Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crib Goch in the snow

I have been joined for the day by regular client Andy who was able to wangle a last minute day off work to come and play in the snow. We parked at Pen Y Pass and headed up over Crib Goch. The snow is down to the car park and gets quite deep in the drifts higher up but has not consolidated and has no base to it at the moment. Ice is starting to form and it has been very cold all day with temperatures below freezing. Where the snow has been trampled it gives some nice conditions and there was a nice path making it way across Crib Goch to give a fine day out. The crags were nicely rimed up so there will be some mixed climbing to be had. The wind was a bitter Easterly and the clag unfortunately stayed in all day, nevertheless a cracking day out and nice to see a couple of snowmen out enjoying the weather! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

5 new axes from DMM

DMM ISPO Munich 2012 from DMM Climbing on Vimeo.
Check out the video from DMM, only a tease at the moment but nonetheless an exciting one.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow Report

I have been out with the Rescue Team today on the Llanberis Path on Snowdon. It was snowing lightly all day from about 400m and has been getting colder as the day goes on. There should be some good accumulations up high now and with falling temperatures the wet fresh snow should start to consolidate. This next week looks like it could be good! 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Looking set for cold weather

I have been out with Archie (we have four boys and Archie is the second oldest) this morning for a walk on the Carneddau. Kate dropped us off just outside the village of Rowen in the Conwy valley and she and the other boys walked with us for a short way before taking the little ones back home. Archie and I joined the North Wales Path which we followed back home to Llanfairfechan. This is a lovely route that takes in some stone circles, some smaller hills and today gave us some stunning views across to the Isle of Man and South towards the snow capped peaks of the National Park. The snow level here is down to about 600m and it looks set to be a wintery few days ahead with blizzards and cold temperatures forecast. I am out on the hill tomorrow so will report back more then. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Snow on the mountains

I have been doing some work with my dog today below Snowdon. There has been a reasonable dusting of snow overnight down to approx 450m and more is forecast over the next few days. Fingers crossed! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Home in Wales

I am back home from Scotland for a couple of weeks now before I make my annual winter pilgrimage to Norway. I have been for a quick romp around Cwm Idwal this afternoon, taking the dog up North West Face Route on the Slabs and descending into Seniors Gully. It was beautifully quiet, crisp and dry, there was a smidgen of snow on the tops and some lovely weak winter sunshine. Its always nice to be home. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


We have had a really good couple of days with the dogs. Yesterday we were working under the North Face of the Ben whilst today we did a joint exercise with the Royal Navy Sea King. We were picked up from the hotel with the bodies being taken up onto Buachaille Etive Beag and then the dogs and handlers following behind in a second flight. We did a search scenario in the snow before making our way down on foot as the helicopter had been forced out by the heavy snow and strong winds. A great end to a great week. A full report will follow on the SARDA Wales blog.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Avalanche Training

For the second day of our search dog training week we headed up onto Buachaille Etive Beag in Glen Coe. We used some snow shelters that someone else had kindly built to the East of the col to teach the dogs to search and dig out avalanche victims. We also did some transceiver work, looked at avalanche avoidance and the older dogs searched some open mountain areas. A great day despite some craggy weather.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More lovely sunshine

For the first day of the SARDA Wales winter training week we headed to Aonach Mor today and did some winter skills for handlers, bodies and dogs! It has been a beautiful day with lovely views, sunshine and no wind and the bullet hard neve has been ideal for teaching skills. If only it was set to continue!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cold and sunny

I have moved down to the Kings House in Glen Coe this evening. I have organised a week of winter training for SARDA Wales which kicks off tomorrow. It has been a stunning day with blue skies and sunshine and valley temperatures remaining around freezing all day Here's the view from the bar!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Left Twin

I had a day off today so headed out climbing with my friend Jim. We went up the Gondola at Nevis Range and climbed Left Twin on the East Face of Aonach Mor. This is one of the classics of the crag and the crux pitch gave some lovely steep ice at tech 4 with first time placements. The top section was complete (the rock band can be thin and tough in lean conditions) and I was able to place screws the whole of the crux pitch. Great to be out on the ice!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dorsal ArĂȘte

Matt, Karolina and I have had a stunning day today with blue skies, sunshine and crisp neve to play on. We made our way up into Stob Coire Nan Lochain and climbed Dorsal Arete (II). It looked a bit bare from below but once on the route the snow was good and the weather and views superb.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ledge Route, Ben Nevis

Matt, Karolina and I headed up the Ben today via Ledge Route (II). Low the down the snow had not had a chance to completely re-freeze but once established on the route we had some lovely crisp neve to play on, the anchors were all easily visible and the lack of snow on the approach made the walk in easier and quicker. The temperature seemed to drop rapidly as the day went on and we had light snow showers throughout the afternoon but probably not enough to have an impact. There were teams out climbing on the main gully lines such as Green Gully but I don't know what the conditions were like. For us the conditions were ideal, its great not to be fighting the wind and we had some lovely views between the showers. For Ben track key holders be aware that work had started this afternoon on the washed out section of track. When we got there on the way home the track was closed as they dug it out. We were diverted through the distillery which was pretty cut up in places compared to the main track. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Mountaineering

I have been joined by Matt & Karolina for the last three days of this week. They have been out with me for the last three winters here in Scotland and were hoping for a day at the Ice Factor and a couple of days climbing crisp neve in the sunshine. The weather meant that today was the Ice Factor! We were able to work on technique on steep ice and burn their arms out and so now I am working on the sunshine and neve for the next two days. Its been mild the last couple of days and a lot of the snow has stripped out so we need some more snow and some colder temperatures - fingers crossed. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Winter Skills Weekend

It has been pretty warm today and raining steadily all day. We headed up onto Buachaille Etive Beag to bag a summit and then used the Eastern slopes to practise the skills covered yesterday. The day finished in the dry - at the Clachaig!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Winter Skills Weekend

I have been joined by Ric, Ben, Iain, Simon, Gavin and Scott for a winter skills weekend here in Scotland. We used the uplift at the Nevis Range ski centre today to get up onto the snow quickly and spent the day looking at the use of axe and crampons, avalanche avoidance and looking after yourself in winter. It has been a nice day with some bright spells of sunshine but pretty windy with gusts of 70mph closing the gondola for our return journey. A great day out playing in the snow!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Buachaille Etive Beag

For the final day of our five day winter skills course we have been up Buachaille Etive Beag in Glen Coe. We had a nice crisp, cod start to the day which gave a nice firm snowpack for our ascent. The temperature rose through the day and it was raining as we made our way back to the car. On the way we revised ice axe arrest skills and reviewed the week. An excellent week with a great group of people - thanks guys and girls!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Sunshine and stunning views

We have been rewarded for the poor weather of the last couple of days by a lovely day of sunshine and light winds today. We headed up Stob Ban from Geln Nevis and as well as some stunning views we enjoyed some nice crisp snow after the moisture from yesterday had frozen overnight. In places this was a little crusty but on the ridge the wind scoured snow combined with the refreeze gave us some lovey crampon conditions. We summitted and then did some ice axe arrest practice in descent as the sun went down. A stunning day showing Scotland at its best.