Monday, 30 November 2009

Another season starts

Today was the first day of winter when you could go climbing and it seems folk have.

Me and Big Tim headed up into Nameless Cwm, being one of the highest cwms in Snowdonia it is a safe bet. We were surprised to see how much snow there was and how low it was ( 500 m. ) Our main aim was to do Manx Wall as knowing the turf would not be really frozen this route relies mainly on rock in its upper reaches. with blobs lower down. However, the turf was not frozen at all, climbable ? maybe ? , but not really envrio friendly and not good for future ascents. Therefore, we opted for Pillar Chimney IV-4 instead. From the top of the ramp, there was a good old fashion thrutch in the chimney pitch and some slabby and Ice ground on the third pitch.

Tim enjoying the chimney pitch

Top of the chimney

Olly Saunders a trip up the Trinty Face on Snowdon and climbed R-H - Trinity. Lots of snow, good rime, cold, turf frozen on surface all in all and very nice day out.

Pictures of Trinity Face ( Thanks to Olly )

Some chaps were on El Manco VI-6 . One of Snowdonia's classic routes, great climbing, great atmosphere a top 3 star route. With the first pitch using a lot of turf and that not really forzen today, then it would be best to leave this for now.

A picture from Huw Gilbert shows how much snow Cadair had on Saturday, so that will still be there.

Finally with good forecast for Tuesday Morning, changing later in the day and week, then its a day to get out if you can.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Indoors Today

Here is a picture of the Snowdon Horseshoe on Saturday Afternoon.

Today, the weather turned for the worse with wind and rain upon us again. Is it going to snow high up ? The forecast would indicate this, but it is not certain and the mnts were all covered in cloud this afternoon.

I drove down the pass at 9.00am today, it seemed snow was only remaining high up and it looked through the clag, to be thinly spread and the temp at Pen Y Pass was plus 4 degrees.

However, I got stuck into more dry tooling today with the added benefit of having Mountain Equipment sponsored climber Andy Turner on hand to give advice. Being involved in organising workshops for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors ( AMI ) AGM for this weekend, I got Andy in to pass on some of his hard earned expertise. With the kind help of Steve Mayers at The Beacon Climbing Wall, Andy created 6 routes and a few traverses which had all kinds of techniques built into them, can opener moves, torks, laybacks, opposition moves, hooks, side pulls, pockets to name a few.

Chris Guest trying out a variety of axes.

Andy demonstrating another type of move

Chris honing his skills

The session ended, as you would expect, with everyone quite wasted.

Andy giving us another few tips

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Who would have thought it !!! Sat 28th Nov 09

Today I could not believe my eyes when I looked out the window. There was a good covering of snow down to 300m,s cars were getting stuck in the Ogwen and the Pass due to 3 inches of snow on the road.

Talk about Carma, it was this date last year that the first routes were done in Wales, so will we see a repeat of this. We will have to wait and see. No point in getting too excited too soon. But hey, its a good start and helps focus the mind.

Unfortunately, I am unable to get out today as I am involved in running the AMI - AGM at PYB. However, if anyone gets out even for a nice day out let me know and get some pics to me.

Hopefully will have some pictures later

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Welcome Back-Has 9 months really passed- Fri-27th Nov 09

Well here we go again, winter is dawning and as always the tease of the weather is going to play havoc with our minds.

Firstly, I must thank you all, for the support and thanks which I received at the end of last winter. The results of the blog were far beyond my expectations. The aim, was to inform climbers of conditions and promote N Wales as a leading venue for winter climbing and boy did it do that. Finally, it was to open all your eyes to the fact that N Wales is not a place that you have to wait years in order to climb some fat chunky ice, mixed is where it is at and those North of the Border have had it too good for years.

So how do we follow on from last winter, I for one have no answer this question, apart from pray !

Has North Wales had any signs of winter as of yet ? The answer is yes, but before you get too excited is was just a very small tease.

November 9th -09 found North Wales covered in its first ground frost of the season ( see picture ) alongside blue skies. Two days previously the first snow arrived, though it was insignificant, just a thin covering on the tops of the Carneddau which quickly disappeared as we were hit with two weeks of deluge. Our thoughts must go out to those in certain areas of Cumbria.

Based on last year, winter is behind currently. Having climbed Central Trinity near the end of October 08 in knee deep snow, North Wales found itself under a cold spell near the end of November 08 which produced the first good conditions of the season on the 28th November. This lasted for nearly two weeks and lots of action was seen, new routes produced and first ascents of certain rock routes recorded.

The result was a sense of excitement and physce, not seen in Wales for some years in regards to winter. Alongside this was the accompanying BS and all this before XMAS what a year. Anyway without the where would we be.

So what is in store for this winter, I predict a huge wave of action when conditions arrive, there is so much muttering in North Wales, climbers are being coy, hinting at great things and I have got thee Andy Turner running 3 dry tooling workshops at the AMI AGM this weekend and they are all full. What a result, would this have happened a few years ago ?

So stay tuned, this is the beginning, I HOPE, of a another 4 month relationship which will see us all in the dog house at sometime as we battle with the elusive draw of the white stuff alongside that arena called life. Oh and not forgetting that BS which we all will add to those tales of that was the best route of our life, it was so hard, I was so pumped out my box, but how I am a Jedi.

Finally, for total inspiration I leave you with one of North Wales greatest winter achievements, still waiting a second ascent !!!! produced from a man - not a sponsored climber - called Dia Lampard. With no desire for the latest fashion or gear, but just an immense passion for climbing on his home patch, he produced a winter a traverse of LLiwedd. Where is that crag you may ask ? The picture below will give you a clue, but some of you will need a map. But this is a crag which would rival many of the greats up North and leave many of them standing.

Above - On the walk into LLiwedd

FINALLY I leave you with the following image. It just goes to show that no matter what anyone can be mad for it.