Saturday, 31 January 2009

Here are some pictures taken this afternoon, to show you conditions.

Photo of Snowdon from Fachwen

Photo of Carneddau

Friday, 30 January 2009

Last few days and this Weekend

Adam Harmer was out helping some mates learn the ropes on Central Trinity ( Snowdon grade II. ) on Thursday. He reported a soft wettish surface although if it froze it would be awesome neve. There was plenty of snow on the summit and crampons were needed from just after where the PYG and Miners tracks meet.

The last few days has seen a thaw take place. On the way home today the Black Ladders and Carneauddu looked a lot different than 2 days ago. When it does get cold I would go to Snowdon to seek out some gullies. However, most of the the crags are black. The forecast for Saturday is poor ( windy and warm ) but Sunday is good and very cold. So Sunday is the day to get out as that neve should be bomber.

Photos showing James Bruton (white helmet) belaying Paul Walley on the steeper pitches of Central Trinity

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

North Wales Hit the Headlines

North Wales winter climbing has hit front page news of UKC today. It is so good to see this happen. Often thought as a lost backwater of winter action, this year has proved it can stand up there against North of the Border. The funny thing is, we have not had really good conditions as of yet. If these came then the flood gated would really open.

Keep you eye on that forecast as another good spell could well be on the way. It is worth remembering, last year I had perfect winter conditions on the Easter weekend.

On to today, It has been another beautiful day here in North Wales. There has been a decent thaw, but all is not lost. The gullies are still holding snow high up. However, it is the crags which have gone black. As soon as the temp goes down then stellar neve will be yours for the taking. Also if it does go cold before it snows again then that will definatley help that green stuff.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Thanks to Derek Kenyon who sent me a report from last saturday ( 24th Jan ) . He and Rick had a good time on Chimney Pillar Variation IV-5. on Glogwyn Ddu. This is a 2-3 pitch route and is often in nick. Cheers Derek.

Rick moving right from the the top of the pillar to join top pitch of Left Hand Branch

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Reades Route

Today I teamed up with Adam Harmer. The forecast was due to be poor to start with, then improving later, so we had a late start at 10.30, which meant we missed all the rain. The weather cleared up nicely in the afternoon.

We went up and climbed Reades Route on Grib Goch ( HVD/S ) This provides 2 good pitches of climbing ( both at 30ms ) in particular the second pitch which has airy and steep climbing. It follows the summer route but combining the 2nd/3rd pitches. At V-6, this route provides much interest in particular the step off the pinnacle ( on the second pitch ) onto the steep wall and is well protected.

Near the top of the second pitch

Adam steeping off the pinnacle, on the second pitch ( Photo Toby Keep )

Adam on the first pitch

Adam following second pitch

Originally the first winter ascent was done in mid 90,s by Dia Lampard and Dave Green with the second ascent by Owen Samuels and Matt Stygle some 10 years later in December 2008 ( unless someones knows otherwise ? ) Ours was the 3rd and I recommend this route in summer or winter.

There is a lot of snow up high and I would assume the easy grade 1/2 gullies would be climbable. The forecasts over the last few days, have kept changing in view of where freezing level is for the next week. Lets hope they are slightly wrong.

Adam crossing the Foxes path. As you can see a fair amount of snow

Snowdon ( Sunday afternoon ) showing how much snow there is up high

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Saturday Evening

It has been a really nice day in North Wales today. Started off cloudy but cleared up, with sun and no wind. There seems a fair covering of snow high up. As for a idea of the snows base, it is around the base of the Ladders, Llyn Bochclywd and Cwm Uchaf.

The latest forecast now shows a better forecast for Sunday and better forecast until Thirsday. This current forecast is ideal for build up.

Saturday morning

All ready to go out this morning, when a call from my climbing partner informed me, that the stomach bug had taken hold of him. So If anyone gets out , let me know.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Update Friday Eve

It has felt cold today, with the forecast for it to be cold tonight. There is snow on the hills, see photo of Snowdon Massif from Fachwen.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Update Thursday Eve

Having spoke to Pete Harrison tonight on my way back to Wales, he suggested that snow has thinned out, but there is snow higher up. Also, the forecast looks more promising in view of temps and wind direction. I will try and get some pictures of the hills on Friday to help give an idea. Forecast looks quite good for Saturday.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tuesday Update

The snow on the side of the road was frozen at around 300ms this morning. It has been cold all day with the snow cover the same as yesterday high up. Wednesday is a good forecast. What to do ?

It has to be mixed. if you climb grade IV then Crazy Pinnacle Face on Grib Goch would be a great route to do. Reads Route next to it V is also a good route. If the turf was frozen on Glowyn Ddu then El Mancho would be fine VI. Lower grades try some of the scrambles on Glyder Fach, or Parsons Nose.

If you get out have a nice day

Monday, 19 January 2009

Update and something to look forward to one day

It snowed today around lunchtime and there was a fair bit of snow, even down to 100m,s. The mountains definitely look white, more white than the last time it snowed two weeks ago.

Not sure how hard the ground was before this snow, my thoughts not hard at all. Also, we have had a lot of rain over the last few days, with some of this as a light dusting of snow high up .

I will be away for 3 days as from Tuesday evening so will not be able to update blog. The forecast is showing, snow flurries and covering at times, SW-S winds and temps up and down but with a freezing level quite high ( 900m ) at times, so this looks like it may be warm. Currently I would not get excited with this forecast.

However see picture of Aber Falls in 1996 the last time it froze ( I Believe ? ) Something for you to look forward to, one day !

Perry Hawkins - Picture by Al Leary ( Secret Closet Winter Climber )

Sunday, 18 January 2009


A little dusting of snow down to 600ms , crags black. Forecast to Thursday is freezing below summits and snow showers at times.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


This man, some of you may know ? His name is Al Leary, yes we may be in debt for his all hard work and enthusiasm in view of the Llanberis and Ogwen Guides by the CC. However, today he was caught talking about winter climbing. This can only imply one thing ? he needs helps. Looking at this photo can only reinforce this. This man hates opening the fridge as its cold.

So please, if you see him, take custody of him and remove him to somewhere warm and sunny. I am sure once there he will come round. Good luck

Monday, 12 January 2009

Its Over Now

After a truly wild day this Sunday the hills are once again bare. Its worth having a read of this 

One things for sure you missed nothing on Sunday.

Routes to consider

Here are some photos of Pistyll Y Llyn from Saturday 10th Jan 09, yes, this year. This does look a very good outing. Its approx 500ft long and gives upto 5 pitches. The left hand branch is III and the righty hand branch maybe a little harder. Its not in the guide, but is located south of Machynlleth and can be seen from road SE of Glaspwll.

Tim Sparrow apparently did the first ascent of the right hand line over 20 years ago.

Shown below are photos of the falls. Thanks for Gary Morgan and Rob Watt, who is who on the pictures I am not sure.

Back to Cwm Idwal. There is a line( which is not in the guide ) to the left of the Sting. However, it must have been done before. It gives a good pitch of 4-5 and has rock gear near the top. Thanks for Rory for the pictures ( 9th Jan 09 )

Picture of where this line is to be found

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Its absolutely fowl here in North Wales. If any real hardy person has been out and achieved anything drop us an e mail and photo. I for one decided it was a cappuccino day.

Also,  if any one climbed any ice outside of Idwal last week and does not mind sharing the info, then send me some pictures regardless of grade.


Saturday, 10 January 2009

A day for all and unfinished business for me

As I pulled into the car park at Oggy Cott tea shack this morning ( 7.15 ) I did a double take. There were so many cars. This is great I thought,  a right hive of activity, climbers mad for some action. By the time I left ( 7.35 ) I counted 20 cars, with many climbers sorting their gear out hoping to grab the last of the current conditions.

Pete Harrison and I headed up to Glogwn Ddu not sure what to expect as it was in cloud. I had unfinished business with Blenderhead VII-8 from back in December 08 and Pete was keen to have a look at the first 2 pitches of the summer route Hebenwi ( E2 5a  5b  no winter ascent to date ) These two pitches lead up to the second pitch of Blenderhead  ( with this 2nd pitch being the 3rd pitch of Hebenwi 5a and the crux of Blenderhead ) When we arived at the crag it was apparent certain areas were covered in thin rime, others were not, even though they had snow on. Unfortuanlty Hebenwi was not really in so we opted for Blenderhead. Pete took the crux pitch and produced a fine effort with no falls, rest or aid. The crux was steep, pumpy and technical.

Pete on crux pitch

First Pitch

Lee, Chris, and a friend of theirs ( who had drove up from Coventry for the day )  were at the crag. Well they thought they were as it was so clagged in. They went and climbed the now uber classic El Mancho. First climbed by Si Panton and Leigh McGinley,  little did they know this would become a sought after a Welsh Classic.

On the way out of the corrie,  I met Olly and Keith from PYB with 2 teams who were on thier first day of a winter skills course. They all seemed in high spirits.

Berwyn took a friend Mark up Central Route III in Cwm Idwal ( see photo below ) and said he had a very damp and very windy day. At lunch time it was thawing heavily and the route had thinned by so many ascents. He doubts if it will be there on Sunday. Shame as you can see from the photo that there has been a fair amount of ice in Idwal

Gaz Davies was out in the Cwm and reported "we did a variety of routes with no names, linking sections of grade II and III/IV pitches together, all very nice " . Gaz was out with his partner Sarah, Davies Senior and friends,  Tom and Matt who were over from the Wirral for the day. 
( see pictures below ) He said it was all very wet when he left.

In the car park I met a few more friends, all having had a great day out and happy that they had managed to bag a route or two before it all goes. 

The day is to all of you who managed to get out climbing and escape that daily grind and have some of that magical ingredient. Welsh Winter. 

Personally, I think its all over for the time. Its very windy and warm outside. However, next time.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Its been winter today again

Today has seen N Wales bathed in blue skies. There was a frost this morning at my house, north facing and at 100ms. This evening on the way home, there was not a cloud in the sky, a full moon and it was cold. Arriving home at 6.00pm  it was -2 at the house.

2 handy teams went up to Cascade early this morning but reported running water and left it for another day. Would not surprise me if some ones try an ascent this evening as it gets colder. I am also sure there will be teams in Idwal tonight.

Berwyn went for another short trip into Idwal and reported good ice conditions on all the routes which have been in this week. Devils Cellar ( Berwyn on top pitch this morning ) having at least 6 teams on it today. He also said the thin covering of snow was still there at about 600ms

Mark has been having action with the white stuff again. However this time it was paint. Having a deadline on his house renovation has actually slowed him down.

The Met forecast for Saturday is windy, with freezing level around 700 rising throughout the day. However, that is a forecast.  I think it has not been 100% correct today. Also the local BBC forecast at 7.00 pm is saying frost overnight / morning and staying cold in morning. If I was you,  I would get up early and get out, that ice is not going to disappear that quick !

Ground up also have a report on the last few days

Have a good one

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Blue Peris leads again with another new route for Wales

With Mark and Gaz fired up from yesterday ( Picture above - Mark on Blenderhead Wednesday ) it was back up to Glogwyn Ddu to see if the fuss over El Mancho was up to it. With the ever super keen and enthusiastic Dave Evans raving about this route last month one needs to be open mined ? Dave is so keen on everything, is it really that good ? Marks reply, thats one of the best routes in the UK I have ever done. Dave was right.

Not content with this and with no need to get back early today, Gaz and Mark spied what look like a new line. So upwards they went and another new route was in the bag, unless anyone knows otherwise ? This route follows the obvious arete to the right of Glogwyn Ddu Gully, seeking out all the hard climbing. Called The Rutt at VI-6/7. Another fine effort. I will be glad when Mark is back at work. Not sure why did I not see this ? Just goes to show the routes are out there if your keen ( Mark on crux of The Rutt )

Guidebook guru, Si Panton, left the keyboard to gather dust today and was out in Idwal, enjoying the ice lines saying there was was plenty of routes to go at. So these should be in on Friday.

As reported Wednesday , Ian Parnell with Jon, who between them have been having some interesting and exciting trips up North of late, visited Glogwyn Ddu. They climbed El Mancho, saying that at VI,7 - being well protected, with good rests in between the hard bits is a *** route. So that is now all 7 ascents praising its status. Its a classic. They then went on to climb Blenderhead which after 10 years without an attempt has now received 4 within the last month. Ian seemed to think that VII,8 was appropriate which is what Big Tim Neil, Matt Stygle and Mark Walker thought. So not Wale's first grade VIII after all, but still a hard route for the time
( 1996 - 1998 ) and a fine effort from all. You can see a full report of these 2 routes on Ian,s Blog Jon on first pitch of El Mancho by Ian Parnell

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Local LEA Centre Leads the Way

Where to start, its been a great 2 days for North Wales.  New routes, hard routes, repeats its all been happening and South of the Border. Yes I do like the Scots and Scotland, but when Wales is in nick,  its hard to beat and has some of the best winter climbing in the UK. Oh and you do not have to walk far !

Early this morning I had a call from Mark Walker, Baggy I am  walking into Glogwyn Ddu and we have left the guides and topo on the dashboard. I thought you were in Scotland Mark, got back last night, spoke to Gaz who told me about your day on Tuesday. Also there is a team hot on our tails, so I gave him beta on Blenderhead VII-8 and told him to get to grips with that. Blenderhead had some action last December  ( see one of my old Posts ) for the first time, after 10 years since its first free ascent by Nick Dixon and the first ascent ( 1 point of aid by Paul Prichard 1996 ) Both the ascents in December led to leader falls and no free ascents, so the second free ascent was up for grabs. There was talk of it being VIII-8.

I then spoke to Mark again, again and again,  then the next call I found he was trying a new direct start. The main meat of Blenderhead climbs the 5a pitch of Hebenwi and does so by traversing in from the right. Mark had different ideas. Another call,  that was bloody hard  I backed off and think I am the original route now. Quick exchange of words and yes Mark was on the correct route. Another call and a well chuffed Mark was belaying Gaz having just finished the crux pitch. Did you do it clean I asked, do not ask Mark said, I had done the crux then my axe popped, but I got lowered down, pulled the ropes, then had it, does that count. In my eyes it does, but I am sure sure one will say otherwise. What about the grade VII-7 but could be harder with the cracks iced up.  The next call from Mark, I made it, what route, no I made the scan appointment with my partner and even had 5 minutes spare and it was only 2.00 in the afternoon. 

So a good few days for Blue Peris Mountain Centre (  website  ) as Mark also works there. Unfortunatley, I was at work today

Another phone call, this time from Si Panton from Ground Up, are you blind Baggy, what ? Well Adam Wainright and Streaky have done a new ice route in Bus Stop Quarry ! What ! yep on Rippled Slab,  check it out on the Ground Up website and also the DMM website.  The point here is that I drive past Bus Stop on my way to work. Not long after Ray Wood gets in touch, think you need to stop off on the way to work ! oh your to late . Top marks to Adam and Streaky what looks a great and very different route. ( Route Climbed on Tuesday 6th Jan ) Unfortuanalty the temps have risen today and this line was very wet this morning reported Si Panton who was keen to grab the second ascent.

They keep on coming. Back in Black VII/VII -7 Pete Harrison on a short stop over from Canada, reported in saying that he did a new line yesterday Back in Black on Eqautor Walls in the Pass. Looks like this area has been forming also. Looks like another top find and possibly another rare grade 8 for the North Wales, nice one Pete. See Welsh Winter Wiki for futher details.

I heard that Chris Parkin was looking at his old stomping ground the Black ladders reporting possible good conditions. Not sure what was done though. Chris has routes on there from the 90,s many at what he says are VI-6. From what BIG TIM NEIL says could be harder. Many are awaiting second ascents. 

Finally,  Ian Parnell also visited Glowyn Ddu and climbed  The now Classic - El Mancho - VI 6 _ also saying what a v good route this is.  So North Wales has yet another classic route of the UK. He then went onto to make an ascent of Blenderhead. However, thats all the details I have off Ian currently. However, check out his blog on Thursday he should have a report by then.

Well like I said a quality and exciting two days. The only issue now is the weather. It looks warm, with freezing level forecast above 900m. 

Finally as soon as I get some photos I will post them.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

New Routes On Glyder Fach - 6th Jan

Another cracking day in North Wales. Today I teamed up with Gaz Davies for another visit to Glyder Fach. The plan was to go back and try a few new lines I had spied back in November 08. I did try one then, However, on that occasion the turf was not really froze so I backed off. No issues with that today, it was all like iron.

In view of Idwal, driving up the Ogwen this morning many of the ice routes were looking a lot more white in colour from the road than previously. Snow cover was at about 400ms. My advice, if its cold on the weekend then get up very early.

Unfortuantley I am work until sat, which is a real shame as its so good.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Monday 5th Jan

A few more pics of Idwal, so you can see what conditions were like on Sunday 4th Jan. Also the snow was lying at approx 300ms today ( Monday 5th ) . Not a lot but enough to make the hills and crags white. It was cold again last night and cold all of today
( 5th )

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Idwal is forming - Sunday 4th Jan

Went into Idwal with Dave Brown today. Things have changed over the last 3 days for the better, ie more ice. Solo Central Route - this is grade III currently and it has good ice ( top pitch is not there ). Next, solo the Ramp, good ice again considering conditions and grade II- III, onto the Curtain next. This was grade IV today and not as fragile as it looks. After this we did the Screen, ice was wet but good, then finally over to the Devils Cellar. This is in great nick, 2 really good pitches, with really good ice and good gear. A great Welsh Ice route.

It was warmer in the Cwm then of late. However, this is good as it will help the build up of ice.

You could climb the Sting if your happy leading grade V and the routes over by the Trench are climbable

Theres lots of talk about the Appendix. This will not happen for many days

Looks good weather for next 3-4 days so plenty of scope

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Saturday 3rd Jan

Idwal seems the place to go currently. There seems to be a little more ice than when I was last there. It sounds as if things are slowly coming into nick.

Here is a report from Geoff who was in there today

Things are improving daily; today (Sat 03/01/09)the ice was thicker than yesterday. Heaps of folk on Idwal Stream which looked considerably better than yesterday. Central Route was fine; thick enough to possibly take screws up to 15cm. The Screen got a couple of ascents, the Ramp too & we found Devil's Cellar in quite good nick; lots of chanderliery stuff to knock off the crux but it was still solid. choices of two finishes on to the right-hand variant. The back of the Kitchen itself is getting there as is the Curtain.

Also Berwyn Evans went on Idwal Stream today and reported not to bad conditions ( see pictures at

Finally the south side of the pass is not in and there is less ice than on Wednesday. Sargents and Parsley Fern are the ones in the pass to do

Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Years Day

Went into Idwal this morning with a friend of mine Dave. I was not very hopeful and as you can see the pictures show that there is little there and not really in condition. So we went for coffee.