Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Elidir Fawr in the sunshine

Brett and I have been up Elidir Fawr today. Brett planned and executed the route with some micro navigation thrown in for good measure and some stunning views from the summit as the clouds cleared. Another lovely day in Snowdonia. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beautiful cloud inversion

Brett and I decided that the thick cloud and drizzle in Capel Curig this morning leant itself to practising some navigation skills as Brett is working towards his Mountain Leader Award. We headed up Y Lliwedd from Pen Y Pass and as we gained height we were delighted to pull up out of the cloud and enjoy warm sunshine, stunning views and a beautiful inversion. We descended the Gribin to add a bit of scrambling to the day too. Stunning. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Climbing at Tremadog

I have been out with Brett today at Tremadog. It started off dry if a little cloudy but was raining hard by 2:00pm. The rock was pretty greasy all morning but then it is February! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SARDA Weekend

Skye and I have have been out with SARDA Wales this weekend, search dog training. Yesterday we were based in Cwm Dyli at the foot of the pipeline on Snowdon whilst today we were round on the opposite side of the mountain working near the Rhyd Du path. It has been a lovely weekend with blue skies, warm sunshine and a good steady wind for the dogs to work. Great fun! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Now then

I spent the day yesterday cragging in the North Yorkshire Moors with Mick. In the morning we headed to Scugdale and then after lunch headed to the Wainstones. It was a little damp to start off with but a fresh wind and clear skies meant it soon dried up and we enjoyed some great sandstone climbing. Highlight of the day was probably The Sphynx at Wainstones - great fun! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ice Climbing in Norway

For my second week in Norway I was joined by fellow instructors and friends Mark "Baggy" Richards and Sandy Paterson along with Brett, Mick, Paul, Martin, Will and Simon for a week of ice climbing in Rjukan.

On Monday we all headed to Ozzimosis area and climbed 6 routes each from WI2 to WI4 including the classic of the crag Ozzimosis itself. This gave a great warm up day, was very sociable and allowed us to refresh skills for those that had climbed ice before and teach them to those that hadn't.

On Tuesday we split into 3 teams. I took Mick and Brett to climb Tjonnstadbergfossen (WI4) which have 4 pitches of lovely ice above Rjukan town centre and a great abseil back down again. Baggy took Paul and Martin to the Vermork Bridge area and climbed Vermorkbrufoss Ost (WI4) and Tungtvann (WI4) whilst Sandy climbed with Will and Simon also in the Vermork Bridge Area. The temperature rose quite dramatically during the day, starting off at minus 4 and increasing to plus 6.

Wednesday was a rest day so we all headed to the local ski resort and enjoyed a day of skiing together in the sunshine on great snow and with barely another soul on the slopes.

Thursday saw us back out on the ice for another day of multi pitch routes. I took Mick and Paul up Lysloypa (WI4) which gave 5 nice pitches in Rjukan town centre. Both of the boys did a spot of leading and we enjoyed a day of sunshine into the bargain. Baggy took Brett and Martin up Klappfoss which was the same grade and alongside our route whilst Sandy took Will and Simon down into the lower gorge for the day. We all then met up at the end of the day to climb Svingfoss (WI4) which is a truly roadside crag!

Our final day saw us all head down into the Krokan area. We climbed an unnamed WI2 (x 2 variations), an unnamed WI5, Topp (WI5), Bullen (WI3 x 2 variations) Gaustaspokelse (WI4) and top roped De Kaller meg Fjard (M7). We the headed back to the hairpins to finish the arms off on Svingfoss again.

We had a great week in great company and got lucky with the weather. Thanks boys!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Norway snowshoe expedition

Norway trip report

Last weekend saw a big dump of snow arrive at Stansted just as we were due to fly out to Norway. Unfortunately this meant that the teams flights were cancelled and a 2 day delay ensued. It was strange to arrive in Norway and for the snowy landscape to look identical to the one we had just left!

Within a couple of hours of arriving we were speeding across a frozen lake with temperatures around minus 15 c on the back of a snow mobile - very cool! We had a lovely 3 course meal with our hosts on the remote island that was to be our base for the first couple of nights and then went for a midnight trek to the highest peak on the island to put our snowshoes through there paces.

The following morning we rose early and set off to climb a nearby peak that stood at 1275m. It was a stunningly beautiful day with blue skies and sunshine. The sun rose as we trekked giving amazing views across the whole of the Hardangervidda Plateau.

After enjoying the summit views we returned to our cosy cabins where a roaring fire, tea and cakes awaited us. We spent the afternoon and evening learning to mush with the huskie team and fishing through the ice.

The final two days of the trip were the expedition element. We loaded up the husky team with our food and camping equipment and trekked about 14km across frozen lakes, over a high mountain pass where we experienced white out conditions and down through the trees into the next valley. Our accommodation for the night was a Norwegian Lavu, a circular canvas tent with a raised sleeping platform, log burning stove and chimney. We cooked our meals, helped sort out the dog team and the enjoyed an evening of live music as Olav our musher played tunes we all sang to on the Mandolin.

Friday was another lovely day with temperatures about minus 8 and the views improving throughout the day. We made our way through snow laden forests and back over the frozen lake to our start point before returning back to a hotel for celebratory beers and food. An awesome week in great company, thanks boys!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Off to Norway

I will be in Norway from the 4th to the 19th Feb and will have limited email and phone contact so my apologies for the lack of blogging action and email replies until I get back. Enjoy the snow! 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Climbing in the sunshine

I have been out with my friend Huw today, we both had a day off and wanted to make the most of the snow by going out to play. We headed up into Cwm Cneifion and climbed Golden Girl Ali (IV, 5). This is a "Baggy" route and turned out to be a cracker, well worth the stars in his guidebook. The main pitch was physical and interesting and gained whoops of delight from both of us, a mixed route that follows a line of corners and cracks through some off balance ground but still provides opportunities for good gear. After topping out we dropped down onto the main face of Glyder Fach and climbed another "Baggy" route, Lilas Chocolate Feast (III/IV, 4) which did not have much ice on and so felt at the top of the grade.

There were teams climbing Clogwyn Left Hand (which looked thin), and Cleft Gully on Clogwyn Du. On the way down we checked out Cwm Idwal and spoke to people who had climbed The Ramp and The Idwal Stream and reported climbable ice. We also met folk who had climbed Tower Gully & Hidden Gully in Cwm Cneifion and Arch Gully on Glyder Fach.

It was a stunning day, no wind, blue skies and temperatures well below freezing all day - fantastic. Photos curtesy of Huw as I forgot my camera!