. Interesting and varied mountaineering route. We both extended our pitches at finished the route quite rapidly. Not sure where were going tomorrow, but what i do know, its going too be hot and sunny! :-)

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Tremadog, North Wales

Today Campbell and I spent out first day in Wales at Tremadog. We went up to Craig y Gesail and climbed Javelin(HVS 5a) and Sphincter (VS 4c). This crag was great, no-one else there but us, great rock, friction was excellent despite the warm and humid air. The routes we did were high quality. We then headed down to Craig Bwich y Moch and started off on Y Broga (HVS 5a). This appeared to be far too polished so we backed off and climbed Oberon (Severe), which was far nicer. Obviously these roadside crags are well climbed and very polished. Tomorrow were heading into Llanberis pass.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Borrowdale, Lake District

Today we headed down to Shepard's Crag for a little stretch out. I led up Kransic Crack Direct (HVS 5a) and Dan seconded me up with great speed. We then climbed The Grasp (E1) which had quite a pokey crux but finished up on good holds. The burn started to kick in a little. We then headed over to Finale (HVS++!) and I set off up on the lead, fairly psyched, but I just got too pumped so I had to come down. Dan flew up the route, finished it off and we retrieved all the gear. It felt like I had just been for a 5 hour bouldering session!! It was very warm all day and also quite humid. Just as we returned to the ground the clouds fell in and a summer shower fell so we decided to call it a day. I'm driving down to North Wales tonight and spending a week climbing in as many different areas as possible.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Cragging at Onich Slabs 5/5/08

Yesterday I took a Dutch family of 5 to Onich slabs for 3 hours of climbing and abseiling. After I rigged the crag, the group abseiled down to the foot of the wall. We did several bottom roped climbs, changing positions so everyone got a shot at each climb and had several goes at belaying. Then the group climbed to the top where I helped them into top roping mode so they all had a go at lowering a climber and belaying them from above. The group then abseiled once more to the bottom and then I brought them each up on a top rope. Skies were blue, very little wind and very warm. I then had to get back down to the Ice Factor to do a 1 hour rock climbing session on the wall. (no pictures)

Lochaber College 30/4/08-01/5/08

I went for an over night expedition with the Outdoor Education students from the college in Fort William. The focus of the 2 days was to look at their navigation, leadership styles, group management and camp craft. We headed east from the Grey Corries where some relatively low lying hill are present (Beinn Chlianaig 724, Cnap Cruinn 742), these hill created great navigation legs for the group, especially as the cloud was dropping and visibility became quite poor. After a full 1st day of walking and navigating we arrived at a suitable camping location (293,757 sheet 41) which the students selected, we set up camp then had a huge feast! After dinner I led the group up one of the nearby hills (Cruach Innse 857m) for a leg stretch and a snowball fight! After a bit of chatting back at the campsite everyone headed to bed. The next day after breakfast and packing up we headed back out via the path along Lairig Leacach. Great 2 days, weather was a wee bit hit and miss on the first day but very warm on the second.

Training at Glen Nevis 18/4/08

Today Will and I headed back down to the glen for some more routes as Wills SPA is drawing close. It was an amazing day, blue skies, no cloud and a very light wind. Most importantly the rock was bone dry. We mainly aimed for single pitch routes such as Pinnacle Ridge, Staircase, Freds Delight, Tear, Right wall and we also climbed the Gutter in 4 Pitches. Will led all the routes well except Freds Delight which he backed off and I climbed. Unfortunately I'm still injured so I wasn't able to get onto any route from my tick list. :-( We later headed into Fort William for an ice cream :-)

Snowboarding 13/4/08

Today was a great day on the slopes. We found plenty of fresh powder on the upper sections of the hill. Visibility was limited higher up but was great lower down. I was out with my sister and her friend Dan. Dan is a experienced snowboarder whereas my sister likes to make the most out of a run and takes her time. We went up to the terrain park for a while where I had a major wipe out causing damage to my ribs, after going to the doctors 2 days later, he said that the soft tissue damage could take up to 4 weeks to heal. :-(