Sunday, February 01, 2015

Avalanche Avoidance Course

I am back up in Scotland and have been joined for the day by Al, James and Rich. They have all been out with me in winter before and wanted to progress their avalanche knowledge to be able to make decisions in avalanche prone terrain. We headed to the Nevis Range and had a practical day looking at human factors, heuristic traps, terrain features and the snowpack and how they all inter-relate in a winter mountain environment. It has been a stunning bluebird day and Nevis Range have been celebrating their 25 year anniversary which meant a full lift pass at 80's prices and powder for free!


Arctic Hare - look closely!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Video - Crib Goch in winter

I have had a couple of requests to make a short video of the final sequence from this years film, "A Year in the Mountains". Here it is, Crib Goch in winter with Skye from a quadcopter perspective.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Filming in Snowdonia

I have been doing some work on an advert for an IT company today. I have been hired in to provide location advice and as an actor for the advert that is being filmed in the mountains. We have been filming from dawn until dusk but seem to have got some great shots in the can, see I even know the lingo!




Saturday, January 24, 2015

Photos, Filming & Lecture

It has been a busy few days. On Thursday I was filming for the winter program of The Mountain which is a 6 part series coming soon to ITV and featuring the lives of people who live and work on Snowdon. After the filming I jumped on a train to London and spent yesterday doing a photo shoot for an advert that I have been employed for. I am the face of a print and film advertising campaign for a large IT company and will put the finished results up in the next few weeks, the photos below give a flavour of the fun I am having along the way!




Tonight I am giving a lecture at the Siabod Cafe on some of my own films, in aid of the LLMRT and then I am out filming again for the first couple of days of next week for the ad campaign - all good fun! 

Trail Magazine - ML Assessment

In the shops now is the latest issue of Trail Magazine which features an article from Dan on the ML Assessment that he joined us for last autumn, if you are considering doing your assessment it should give a good insight into the week.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cwm Idwal this morning

I went for a stroll this morning to see how the winter conditions are looking at home. People are getting out and enjoying the mixed climbing and the classic ridges will give great sport. The ice is beginning to form but with a warm blip forecast for Friday this may be set back a bit. Its looks beautiful as you can see from my moody shot of Cwm Idwal.


The Mountain - Coming soon to ITV Wales


Monday, January 19, 2015

Skiing in Glencoe

I spent the day in Glencoe today enjoying some stunning skiing in a stunning location, I will let the photos do the talking!




Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Stunning Day in Glencoe

It has been a superb day in Glencoe for the second day of our winter skills weekend. There is snow down to the road in good quantities, in fact getting in the car park was a struggle this morning, and we had blue skies and sunshine with very light winds all day. We climbed Stob Coire Raineach and covered some skills along the way, a brilliant day to be out.







Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter Skills Weekend

It has been a beautiful day here in Lochaber and I have been joined for a weekend winter skills course by John, Evelyn, Andy, Rachel, Julian and Ben. The skiers were whooping and hollering at the snow conditions on Nevis Range whilst we were captivated by the could inversion and sea of snow clad peaks - a stunning backdrop for us to cover all of the essential foundation skills for winter walking.





Friday, January 16, 2015

Ski Day

I have had a day off today and so after a bit of filming the snow in Glen Nevis this morning I headed over to Nevis Range for a spot of skiing. The gondola was open by the time I arrived so I caught that, skinned up and then skied back down most of the way to the car. The lower section was snow covered but the rocks were still catching my skis so I walked the last couple of hundred metres. Lots of fun!






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Snow, snow and more snow

It has continued to snow most of last night after yesterdays dumping, creating high hopes for what could be an amazing winter season here in Scotland. On this course I have fellow MIC and friend Dave working with me and he has teamed up with Simon & Charlie this week whilst I have been with Jim and Andy. With more fresh snow on the mountain and more strong winds we gave the boys some options this morning. I headed to the Ice Factor with Jim & Andy who were both keen to work on climbing technique whilst Dave took his team up the North Ridge of Stob Ban.

The roads were dicey first thing but the highways team have done a great job and they were soon clear. We had a great coaching session at the Ice Factor and the other boys enjoyed their mountain day, being beaten back from below the summit in deep snow and strong winds but loving the experience!




Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lots of fresh snow

We awoke to a world of white this morning in Fort William and it was soon pretty obvious that the weather forecast was out in its prediction on the amount of snow. We drove down Glen Coe and plumped for the Zig Zags on Gear Aonach which is a great alpine style grade 1 route that allowed us to stay relatively low. We spoke to people who had attempted to get into Stob Coire nan Lochain and been thwarted by the volume of snow, they also reported widespread avalanche activity in the Coire itself.

We enjoyed some shelter from the wind, a short approach and stayed low enough to avoid the avalanche risk whilst moving the boys skills on from yesterday to cover lots of rock mileage in crampons as well as some more technical skills - a great day out.





Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Mountaineering

I have been joined by Jim & Andy for a 3 day winter mountaineering course here in Scotland (Andy couldn't make today do was substituted for Rob who is on my mentor scheme). We headed up the Lost Valley in Glencoe with an open mind but keen to keep off the summits in the 90mph winds. We picked a line and climbed it, a grade 1 gully that was not so high that it was avalanche prone, and the boys lead it for themselves so that we could look at winter belays in context. A great day out in some true Scottish conditions!






Sunday, January 11, 2015

Plenty of snow

I have been over to Glenmore Lodge this weekend for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) AGM. You can see from the photo I took on my phone that there was plenty of snow falling as I drove East and I had to clear about 3 inches off my car roof this morning. The forecast is showing plenty more for the week ahead too but with some pretty strong winds still in the mix, caution will be required!


Friday, January 09, 2015

LLMRT Chairman

Last night was the AGM of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team and I was voted in as the new Chairman. Its a big honour for me, our team has a long and proud history as well as some brilliant people in its present day form. I look forward to the next twelve months.




Thursday, January 08, 2015

Breezy on the summits

The weather forecast for today was for fresh snow and strong winds and we were keen to get another summit ticked before the storm hits again tonight. We headed up Aonach Mor and as you can see from the photos the summit plateau has been all but stripped of snow. There are still plenty of accumulations to be found in sheltered spots and aspects and the crags were looking white, it was 50-60 mph on the top though so the fresh stuff was not hanging around! The weather was ideal for honing winter navigation skills and the boys did a good job of leading the day. Having bagged the summit we dropped out of the worst of the wind and refreshed ice axe arrest as well as looking at how to safeguard approaching an edge using a rope and emergency shelters. A truly Scottish day with wild weather, beautiful light and stunning views.