Friday, May 31, 2013

Loving where we live

These photos are mainly for Granny & Granddad so excuse the indulgence. The weather in Snowdonia has been stunning the last few days so keen to make the most of it the boys and I have been cragging at Conwy slabs and wild camping on the Northern end of the Carneddau.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Video of Old Man of Stoer and Am Buachaille

Here is a video of this weekends fun climbing the Old Man of Stoer and Am Buachaille.

The Old Man and the Shepherd

On Saturday morning Dave and I left the Isle of Skye and headed North, in search of dry rock and adventure. We had no fixed plan, just a select guidebook, a tent and some climbing kit. Our first stop was at the small coastal village of Diabaig where immaculate rock allowed us to get warmed up on some multi pitch routes by the sea. We climbed a selection of routes from HVS to E1 in the sunshine with the highlight being The Black Streak (E1 5c, 5b), an amazing crack climb on superb rock - a must do route! 

We then headed further North to the small village of Stoer with a loose plan to climb The Old Man. This is probably one of the friendliest of Scotland's sea stacks and was made even friendlier by a rope that had been put in place on the tyrolean traverse by a couple of teams ahead of us. They were on Original Route which suited as as we climbed Diamond Face Route (E1, 5a, 5a, 5b) which gave well protected climbing on good quality rock and some lovely sunshine. 

Now in the mood for sea stack action we headed further North to Cape Wrath, we couldn't really drive any further North on the West coast. A pleasant walk across the moors saw us stood looking across at Am Buachaille (The Shepherd). The sea was pretty rough and the weather deteriorating so there were plenty of reasons to turn around - it also looked quite intimidating just getting to it! Nonetheless we quite literally took the plunge with a swim across and climbed the route via Pateys Original Route (HVS 4c, 4c, 4c). The rock was pretty poor, loose and sandy and the whole thing felt pretty exciting but that was what we had come for. I would definitely take a wetsuit though if I was planning it again! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

Scrambling & Climbing on Skye

I have had a great week on the Isle of Skye with Martin, Gez, Charlie, Simon, Tim, Russ, Sam and Andy and fellow instructors Sandy, Huw and Dave. We have spent the week working at 1:2 ratios and each each done slightly different things each day to match up peoples experience with their hopes and wishes for the week.

On Monday I headed out with Charlie & Simon for their first day on Skye. With a threatening forecast for later in the week we were keen to get a good day in and so kicked off with the Inaccessible Pinnacle, followed by the round of Coire Lagan which gave a 10 hour day and some of the best scrambling on the ridge despite having no views in the thick cloud.

Tuesday saw the whole team get a RIB into Loch Scavaig. We walked round to Coruisk and then scrambled up the Dubhs Ridge. This magnificent outing gives about a 1000m of wonderful scrambling up magnificent Gabbro slabs and an exciting abseil off the summit. We then ticked the two Southern Munros before descending to Glenbrittle with some weary legs!

Wednesday and Thursday saw very high winds and snow on the ridge. Nonetheless it was bright on the coast and so we headed off climbing on the sea cliffs. I took Charlie and Simon to Elgol on Wednesday and Charlie & Andy to Neist Point on Thursday and over the two days we climbed some great sea cliff routes upto VS4c and got the boys doing some simu-leading.

For our final day most of the team headed onto Clach Glas Balven to complete the traverse of these two beautiful mountains. Andy had done the route with me last year so we headed back onto the Cuillin and climbed The Spur on Sgur an Fheadain, a grade 2 scramble that finishes at 688m and so avoided the snow and ice that sits from about 750m.

A great week in great company, thanks to all the boys and girls. I have a week off now to do some climbing here in Scotland with Dave so fingers crossed that todays dry weather lasts! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Isle of Skye

I am heading to the Isle of Skye tomorrow for my annual pilgrimage. I have been every year since I was 17 and absolutely love it! I am running this course:  but we might have a crack at a ridge traverse if the weather is good and theres not too much snow about. 

A week off afterwards to do some climbing with friends North of the border if the weather plays ball. Superb!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bastow Buttress Variant

For the final day of their course Tracy and Duncan took over the sharp end of the rope as I offered advice and coaching from the sidelines. We climbed Bastow Buttress Variant (2/3) on the East Face of Tryfan and they did a great job of leading their first route for themselves. We had a lovely day with just one light shower as we arrived at the crux of the route to add a bit of spice!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Llanberis Pass

Tracy, Duncan and I headed to Pont y Cromlech today in the Llanberis Pass. We spent the day looking at the nuts and bolts of leading grade 3 scrambles and then put it all together with them leading some pitches of big boot climbing on this sunny crag. We also looked at self protecting abseils as a step on from yesterday. It stayed dry and sunny all day, happily contrary to the weather forecast!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

East Ridge of Y Garn

I have been on the East Ridge of Y Garn today with Tracy and Duncan who joined me a couple of times last year and wanted to progress their scrambling skills this week on our advanced scrambling, learn to lead course. Having ascended the ridge looking at the bigger picture of speed versus safety we then climbed the first pitch of Ordinary Route on the Idwal Slabs and looked at an abseil retreat off the crag. It has stayed dry all day which was much better than the forecast, its still bitterly cold though!

Monday, May 13, 2013

IML Preparation Day

We have had an international theme today as Charlie joined me for a day of preparation for his forthcoming IML training course. The International Mountain Leader allows people to work anywhere in the world in summer and winter conditions and is a sought after award. Charlie was keen to be put through his paces with his navigation as the summer training course includes a speed navigation test. We parked at Ogwen Cottage and finished at Pen Y Pass with Charlie doing a great job of ticking off the features I had given him along the way. I tried my best to heckle him in a French accent and we had sunshine and snow in the same day to add to the continental theme.