Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fresh Powder on the Grand Montets

Dave and I made the most of a serious dump of fresh snow here in Chamonix by spending the day skiing the powder off piste at the Grand Montets. It was still snowing this morning but the sun came out as the day went on to give an amazing day.

Video from the Silvretta Last Week

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ski Touring in the Silvretta

I have spent the last week in Austria with my friend and climbing partner Dave. We intended to come to the Alps to climb but the snow that has hit the UK has also been falling across the Alps and so our intended routes were buried! A last minute change of plan saw us head to Austria and we have spent the week ski touring in the Silvretta. Having never been before we were massively impressed with the super friendly huts, wonderful snow and beautiful mountains. We ticked off a couple of great summits and had some champagne powder days which were incredible. Now to make plans for the second week!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Off to the Alps

I am heading off to the Alps this weekend which is a little ironic considering the amount of snow that we now have here in Wales! I will be away until the 7th April and so will be out of touch until then. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rescue on Snowdon

I normally avoid blogging about rescues but am making an exception because as a Rescue Team we want to spread the word about the sheer amount on snow that will be on Snowdon this coming Easter. Here is a short film that I made on a callout today.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Winter 2014

I have had some requests for dates for winter 2014 so have put some together in expectation of another great season! You can view them here:
(Scroll down to the bottom of the page)

One of the winter mountaineering courses is already full but all other courses have lots of spaces at the moment so if you want to have some fun to look towards get booked on!

All the best


Monday, March 18, 2013


I am back in Wales and we have had a good dump of snow over the weekend. Today I headed out with Simon who is on my instructor mentor scheme and fancied some winter climbing. We headed into Cwm Lloer and climbed Moonlighting (IV/V, 5), we followed that route for 3 pitches but the top (crux ice) pitch was not there so we put a left hand variation in to take us to the top of the buttress. The first pitch of the route gave some nice ice, We then rapped down Broad Gully to our sacks and dog at the bottom! The fresh snow is deep and is no use for climbing, the crags are not riming because this Easterly wind is so dry but ice is forming low down and the ridges will currently give good sport. A cracking bonus day out!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beinn Udlaidh

Carl and I headed up onto Beinn Udlaidh today in the hope that the cold spell we have had this week would be enough to bring the water ice into condition. It was snowing quite heavily was we walked in and the low cloud kept us in suspense until we bumped into the foot of the routes. We climbed the classic of the crag, Quartzvein Scoop (IV,4) and then South Gully of Black Wall (IV,4). Each route was thin in the lower pitch but generally the ice was nice quality where you could avoid the hollow sections! As you can see from the photos Carl even made an extra friend on the walk in!
It was pretty warm and raining as we walked out so I think we grabbed them just in time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

East Ridge Carn Dearg Meadhonach

Matt & Karolina did the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Meadhonach 4 years ago as seconds and wanted to head back this year to lead it for themselves. The route gives a great mountaineering expedition at grade II and the summit views of the Ben are lovely. They moved well and I was able to give input into efficiency on winter routes and get them thinking about the advanced skills of moving together safely on ridges. It was a tad warmer today and we had some snow showers throughout the afternoon but this was falling as rain back at the car - good news for the grass fires that are springing up across the Highlands due to the 3 weeks of dry weather.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Pumpkin, Creag Meghaidh

I have been joined for 3 days by Matt & Karolina for some winter climbing. They have been out with me for the last 3 winters and so I felt we could give them something to get their teeth into on the first day, before Matt does some leading over the next couple of days. We climbed the Pumpkin (V,4) on Creag Meghaidh which gives 300m of great climbing with 3 decent ice pitches, the first two being brilliant, followed by another 3 pitches of great neve.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boomers Requiem

I have had a day off today so headed up onto the Ben with Carl and Dave. We climbed Boomers Requiem (V,5) which gave a great route. The temperatures have dropped significantly overnight and it felt decidedly chilly on the belays. The ice was also a lot harder than of late and the crux pitch felt quite steep. We had some light snow flurries as we walked off and its snowing now in the Fort, another blue sky and soft shell day for us though. A great route in great weather with great company, what more can you ask?

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Top Tips for staying alive!

Here is a useful article from UKC on staying alive whilst climbing, always good!


Yesterday was the final day of our 5 day winter skills course. The forecast was predicting 100mph winds on the summits and OS a big summit day was off the cards. We decided instead to go ice climbing at the Ice Factor which gave a great opportunity to move the skills towards the boys doing some winter climbing and mountaineering next year. Thanks all for a great week.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Summits & Shelters

We have had a bit of variety with the weather over the last two days of our winter skills course here in Scotland. Yesterday we headed to Glen Nevis and climbed Stob Ban on bullet hard neve with light winds and cold temperatures. Today the freezing level has temporarily risen to 1200m and the winds have picked up to gale force. We avoided the summit winds today by refreshing avalanche avoidance skills and looking at companion rescue before a session on emergency and planned snow shelters. It all felt a bit more Scottish today and the forecast snow and cold weather looks good for the weekend. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Winter Skills - Ben Nevis

For the second day of our winter skills course the boys and I headed up Ben Nevis today. As we climbed we enjoyed some lovely views through wispy clouds with a slight inversion. As we got higher we lost all visibility which was great to experience what the summits are often like in Scotland in winter! The snow was well frozen all day which gave lots of good crampon mileage but meant the red burn bum slide was not really a goer!