Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gribin Ridge

The Jones family and I headed up the Gribin Ridge today onto the Glyder plateau and over the summit of Glyder Fawr. We had a damp start but the day brightened up and we had some nice sunshine this afternoon.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Intro to scrambling course

I have been joined for the weekend by Peter, Jan & Matthew for a family scrambling introduction. Today we enjoyed blue skies and sunshine on the North Ridge of Tryfan with the obligatory photo on the cannon for good measure!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mountain Leader Training

We have had a great week of sunshine here in North Wales. I have spent the last two days on camp with the Mountain Leader Trainees from Blue Peris Mountain Centre. We camped in the Carneddau and had some good night navigation practice last night. Tuesday evening was spent running an evening lecture at Blue Peris and Wednesday evening at a Mountain Rescue meeting in Nant Peris so its been a busy week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mountain Leader Assessment

I am working on a Mountain Leader Assessment for the first two days of this week for Blue Peris Mountain Centre before switching over to a Mountain Leader Training Course for the last 3 days of the week. This involves a couple of evening lectures and an overnight camp so the BLOG will remain unattended for the rest of the week! The weather has been nice today and with a high pressure set in it looks to stay fair for the rest of the week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Frendo Spur, Chamonix

The Frendo Spur is a magnificent classic mixed route in the French Alps above the world famous town of Chamonix. It is approx. 1200m long and sits on the North Face of the Aiguille du Midi in the Mont Blanc massif. Alec and I headed out to Chamonix with a 5 day window and with the Frendo as our target. We arrived late Monday night, grabbed a forecast that promised 2 1/2 days of good weather with a storm coming in on the 3rd day and slept the sleep of the nervous excited climber.

After some judicious packing the following morning we set off from the valley floor for an acclimatisation walk to the Auiguille de Plan where the route starts. We bivvied at the foot of the route and enjoyed a beautiful sunset and cloud inversion over Chamonix. We started off the next morning after sunrise and climbed the rock section. A mixed climb is one that involves climbing rock, snow and ice in the same route. The weather was pretty cold with temperatures of -2c at the Auiguille de Plan dropping to -12c at the top of the route so we had a big dilemma as to what boots to wear. In the end we both plumped for plastics and wore Scarpa Omegas which would be great for the snow and ice, keep our tootsies warm but not be so great on the rock sections. (In reality we had only limited choice due to baggage restrictions on the flight and of course money!)

A recent dump of snow meant that there was plenty of the white stuff about and it all felt quite wintery. We moved unroped for the first section of the climb but the difficulties gradually increase and we moved together for as much as possible with the rope and pitched the difficult sections. There were a couple of pitches of about VS with most of the upper section sustained V Diff to Severe climbing. There we no easy scrambling sections once the initial ramps had been passed. If you are fit and acclimatised the route can be completed in a day but we had decided that due to our lack of acclimatisation we would bivvy after the rock section. We finished the first day late afternoon and brewed up at the bivvy site before settling down for a restless nights sleep.

The following morning saw another 3 hours of climbing to the top. We moved together up a beautiful snow arete whilst the sun came up before pitching a traverse on good snow ice below the summit rognon. We turned the rognon on the right hand side and enjoyed several pitches of good quality snow and water ice to the summit. The photos show the route and more will follow on my gallery pages.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Off to the Alps

I am off to the Alps first thing tomorrow morning so will be out of contact for a week until Monday 22nd September. Kate is at home and so will be on the end of the phone for general enquiries.

Intro to Climbing Course - Holyhead Mountain

It has been sunny again all day today, thats two days in a row!! We headed to Anglesey and had a day climbing on Holyhead Mountain doing some great Severes and Very Severes and an abseil.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Intro to Climbing Course - Tremadog

It has been sunny and warm all day today, a beautiful day for rock climbing in Snowdonia and thats what we have been doing! I have been joined by Karen, Mark & Michael and we spent the day climbing single pitch routes from V Diff to Very Severe and did an abseil. All with beautiful views and sunshine - bliss!

Friday, September 12, 2008

East Ridge of Y Garn

Russel & Ian took over the sharp end of the rope this morning and took turns leading the initial lower part of the East Ridge of Y Garn. This is a grade 2 scramble and the guys were able to put into practice the skills we covered yesterday and learn a few more. I took over for the steep upper section and we enjoyed some fine views, dry weather all day and some impressive Chinook flying from the RAF.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dolmen Ridge & Descent of the Gribin

I have been joined for 2 days by Ian & Russell for a 2 day advanced scrambling course in Snowdonia. Today we headed up Dolmen Ridge, a great grade 3 ridge scramble that tops out at the summit of Glyder Fach. We descended the Gribin Ridge and were pretty wet all day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Private Guiding - Advanced Scrambling

I was joined by Keith and Denys today for a day of grade 2 and 3 scrambles. With 75 mph gusts forecast on the tops again I was keen to stay low so we did the North West Passage Route (grade 2) followed by the Cneiffion Arete (Grade 3). It stayed dry all day and we had some nice sunshine.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Little & North Gullies, Tryfan

The weather forecast was truly awful today with 75mph gusts forecast and persistent rain. We avoided the worst of the wind by staying on the East Face of Tryfan on Little & North Gullies and then traversed across to the wider section of the North Ridge for our descent. The winds were not as strong as forecast but it was wet.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Intro to scrambling course - Seniors Ridge

I was joined today by Colin and returning clients Nick and Sam for an intro to scrambling course. All 3 started the day slightly nervous about heights so we picked Seniors Ridge which has plenty of good scrambling when combined with the gully from Cwm Idwal to Cwm Cneiffion but it is all escapable if needs be. We had a great day and the sun was present throughout so a real treat of late!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

North West Face Route, Cwm Idwal

I have been joined toady by regular client Monica and Geoff. The weather has been much better than forecast and we have had a very enjoyable day on the North West Face route, a grade 2 scramble that makes its way up the right hand side of the Idwal Slabs. We then crossed the top of the slabs and did an abseil off Suicide Wall.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mountain Navigation Tips - New Article

I have written a new short article on mountain navigation in the instructors tips pages of the website. You can read it here:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Family work house!

I have had an admin day today and have got the whole family hard at work on the last day of the school holidays. I have been mailing out our new winter brochure for the 2009 season and we had a real conveyor belt going with even Archie, aged 6, working hard sticking stamps on envelopes! If you would like to receive a copy then drop me an email with your name and address.