Monday, April 29, 2013

Climbing in the Costa Blanca

I have spent the weekend in Spain climbing on the Costa Blanca. I was joined by regular clients Martin, Gez, Jude and Sue and by fellow instructor and friend Alec. We had a great few days clipping bolts and getting strong ready for the UK summer! It was good training in many ways as it was surprisingly wet for Spain in April, nevertheless we saw a bit of T Shirt action and had some good laughs along the way, sticking mainly to the coastal crags to avoid the wet weather in the mountains. Thanks all for a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Intro to Scrambling

I have been into Cwm Idwal today with Mike and Andy for an intro to scrambling course here in Snowdonia. The day started off overcast but quickly brightened and we enjoyed a good day heading up Seniors Gully and then Seniors Ridge to the summit of Glyder Fawr before descending the Devils Kitchen. Along the way we coached movement skills, route finding and risk assessments before looking at how to use the rope to protect a nervous second and retreat off a difficult step.
I am off the Spain for the weekend now on our Costa Blanca Rock Climbing course, roll on the sun!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Navigation on the Carneddau

For the second day of our navigation course we drove round to the Northern end of the Carneddau and headed into Cwm Eigiau. We journeyed over the tops and put into place the skills we had learnt yesterday, polishing and honing strategy and methods of navigation in a mountain context. It was a much nicer day and we had some stunning views across the coast and the Conwy valley. Beautiful.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mountain Navigation & Hill Skills

I have been joined by Esther, Sarah, Steve, Mike and Dave for a navigation and hill skills course here in Snowdonia. It has been cloudy and wet all day which is ideal for poor visibility navigation and we spent the day looking at micro nav techniques around the Horns on Snowdon. It would be nice to see a bit of sun tomorrow though!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Climbing between the showers

Yesterday was a stunning day here in Snowdonia. Bryn and I met up in the Llanberis Pass to enjoy some cragging in the sunshine, as often happens though the pager went off and so we spent the morning with the Rescue Team. I then had a bouldering session close to home and we managed to squeeze in a hit to the slate quarries today between showers and it was great to get the fingers working again after the winter!
Bryn on Fools Gold, E1, 5b

Friday, April 19, 2013

ML Expedition

The last two days have been spent on the expedition element of the Mountain Leader training course. The boys and I headed up onto the Carneddau and enjoyed a couple of days walking, a wild camp, some wild night navigation and even a dusting of snow on the tops. It was sad to see the number of Carneddau Ponies that have not survived the winter snow but heartening to see how many have.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Security on Steep Ground

It has been a wet and wild day here in Snowdonia but that hasn't caused us a problem. We stayed low in the Llanberis Pass and spent the day looking at the use of the rope on steep ground within the context of the Mountain Leader scheme. The whole array of skills were covered and we then spent a bit of time this evening preparing for our forthcoming mini-break, wild camping on the Carneddau.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ml Training

Yesterday the boys headed up Cnicht for the second day of their ML Training. It is part of the syllabus that trainees get to head out with other instructors to ensure a range of opinions and views are covered and so they were out with my good friend Paul. Today I was back with them and we headed into Cwm Idwal looking at security on steep ground without the use of a rope. It has stayed dry all day and been gloriously sunny this afternoon so we were able to enjoy dry rock in our scrambling. We finished the day off with an evening tour of the Mountain Rescue Base to give the boys an idea of what happens behind the scenes in a rescue context and how they can of assistance of they need to call a rescue to their group as well as common mistakes to be avoided.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mountain Leader Training

I have been joined by Andrew, Richard, Robert and Colin for a Mountain Leader Training course here in Snowdonia. Today was spent introducing the scheme, looking at mountain weather forecasting and micro navigation skills in Cwm Tregallan. We had a giggle at the out of place work signs that seemed very odd in such a wild location, the National Trust are installing a hydro electric installation and the signs have been placed as part of the project. There has been a track built for the diggers to gain access and of course a couple of diggers are also parked up there. One signpost pointed the route to Lliwedd which whilst another pointed pedestrians to the only bridge to cross the stream. (Neither of which have been changed by the work) A case of stating the obvious but in a way that somehow intruded as much as the heavy machinery.

There has been a massive ride in temperature and lots of rain and so the mountains are being stripped of snow causing the rivers to burst their banks and adding real atmosphere to the day!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Scrambling Skills

Ric and I headed into Cwm Idwal today where we progressed the skills we looked at yesterday to include some basic kit such as slings and krabs to protect grade II scrambling ground. We spent time looking at selecting and using anchors, gave Ric a simple system that could be repeated in a short pitch scenario and also looked at abseiling. It stayed mainly dry all day and the warmer temperatures mean the snow is slowly melting.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

East Face of Tryfan

I have been joined for a couple of days by repeat client Ric who is preparing for a trip to Skye and wanted to spend the day on steeper scrambling ground looking at use of a rope only for protection. We floundered our way upto and along the Heather Terrace in soft, deep and wet snow before gladly getting onto the rock of Bastow Gully Buttress (II/III). We scrambled up onto the North Ridge and then descended back into the floundery snow! We had some sleet this morning but it was dry this afternoon and it was a great day out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I have a couple of last minute spaces for Kilimanjaro in June of this year. I am taking a small team to climb the Western Breach, a grade 1 scrambling route to the summit of one of the worlds 7 summits. If you fancy joining us check out the link:

The last of winter

I have had a cancellation this week and so have unexpectedly had some days to myself. Yesterday I wandered up into Cwm Lloer with the dog and had a play on Broad Gully whilst today I headed up Sergeants Gully in Cwm Glas. The snow has got very soft and moist and there was a lot of running water behind the ice in Sergeants Gully - so much so that I fell through the ice at one point. It finally feels like spring is on the way but wow, what a winter we have enjoyed. A very big thanks to all of the people that have shared it with me - its been superb and of course emotional!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Beautiful morning ski on Snowdon

It has been another stunning day here in Snowdonia. I headed to the summit of Snowdon and skied back down this morning to be home for lunch! The afternoon has been spent playing in the sunshine in the garden with the kids. A perfect day!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Italy and home

Dave and I headed from Chamonix to Italy and enjoyed a trip upto the Refugio Benevolo in the Gran Paradiso National Park. We climbed Gran Vaidala (3250m) from the hut and enjoyed a great ski all the way back to the car before starting the epic drive back home. I am now home in Wales and the weather is the same as Italy, blue skies and snow capped mountains - superb!