Friday, March 30, 2012

More warm, dry rock - bliss

Keith, Gazz and I headed back into Cwm Idwal today to progress up the grades from yesterday. We started off on the Idwal Staircase (2) before topping out on the Cneifion Arete. It has stayed warm and dry although we were in the cloud for most of the day, parts of the Park were still in the wonderful sunshine. Make the most of it as it looks chilly for the next few days with perhaps even some snow on the very tops! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another day in paradise

I have been joined for two days by Gaz & Keith for an advanced scrambling course here in Snowdonia. It has been another stunning day with warm sunshine and crystal clear blue skies. We made our way up the East Ridge of Y Garn, enjoying the warmth of the rock and made even more Alpine by the helicopter buzzing below us as it delivered stones for the path. In descent we looked at use of the rope on its own to protect a nervous second on grade 1 ground. A beautiful day to be out in the mountains. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ML Refresher

I have been out with regular client and friend Charlie today who is preparing for his ML Assessment. We headed into Cwm Idwal and looked at security on steep ground with and without the rope. It has been another stunning day, we are being spoilt! I also had a nice evening cragging last night with my son Archie at Tryfan Bach, it's lovely to have the warm light evenings again!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Search Dog Assessment

Skye and I have been running around the mountains of Snowdonia this weekend whilst being assessed by SARDA Wales as a Novice Mountain Search Dog team. It has been really hot which is lovely for most things but a bit warm for a search dog that still has her winter coat on! Nonetheless we searched 4 areas and found all of the hidden bodies in each area and got the result we were looking for - we are now qualified for mountain searches which is great news! We have also had a busy weekend with the Llanberis team, read more on our team Facebook page. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Highlights from this winter

Here are some of my favourite memories in photos from this winter.
Winter Climbing in Snowdonia

Winter Skills in Scotland

Winter Mountaineering in Scotland

Winter Climbing in Scotland

Snowshoeing in Norway

Snowshoeing in Norway

Ice Climbing in Norway

Winter Skills in Scotland

Tower Ridge, Scotland

Last of the Summer Wine

I spent yesterday in the Lake District doing some walking with my Mum & Dad and Aunty Marg, Aunty Jenn and Uncle Mike! Mum & Dad are ticking off the Wainwrights to add to their Munros North of the border (they just like lists really!) and so yesterday Skye and I joined them to tick off Bowscale Fell, Bannerdale Crags and Souther Fell. Unfortunately Julia Bradbury was nowhere to be seen but nonetheless we had a lovely day and it was great to catch up and have a natter for the day. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Last day of winter?

Mick and I spent our final day in Scotland tackling some steep ice and dry climbing at the Ice Factor. We headed home this morning in torrential rain and double figure temperatures so it feels nice to be back in Wales in the sunshine. Is that it for winter, unfortunately I think it is!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Number Three Gully Buttress, Ben Nevis

Mick and I have been back up the Ben today. We headed into Coire na Ciste and climbed Number Three Gully Buttress. I would describe the route as being "passable with care" rather than optimum climbing conditions! The first pitch was quite thin and delicate, on the traverse higher up there was no snow and lots of loose rock but the other 3 pitches gave some good sport and a fun day out. We didn't see the sun today but the top of the route was riming nicely in the wind. Another team abseiled out of one of the central gullies after the ice ran out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis

I have been joined for a few days by regular client Mick who has an ambition to climb the Matterhorn this summer and and so wanted a bit of practice on mixed mountaineering routes here in Scotland. Tower Ridge gives over 1000m of climbing, gaining over 500m in height at grade IV, 3 and so is the an ideal training ground. We left the car at 8:30 and enjoyed an easy walk in with no snow underfoot and the pleasure of being first on the route. It was a bit claggy but as we gained height and reached the snow line we pulled out above the clouds to stunning blues skies and a wonderful cloud inversion. We climbed the whole route in crampons and above the little tower the snow was crisp neve, the Eastern Traverse was a joy and the rock above dry and almost warm! We toppe dout at 12:30 and after a lunch enjoying the brocken spectres and sea of cloud below us we headed down number 4 gully where Mick arranged an abseil for us on the upper section. Here the snow was soft and granular, not the neve we had enjoyed higher up, and we were back in the clag. A wonderful day in the mountains summed up by the photos and expressions on Micks face.