Saturday, 29 October 2011

Climbing in the rain

Today went for a quick hit over at Clywd near Llangollen. It was drizzling on and off all day so we did a couple of easy routes to warm up (6b's and 6c's) before Evans decided to siege a 7c. I had a go on it and it was nails, i found it to cold to hold on to the holds. Dave had a good few goes but basically realised that it was a bit cold and damp. With a couple of routes under our belts, we headed home.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Slate Hit

After getting back from expedition, Tim and I ran up to the slate for a few routes. We headed down into Australia and I led up Off the Beaten Track (E3 5c) and Tim led up Crazy Train (6c). A couple of nice lines with some immaculate climbing. Unfortunately we didn't have a great amount of time so we bailed before it got dark!

Mountain Leader Assesment

This week I have been working on a Mountain Leader Assesment. I was assesing the candidates on all aspect of the syllabus from navigation to ropework, campcraft to environmental knowledge. Day one we walked from Ogwen back to the centre giving the candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their navigation ability as well as demonstrating they have what it takes to become mountain leaders. Day two we headed into Llamberis Pass and covered some steep ground so the candidates could demonstrate how they would look after a group. Day 3,4 and 5 we went on expedition. We walked out from the the centre and camped near Pen-y-Pass, then over Llwedd and camped below the Watkin path. The group had nice weather for their assesment, only a small ammount of drizzle.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Gritstone Hit Day 2

After a good breakfast at the Outside Cafe we all headed over to Stanage End for our second day. We did several routes some easy solo's and several harder highball problems. The main event for us was Chip Shop Brawl (E5 6c/V8). Dave sent it after only a hand full of ascent but Tim, John and I were unable to get to the top. A super high and scary problem, not to mention it is super hard!

Gritstone Hit Day 1

This weekend John, Dave, Tim and I all headed over to the Peak district for a spot of bouldering and sending some routes. We arrived at Ramshaw first and soloed several routes to get warmed up. Loaf and Cheese (VS 4c), Wall and Groove (VD), The Arete (S 4a) and Leeds Crack (D). We then went down to the main event. Everyone wanted to try Tierdrop (E5 6b). Its a classic mirco route which is usually climbed with pads and spotters which is exactly what we did. Quite a high ball problem but safe with a big team. Andy joined us as well with his big pad too. After a good session on this we went and tried Be Calmed (E2 6c/Font 6b+) and Force Nice (E4 6c/Font 7a). We then went and had a play on Night of Lust (E4 6b/V5) and a few other problems. After the sun had gone round we jumped in the car and nipped round to the Nth Cloud and everyone had a shot on the very bold The Pillar of Judgement (E4 5c). After John and Dave didn't want to commit to a massive rock over I didn't feel I should give it a go. We then went and did a few boulder problems just to finish our fingers off! A great day, cant believe I havent been here before!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Mountain Equipment Testing (day 2)

Today I was out with another team of outdoor equipment stores from around the country. The group of 8 all have some hill walking experience but they all wanted something a little more hands on but with no use of ropes. We opted for the North Ridge of Tryfan which stretched the group in different ways. The weather was particularly grim and not a great day for hanging around but great to test out the new gore-tex jackets and the warm down jackets. As always the conclusions were that Mountain Equipment clothing works very well!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Walking Group Leader Assesment

Over the last two days I have been working on a Walking Group Leader Assessment. I was assessing 7 candidates with Helen over 3 day, I worked on the first two. The group were demonstrating their ability to navigate groups around the upland environment, keep the group interested with their knowledge of the environment and also how to deal with emergency scenarios. We also went out night navigating so the group could show me that they can navigate in poor visibility and darkness. Well done to the 4 that passed.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mountain Equipment Testing

Today I was with Emma and Beth who work for Gaynor Sports in Cumbria. They had come down on a meet with Mountain Equipment to test out some of the latest gear. So we headed down to Tremadog for a spot of rock climbing in the sun. Neither of the girls had rock climbed outside so I led them both up Boo Boo (VD) and then Oberon (S). After realising that they both climb well and keen to learn more Emma lowered Beth into the top of Merlin Direct (HVS 5a) for a little bit of a challenge.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Pumped out of my mind!

Today Matt and I decided to jump on the 'winter training' band wagon and headed over to Clywd to a dry tooling venue. We warmed up on Apples (M7***) and then And Pears (M7***), Matt had been here before but I manage to on site them both. Both vertical route and quite spooky flat holds. We then went over too White Goods area and climbed Jaz (M8***). I didn't get this 1st got but sent it on my 3rd go then did it again as soon as I got back to the ground. We had a go on another M8, we got to the top but had to have a couple of rests. Great little training venue. Cant feel my arms now though!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Winter Navigation Preperation

Today I was out with a group of 6 who were after some preparation before the winter months kick in. The group have all walked and navigated in the summer environment but have very little experience in the snow. We firstly went over the basics of navigation and go over any grey areas before we got into more winter navigation techniques. We discussed the hazards and problems that can occur in the winter mountains and how it can affect us navigating and most importantly how we can deal with it. After revising the basic skills we went through several winter navigation strategies and what we can do in poor visibility situations. We spent quite alot of time looking at contour features and slope aspect as this was a week area for all the group as well as relocation. On the top of Pen y Ole Wen we looked at techniques for protecting near a corniced edge using a rope. Unfortunately the weather was very summery, I have never taught winter navigation/skills in a t-shirt and sun hat!!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Petzl Quark Hammer for Sale

This axe has been up most of the winter and alpine routes I have done! Its a good axe!

Mountain Leader Training

This week I have been working on a Mountain Leader Training, covering all aspects of the syllabus. Day 1 was the navigation day where we went up and around Crimpiau, looking at was of teaching navigation to groups. Throughout the week we have a big interaction with the environment so we made a good start on the flora and flora of the area. Day two we went into Cwm Idwal looking at leadership styles and group management on steep ground. As the weather was close to Armageddon, we decided not to summit the Glyders as it would have not enabled us to cover as much ground as we did and give the candidates lots of experience on the steeper ground. Day 3 was an introduction to rope work and some classroom lectures and exercises and we finished with doing some river crossing. Day 4 was security on steep ground day, again we went into Cwn Idwal and then back to prepare for expedition. Day 5 and 6 was the overnight expedition, it was mostly wet throughout the day but cleared up before we got to camp and didn't rain again until the next day. A great week with a fantastic group.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Over the last two days I have been working with a group from Cotsworld outdoors. The first day I took the group out to learn all about GPS units that they stock in their stores. It was perfect weather for navigation, very low thick cloud. We tested the limitations of GPS units whilst testing out the new RAB range of clothing. Day 2 we went scrambling up the North ridge of Tryfan. The weather was much nicer today, clear skies and light winds. This meant we had a quick ascent, then went up Bristly Ridge (grade 1***) and back down to do a little introduction to ropework which the group may use on a scramble.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Day 2 and 3 First Aid

This weekend I have been finishing of a 3 day REC first aid course. Its been a fantastic 3 days, learnt lots throughout the weekend. It has been very practical and it has been great to hear Steve's stories from past experiences. Its great to hear how he has put all these techniques into real life experiences! The only problem with the course was that it put me off doing a hard and bold climb that I really wanted to do as all these stories of people being pulled off crags! One day I will climb Right Wall! Instead I went for a boulder at the Cromlech boulders.