Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Restricted climbing

Yesterday was looking wet and drizzly so Blair and I met up with Calum and and Phil for some sport climbing at LPT over on the Great Orme. I climbed Kaffe Fasset (6b) to warm up then had a couple of goes on Ive Been a Bad Bad Boy (7c+) before heading up to the cave for some bouldering. Today John and I headed over to Gogarth to climb some routes which are usually banned due to bird restrictions. We started off by abbing into Mousetrap Zawn and climbed Mouse Trap (E2 5b) A fantastic route with some amazing rock formations. After topping out we headed over to Red Wall and undertook the spooky abseil to the bottom of fantasia (E3 5c) I led the first pitch and John dispatched the second pitch well leaving me feeling pumped and tired! A great day on the coast with fantastic climbing. Cant wait to get back out there.

Check out the Winter courses for 2011-2012 here.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Advanced Scrambling

This week I have been working on an Advanced Scrambling course. The group of six all had different aims and aspirations which meant we had alot to cover. The forecast was fantastic and it meant we were able to get on all sorts of classic and remote scrambles. On day 1 we went into Ogwen and climbed up the False Gribin Ridge and then down Seniors Ridge (Grade 1*), non are particularly trick but provided the group the opportunity to test out their feet before trying something harder. Day two we went back into Ogwen and climbed the East Ridge of Y Garn (Grade 2**), introduction of rope work was on the cards today. Day three we broke down the group and I took two up Dolman Ridge (Grade 3***) on Glyder Fach, again in Ogwen. Unfortunately the weather was unpleasant but we did have a great day and finished it off by descending Bristly Ridge (Grade 1***). Day 4 we climbed Sub-Cneifion Rib (VD**), Cneifion Arete (Grade 3***) finishing down the False Gribbon and our final day was up Clogwyn y Persons Arete (Grade 3***) and down over the Crib Goch Traverse (Grade 1***). Not bad for a weeks work, 20 stars in 5 days!

Check out the Winter Courses here

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Climbing at Clwyd

Today Dan and I headed East in a bid to escape all the rain in the mountains. We opted for Craig-y-Forwen (Worlds End). Unfortunatly we were only able to escape the rain for short periods of time, just enough for us to lead a route and then second in the rain. We started off on Finer Feelings (HVS 5a) which is a fantastic little route which Dan led. It incorporates great climbing and also has fantastic protection. I then went on to lead Tearg Wall (E2 5c) which has a fantastic long reach for a jug. Again the rain came in so we had to have a little break under the crag. I then went on to lead Crystal (E1 5b) which wasnt that great, a one move wonder. After this (and more showers) I tried Ego Beaver (E2 6b) but was denied by the rain. After a couple of wet attempts we decided to call it a day!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Adventure sports for families

This was a weeks adventure with several different families from all over the county. After a little time getting to know each other we came up for an action plan for the week. Rock climbing, Mountain Walking, Gorge Walking, Kayaking and Canoeing and to finish off we went orienteering. A wide range of activities alowed the group to bond very well and realise what activity they wish to persue. Mostly wanted to become rock climbers.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Afternoon slate hit

After quite an action packed day yesterday, Blair and I opted for a slightly later start and also somewhere without an hour drive! The slate was the only option! I have been wanting to do The Mau Mau (E4 6a) for quite a while so Blair was happy to hold my ropes. I warmed up on German Schoolgirl (E2 5c), a super route with only one hard section at the start (easy if your tall). Then Blair had a few goes on True Clip (7b+) and was making some good progress. After he had a few goes we headed round the corner and I led up The Mau Mau. Another brilliant route! After that Blair and I both had a couple more goes on True Clip, Blair getting pretty close to ticking it off. Fingers and rumbling stomachs meant we had to head back to the ranch!

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Today rain was falling in and around Llanberis so John, Blair and I headed East to Clwyd. We opted for the small scar of Dinbren. I started off on Alison (E1 5b) then we all led Traction Trauma (E4 6a) on after the other. Blair and I then both led Climb High (E4 6b), unfortunately I came off during the crux move, the mother of all rock overs! We also climbed several sport routes; Cold Turkey (6c), Technicolour Yawn (7a+), Inaugural Goose Flesh (6c+) and finished on Just Another Route Name (6c). All the climbing is superb but I thought some of the routes were a little blind! Make sure you don't do on a windy day, its pretty exposed!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Young persons week

Another busy week at work this week! I was working on the Touching Stone course for young people. Unfortunately the weeks weather hasn't been great so we have climbed quite alot in the rain and had to be quite inventive with the crags that we use. I was with brothers Luke and Dan from Harrogate. Both lads have climbed extensively indoors and have competed in the BRYCS.

We visited many crags including Tremadog Upper Tier, Castle Inn Quarry, Tremadog (Bwlch y Moch), Crag x and Craig y Forwyn. Both of the lads entered a mini bouldering competition on Thursday where they took 1st and 3rd place respectively, taking home a single rope and a t-shirt.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Back in Wales

Arrived back from the Alps on Friday, we didn't get a route in on the last couple of days as it was raining in Switzerland. Back here the forecast was pretty similar. Today we dodged the showers at Tremadog. We managed to avoid the rain all day only getting caught by a small passing shower. This was Grahams 2nd climbing day in Wales so I wanted to take him somewhere different. Firstly I led him up The Plumb (E1 5b) in one long pitch, a fantastic pitch with interest all the way up. Then we headed to the right and Graham led up Leg Slip (E1 5b), another route I haven't done and a very good route. I then led up Venom (E3 6a) which I found very tricky. After 1 fall I got there in the end. Feeling a bit pumped we finished on The Fang (HVS 5a) where I took the 1st pitch and Graham took the second. Nice to get back on the rock but I am feeling weak! Must do some more training!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Frendo Spur

After loosing my axe, Kenny and I had to head down to Chamonix to pick up my mountaineering axe to replace it. So as we were down we had a burger and some beers. This morning we took an early lift up the Aguille Du Midi but got off at the half way station. Our plan of action was the classic Frendo Spur. As we didn't get the first lift, there were several teams ahead of us but by the time we had got to a hard section and roped up, we had passed them all. There was one other team we passed higher up, they had bivied out over night. The rock was dry and clear from snow, there were a few snow patches here and there but never required us to put our crampons on. We were able to move pretty swiftly and we really wanted too because we didn't want to be on the snow crest when it get soft and mushy in the midday sun. Also we didn't really want to bivi out. We did carry bivi kit with us which we didn't need but we still made a swift ascent, topping out in 6 hours. All the rock sections were pretty steady and we only pitched a handful of times. The snow crest was exciting, we mover together all the way up to the steep ice section which was probably like Scottish grade 4. Really good route, another top day out in the Alps. The weather looks to be turning in a little so were going to head to Switzerland and see what we can find there.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Frontier Ridge (aka Kuffner Ridge)

Our hiding place just after dodging the rock fall

Today felt like a hard day! We summited Mont Maudit at the top of the Frontier Ridge at 10am after setting off at 5am in the morning. I know the problem was that we weren't acclimatised at all, and we had climbed up to 4465m, and only arrived in Chamonix the day before yesterday. Anyway the route was fantastic! The climbing was very exposed but never too difficult. The were quite a few snowy ridges which felt a little spooky but generally fun to climb over. The rock was generally pretty sound, plenty of loose stuff so we had to tred carefully. Unfortunately a team up ahead didn't tred carefully and one climber took a fall bringing off alot of rock with him. At this point Kenny and I were moving together up a steep snow slope with no protection but fortunately we had space to move to the right as fast as we possible could to just miss all the falling rock. If we were 20 seconds slower there would have been no avoiding it! We checked the climber was OK the scooted past them so we were above everyone else. The hardest part of the route for me was the last 100m height gain along the snow slopes, I could hardly walk! Note to self acclimatise before climbing to 4465m.

From the top we walked down to Col du Maudit and Col du Midi, picked up out gear stash and walked up the the Midi Ridge. At the lift I put my ice axe down for 5 minutes while I nipped to the loo in the station and somebody nicked it so I am now down a Petzl Quark Adze. If you have one for sale, let me know!