Thursday, 31 December 2009

Its getting like the Alps here and just look at the Ladders

What a fine day here, with the sun cutting across the mountains and crags which are really white high up you could have felt your in the Alps at times.

There is going to be quite a covering of snow high on certain aspects. No doubt this will be soft and powder like in places, but also slabby in places so be careful especially in the tops of Gullys where they open up.

Snow is down to 250m,s and the lake at Ogwen is starting to freeze over.

Ice in Idwal is getting back into good nick.

As for Me, well I was on sledging duty today

Hey Baggy,

Decided to pay Foel Goch a visit today, did The Curver (III) - fantastic route, never too tricky but lots of interest, good mix of verglas, rimed rock, frozen turf and consolidated snow; next up was Red Gully (I/II) - the major gully line that steepens near the top. Then went up 2 routes which aren't in the Welsh Winter Climbs book/ Welsh Wiki website, not sure if they have been done before. I will get a topo done and send it over to show routes. Cornices at the top of routes were all very solid. Descent via Easy Gully (I) is just that... easy! Had the whole Cwm to myself, lovely peaceful place.

Happy New Year!

Chris Hooper

Hi Baggy,

Up at Cloggy soloing today, backed off Eastern Terrace Direct as the ice wasn't great, so went up Eastern Terrace instead which needs lots more snow to bring it down to its grade. At the moment there is a section of steep thin ice, or sketchy mixed just before its joins the terrace proper which is definitely not grade I.

Trinity Face was totally plastered, so white the spider just blended in with the rock. I thought it'd be busy but only one other party there so i ran up Central Trinity which was great, a bit of a soft slog to start but better than i expected.

Finally i couldn't resist the Icefall on Garn Goch on the way down. It was in great condition, far better than the ice on Cloggy and a lovely solo as the sun went down.


Rob has been on the ladders today see this link for more info

Huw ( alongside Rob above ) also climbed Pyramid Gully on the ladders today and said good v good nick with lots of snow on the approach and easy angled gullies

The current Welsh Meca

Jubilee Climb

Hi Baggy,

Just returned from a "quality" day out on Cloggy ( Wednesday 0 . Jubilee Climb was in fine condition tho' the turf at the back of the groove/crack on the hard pitch (pitch 2) could have been a bit better. The head-wind on the approach & escape to the railway was awsome, blowing us off our feet! Full on Scottish conditions!!

Chris F & Geoff B

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Up dates on New Routes

As promised a few more pictures of Birdsong, the new route on the ladders put up by Adam and Dave this Monday. Speaking to Adam it was obvious that they were pleased with their new route, which is understandable considering how good the pitches sound and the type of terrain one can encounter on this crag.

Adam on pitch 3

Dave on pitch 5

Also, as promised, a few pics of the Booth lads who climbed a variation on El Mancho's first pitch and called it Mankini

Assuming your near the top of the ramp, Mankini starts up Blenderhead ( VII-8) and where this breaks out left up to it's first belay, Mankini carries on up and right up to join El Mancho at it's first stance. This variation is given VI-6.

Some other news of a new route is off Olly Sanders. Titanal 20m II 30m IV was first climbed in March 2008 by Olly Sanders, Gareth Davies and Miss Lissie Smith. So keep your eyes open next time your on your way to the Trinity Face and grab a second ascent. This is accessed from the PYG track on is this side of the Grib Goch Ridge.


Olly on pitch 2 of Titanal

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Ladders reaps another top new route on Monday. Today the ladders is well snowy

The major news this week is of Adam Wainwright and Dave Hesleden stealing a new line on the Ladders. They climbed this in mint weather and it comes in at VII-7 and is called Birdsong. Top effort lads this is a major addition to the North Wales scence. Please go to this link where you can read a report from Adam ( Thanks to Ray Wood and DMM ) I will post more pictures of Birdsong on Wednesday . Seems like the Ladders is becoming a re-found classic crag.

Today, Tim Neil, Stu Mac and myself went back into the Ladders. This crag seems to have some kind of draw currently on Tim and I. With a nice head wind on the walk in, low cloud, lots of spindrift etc etc we found we had the crag to ourselves. We choose to climb Pyramid Buttress. Given grade IV in the guide it may have felt a litte harder at times, but it gave a cracking outing with all the usual ingredient's of turf, grass, rock and ice and spindrift.

With 7 pitches of climbing, the first three being IV-V, the rest a mixture of 3 with the odd step of IV it provides an interesting outing up the crag. It has a right to left rising traverse on the first two pitches with pitch 3 giving a horizontal traverse with plenty of space below your feet with the odd runner. Not a place to take a wobbly second. The rest of the pitches see you wandering up the left arete of Central Gully with lots of short steps on good rock and turf. Topping out in the cloud and wind was a total contrast to yesterday.

2nd Pitch ( Stu on the Hintertosser Traverse or is it Hinterstoisser Traverse !!- middle of pic )

Baggy on the traverse of the Sods

Just the two of us and along came Dark Vader

Monday December 28th

Tim Jepson reports that the weather was perfect and the winter conditions excellent in Cwm Cneifion, despite the fact that the major icefalls are still lean or non-existent. All the Grade 1,2 and 3s got multiple ascents, but with almost everything in condition there was plenty to go at and no queueing. Owen Hayward and Tim Jepson decided it was high time that they stepped up a gear and moved into the modern era with an ascent of the superbly sustained El Mancho (although Tim still insists on using his 30-year old ClogVulture) and they then followed Crispin Waddy and partner up the totally contrasting Pillar Chimney, which was an exquisite thrutch on hooks and armbars. No other teams on Clogwyn Du today and the views from the top unforgettable. A wonderful day, despite the treacherous descent down the verglassed Idwal path at dusk.

Owen leading first Pitch of El Mancho the uber 3 star classic showing that modern tools are just hype.

Tim might have a Vulture , but it looks like Owen has got some relics as well. Nice one boys, grade VII next when you get new tools and go leash-less. Strap it on. Apparently between there 4 axes spans just over 100 years of age !!!

Tim Jepson belaying Owen Hayward on the third and final pitch of El Mancho VI-6. Owen is entering the V groove which many consider to be the crux. However, some feel the crux is higher up once over the small roof.

Tim seconding first pitch of El Mancho

Owen in Chimney on Pillar Chimney

Hi Mark,

Climbed on black ladders yesterday ( Monday ) Western Gully (direct) which was in great condition. Slightly damp on the snow ramps but the ice and mixed climbing was brill ! . topped out at 5pm and watched the helicopter rescue on the North ridge of Tryfan (hope nobody was seriously hurt!)

Cheers Karl Cleary along with my mate John who did all the tough leading

Hi Baggy

Went climbing on Clogwyn Du with Crispin Waddy yesterday (Mon). Climbed Pillar chimney, We then climbed the gully line on the left of the crag between Hidden Gully and The Crack, starting about 15m or so left of The Crack. Climbed this in two pitches, the first with good ice into the gully proper. Second pitch ended with a short overhanging wall, which involved a couple of steep moves on bomber hooks followed by a tenuous top-out move onto the powder snow slope above. Any idea what this route is? Dosen't seem to be any info in the current guide, or the more recent topos.

Dave Wagg

Hi Dave, I have tried it twice, both times in out of nick cons and backed off. I have not found anyone who has climbed it
( maybe someone as ? ) Anyway, I would name it and grade it and we can get it on the topo . I say we, I mean Pete Harrison who is doing a topo for this crag. ( Cheers Baggy )

Route Dave and Crispin are referring to above

Dave on first Pitch

Monday, 28 December 2009

Another day in paradise another possible 2nd ascent

Seems like my mate Tim Neil is gunning for my title of Mr Keen this year. Whilst I am away and embroiled in Xmas duties he has been out again today, this time with Rob from Joe Browns. What he needs, is his wife to a have a baby, that will slow him down !!!!

Tim and Rob on top of Ladders today

Yo Baggy,

Black Ladders busy today. Lots of teams on Eastern and Icefall gullies. Libby, Gary and Greg cruised up Pyramid gully. Team on Pyramid Buttress also. Adam and Dave exploring exciting new ground.... Me and Rob did Imminent Conflict VI-5/6, another one of Parkins routes from the 90,s. the man did so many . ( This may be the second ascent Tim ? nice one lads )

Seems like most of the Ladders is in nick, good ice all over crag even at the lower tier. Rock on folks to one of the best winter crags in UK.

Rob in the upper easier chimneys on Imm. Conflict

Some news from Xmas Eve which will help beta on the classic Clogwyn Ddu Gully

Hi Mark,
Climbed Clogwyn Du Gully LH Branch on Christmas eve with my girlfriend. Thought the main pitch (2?) was great, top end V 6 mixed into a very thin ice traverse to join the main flow. At the time we climbed it there was substantially less ice present on that pitch than is visible in the photo in the latest pdf download for the crag. It looks like this pitch will take some time to fully form.

On another note, I fixed a nut and thread as an anchor (with maillon) above El Mancho’s top out. Hopefully none removes it. From that (red cord) you can get down to the ramp on the lower part of pillar chimney on 60's. From there you can downclimb relatively easily or make another ab from a spike.

Best regards,
Steve Barratt

Fancy going off the beaten track then read on

Hey Baggy,

Just a quick email to let you know about my esoteric winter mountaineering day out. Pinnacle Gully (II) on Craig Yr Ysfa, a great line, but snow was hard work in places, although there was plenty of it and vegetation is not that frozen (does vertical heather freeze?!) the gully did focus the concentration with 3 'interesting' steps. Then onto Ffynnon Llyffant (Snowdonia's highest Cwm?) to do Central Gully (I) in near perfect snow conditions. Topping out in sunshine onto the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn and on the descent glimpsing a Brocken Spectre. A beautiful day in Snowdonia and a great way to work off the excesses of Christmas, avoiding the crowds of the usual winter climbing haunts...


Chris Hooper

Craig - Yr Ysfa


I've never seen so many people climbing in North Wales before. Cwm Glas and Snowdon gave fairly good climbing today. The snow is far from perfect but was solid enough where it needed to be. Not much ice around though, the little ice pitch into Sinister Gully hasn't formed but the left hand alternative has good snow. Cave Gully is climbable but the steep section is a bit lean. Surprisingly there is also a lot of rock showing through on the narrows of Central Trinity. Right Hand Trinity was by far the best route of the day with pretty good conditions throughout. It was very busy though. Have a look at the lads in the photo, having a whale of a time but the barrage of junk being kicked down the route has clearly left it's mark on the guy on the right.



Pics from Huw on Snowdon today

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Winter is still here

Hi Bags,

Been up to Clogwyn Ddu with Stu. Conditions great, but v windy. Managed 3 pitches of Dai's route, but were in a grauple maelstrom so didn't do last pitch. Finished out right up good snow and ice.

Ed Booth's partner climbed from Blenderhead straight up and right into El Manco doing a good looking direct variation. Looked exciting, good effort!

Tim and I ( baggy ) belive this is a new route as we had our eye on this. Booth,s climbed this thinking it was El Mancho. good effort lads, send me some pics.

Xmas morning was ace on Glyder Fawr with Ray Wood. Did East Gully on good ice to start, then assorted wintery mediums to the top. Beautiful views and dinner tasted good.

Tim Neil

Hi Baggy,

Gto the bottom of trojan last Wednesay only to find it wasn't in nick, it was very thin and what was there wasn't well bonded. Looks a super a route and a few days freeze thaw would probably make it climable. We managed to find some ice, a 50m pitch IV/V don't think its in the guidebook though.

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Cheers Chris Guest

Tojan last Week

Hi Baggy

Sorry for late post, we climbed Castle Gulley side of Y garn, and then Screen and South Gully in Idwal. The picture shows how good the ice was. With the recent rise in temps and the predicted freeze and more snow should be really good

Cheers Ken Priest

The Screen Last Week

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy Xmas and Remembrance

Happy Xmas folks and may this festive period be a very good one and that you get loads of climbing done no matter the grade.

I would also like to remember two of North Wales great climbing characters at this time of year. It is characters that make climbing what it is.

Al George and Jon Evans both passed away this year. Both of these guys were very passionate climbers and committed to the scene. Al being a mountain guide and Jon being involved in mnt rescue both here in Ogwen and In Denali ( Alaska ) when serving as a warden.

You are both missed guys.

The other people to remember are the UK - RAF, Army and Navy serving abroad. They are doing a great job and I for one are grateful.

Cheers Baggy

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Its a Mega Mega Post, the biggest, its nails, its IX-9 and its in Wales.

Andy Turner one of Mountain Equipments pro partners and leading winter activist has made the long awaited second ascent of Cracking Up on Glogwyn Ddu yesterday. First climbed in 2006, by one of the UKs leading lights, of current times, Nick Bullock, this route comes in at IX-9. Yep folks grade 9.

Andy attempted the route on Tuesday but after having a hook explode called it a day as the weather was quite mixed, but did Wednesday produce the weather, oh boy it did. Blue skies, light winds and cold.

Having spoke to Andy last evening he was obviously well pleased and chuffed that this was in the bag, even more so as his winter is just starting. Andy said that sleep was a little broken the previous night and that the walk in seemed longer. Not sure about Andy feeling a tad aprehensive, I was on edge all day waiting for the outcome.

This is an outstanding piece of climbing from Andy who climbed the route free, with it only being the start of the season with only a few routes under his belt this year. With a Scottish season ahead I would say watch this space.

A full report and great shot of Andy on the main pitch can be found here
( kind permission of DMM and Ray Wood )

On the whole, Team Mountain Equipment have given their brand a very nice Xmas present. With Andy's fine ascent of Cracking Up, seconded by Stu Mac Aleese, both ME pro partners , alongside Baggy, Tim, Phil and Dave who are supported by ME, the brand has nailed the Welsh Winter Scence of late.

The other breaking news is that Ian Parnell and Rich Cross were in town. Where ? the same crag as Andy and what route ? Would you believe it Travesty another of Nick's Routes awaiting a second ascent. Travesty comes in at VII-8. Knowing that Ian was keen for this last year added to the suspense on Wednesday. Ian put in some gritty determination and 'power screaming' to get him across the difficult first pitch after a couple of falls - one of which ended with him suspended from his elastic leash with the tool out of reach while holding the other one between his teeth! Full report on Ian's blog

In a joking manner Nick informed Tim Neil some months back " They are all Scared" Well not any more Nick. Apparentley when Nick heard he said it was his Chritmas and birthday present all in one day.

Two major second ascents of Wales hardest winter routes on the same day. Who would have thought that.

Praise to the lads who have both knocked out some hard repeats in particular Andy's clean ascent of Cracking Up

Other news which seems a litte more mondane compared to the above is that there have been other rare ascents of routes. On Tuesday Phil Dowthwaite and Baggy climbed Cannon Rib on the Black Ladders. The crag is in brill nick and has to be one of the best winter crags in the UK. The route follows the summer line of Cannon Rib which is HVS 5a . The winter route is given VI-7, we thought more VI-6. The route shares the first two pitches of Polar Bear VI-6 then breaks out L for another 2 pitches. It gives 4 really good pitches mainly on turf blobs, grass and the odd bit of rock.

Phil on first pitch of Cannon Rib

Phil Dowthwaite starting pitch 3 of Cannon Rib

The same day Tim Neil and Dave Rudkin climbed Flanders, again on the Ladders. This is also HVS 5a in summer. This recieved a few ascents last year and is all ready becoming a classic with all parties priasing the climbing and position. It comes in at VII-7. Dave and Tim were back on the ladders Wednesday to claim thier ascent of Cannon Rib as were Chris Parkin, Gaz Davies and Greg Cain. Three ascents in two days of a route that has probaly not been climbed for years. Quality.

Dave Rudkin on Flanders

Flanders as from Cannon Rib. It follows the rib to the left of the gully ( Western Gully )

Merry Xmas Mountain Equipment

Other news is of the Devils Pipes

Hi Baggy,

Mills and I climbed 'The Devils Pipes' today. Quite thin and bold (grade VII/VI?), passed Nick Dixon on the way down who seemed to think it was a rare ascent? We also climbed 'Stingray' which is in stonking condition. Most ice climbs are being done at Ogwen with the exception of 'the appendix', 'the curtain' and 'the sting'.

All the best, Calum

Devils Pipes

Other news

Today I climbed Idwal Stream and The Ramp with Iwan. It was Iwan's first time on ice and he moved quikly and throughly enjoyed it. Can we climb steeper ice please next time. Another convert.

Iwan on the Ramp

Olly Sanders has been out yet again, this time with another paddler Roger Chandler. They went and climbed Devils Cellar. This route is on the R/H side of Idwal and is another classic ice line. The right hand start is at V-5

Olly on R/H start

Devils Cellar, L/H start 4-R/H start 5


Managed an ascent of The Ramp (III) in Cwm Cau on Cader today(Thursday) with fellow Corris climber Pete Rigby. We got up it but the ice wasn't much good. It was there but you had to be pretty careful with it. We made up for it with a couple of mixed pitches of brutal thugery which gained access to an upper gully. This finished close to the summit. It could be a great route but not today, still fun though. The air feels warmer down here now so I doubt anything will be in nick for a while.

Merry Christmas,


Hi Baggy

Good to see you on the hill! I ended up having a great day out. There can't be many places where
You can laze around in bed till 10 do some last minute
Christmas shopping, have a late big breakfast, then head off for
the hill, enjoy some socialising on the way while taking in a few
routes (The Stream, South Gully ***! and The Ramp!)and be back
For a Christmas Eve dinner. A great Idwal day. Have a good C
Best wishes Matt

Major News - What a Few Days - Its all kicking off - Chapter 1

Major News : Major ascent by Andy Turner.
Its awesome news.
Wales is there with the best of Winter Climbing in the UK
Nice one Andy.
Also, other rare ascents of certain routes.
Tune in on Thursday for full details.
This winter is bloody brill and its only December.

This is chapter one folks, there is more to come, just about keeping up with you all.

Hi Baggy, I can confirm that most of the routes in Cwm Idwal were in good shape today. We climbed South Gully, The Screen and The Ramp, all good and you could in fact just carry half a dozen screws and protect yourself quite nicely. Loads of teams out.

Of more value as information (or non info) is that none of the Dyfi ice routes seem to be forming, lack of altitude I guess.

Cheers for upto date beat from Hugh Gilbert.

Lee Roberts and Stu Stanley went up to do Reades Route today between shifts today ( Wednesday ) Was well hoared and great fun, (If not a little tricky!) Some nice icy runnels and frozen turf up there. We were both surprised by the amount of snow (or ball bearings about!) Day finished off with a quality bum slide off the ridge down to the Pyg, (though obviously we dont advcate such behaviour!) Take care and climb safe. One pic attached courtesey of Lee.

Stu topping out on Reades Route Poss VI-6

More news on the new routes on Monday from the Panton Team

Hello there Baggy lad!

Hope you had a great day today, how fuckin good is it in Wales eh?! Love it! That is Jon Ratcliffe commenting on his first day mixed climbing in North Wales. Bring it on Jon, I kept telling you and everyone else Wales is F!!!! Ace . Anyway Jon did not just sample what Wales had to offer he stormed in there and bagged some new routes alongside Andy Scott. So more new fall and another possible VII-7 hits wales. Nice one fellas.

Nw routes off the boys are all on Glyder Fach they are

Hidden Corner V-5/6
Clod Hopper V1-6
Tabasco Fiasco VII-7

Jon Ratcliffe on Tabasco Fiasco VII-7

Andy Scott on first Ascent of Clod Hopper VI-6

In addition to this Si Panton took on my rave reviews from last season and went and climbed the Needle Eye Route on Glyder Fach V-6. I though this was a top route. Simon had to say " Its Excellent " His partner was Tim Badcock

Simon making the technical and very different moves into the Needles Eye

Olly Sanders reports a good day in Idwal.

In ogwen today ( Tuesday ) and did the Screen and South gully with nigel Garret his first time winter climbing oops. Saw Kath wilson and Sam leary on the Ramp and they had done South Gully yesterday. All have enough ice on them although protection is a little scarce on South Gully and the Appendix is getting close

Jon Garret on South Gully IV Not bad for his first ice route and being a paddler. Nothing beats excellerated learning of the kinasthectic kind

Pic of Screen and Appendix on Tuesday ( By Olly Sanders )

Al Leary reports in again and I can sense of change, the darkside is waiting Al. His wife Sam and Cath Wilson were out in Idwal on Monday

Al adds, Not wanting to spoill the current N.Wales party scene, but the only buzz I can feel at the mo, is the impending arrival of the Spring Equinox ! Today marks the first real crux of winter ; with the passing of every day, we can now look forward to some proper, warm climbing. The word is, it's all there on South Gully, but due to the slightly thin, early season conditions it requires a precise and cofident approach. Ice protection was from stubby screws.. The ice was remarkably dry and all in all, a fine afternoon out

Sam Leary on main pitch of South Gully on Monday- looks good

Alf chilling out at the top of South Gully on Monday

Hi baggy

Owen Hayward and myself went for an afternoon on Tuesday ended up deciding to do Twisting Gully, up on Glyder Fawr main cliff. Cracking route on a crag with an 'out there' feel to it. Main pitch quite lean, with it feeling quite warm, turf was a bit 'hit & miss' (not quite literally) and didn't appear to start freezing properly until about 800m. Waist deep graupel in upper section of Gully, and was still drifting as we topped out. Saw other teams on South Gully, and also the Screen and the Ramp.

Martin Land

Greg Cain went to Idwal on Tuesday and climbed castle gully, pretty good, However, he said it was not worth the walk in though. He then climbed the ramp, which he thought was getting a bit on the thin side, certainly under the roof section, very fragile feeling. Good route though, and hopefully if we get a good freeze tonight will stay ok.

Some of his friends were in cwm glas, and said the weather was pretty foul, and loads of groupel everywhere making life hard.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

North Wales is in, Turkeys off the menue

Forget any thoughts of turkey get on the crag. There is so much to report, just need time to compile the info. Anyway if you can, get out.

Finally looks like team Mountain Equipment are having it large, more later

Monday, 21 December 2009

The BUZZ is Back in Town

It is truly back, that buzz in North Wales, everyone wishes to have a piece of the action. Si Panton texted me to say his team may have done first winter ascents of rock routes and some new routes. When I get more I will share. There are quite a few folk who have some big ideas over the next few days so if they happen it will be good, but who knows.

Where was I today. Not on the hill as it happens as I am juggling at the mo. I managed to get plumbing and chippy work done on my new kitchen and go xmas shopping with my girls. With the kitchen needing to be finished by 5.00pm on Xmas eve then I am under pressure with these conditions around. A late night working on the kitchen was had last night after being on the hill. However, looking at the mountains from Bangor today drove me a little mental, so I decided the girls needed to go to the climbing wall, of which they loved, alongside me getting some bouldering in.

More important issues, i.e winter climbing

Greg Cain and Jon went and sampled the delights of Twisting Gully on Glyder Fawr saying how good a route it was.

Hey Baggy,

Great job on the winter blog front, thought I'd help out a bit and let you know what John Tatam and I got up to today...

Early start to go and have a look at Clogwyn Ddu Left Hand Branch; pretty much devoid of ice which was a bit of a surprise... So we went up Tower Slabs, which was a good mountaineering trip with good ice at the start of the route. Next up a swift walk around to Glyder Fawr Upper Cliff; we climbed East Gully, a short ice pitch, some mixed action and frozen turf (a typical Welsh Winter gully!). Then it was over to Clogwyn Y Geifr to do The Screen (would recommend short ice screws until it fattens up a bit more) and The Ramp.

There is a lot of graupel about, like walking on ball-bearings! A fair amount of water running on 'ice' routes towards the end of the afternoon as temperatures rose.

Whilst out and about, Idwal Stream received at least one ascent, there was another pair heading for Twisting Gully on Glyder Fawr Upper Cliff and a pair heading into the Devil's Kitchen.


Chris Hooper

John Tatum on East Gully

Photos attached (feel free to bung them up if you think they are worth it):

Huw Gilbert as sent info from the Soth

Hi Baggy,

Took these today on Aran Benllyn. I couldn't find anyone to climb with so thought I'd take the opportunity to take a look at somewhere new. The guide book has describes the crag (which is huge) as more of a water ice venue and suggests that firm snow or good neve fairly forms, that was certainly the case today. I rambled up Winding Gully (II) which leads nicely into East Gully (II/III). It was by no means a continuous line of ice but I'd say on balance that there was more ice than snow. Given that the total length of the climb is 300m it was still worth the long walk in. I'm afraid that the photos don't offer any scale but the ice fall shown is 30m high! It was in good shape but the prospect of never being found if I fell off it prompted me to stick to the original line. If you're eagle eyed you can spot the top of it just up and right of centre in the crag photo. The ice visible towards the top right of the same photo is the line that Winding Gully takes to dodge the main fall.

Thanks and I'll try to keep you posted on developments in the deep south.


More Info from Andy Whitmore from Sunday

Hi Mark

There were plenty of teams out above Idwal today, we saw at least 6 climbers on Idwal Stream, although it was still very wet, 2 climbers on South Gully, 3 on The Ramp with another team waiting to climb.
We headed into the Devil's Kitchen as there was plenty of good ice at the entrance. All the first easy sections were well formed with plenty of good solid ice to climb, but the actual final main Devil's Kitchen climb which goes up the right hand side of the large back cave had not formed properly yet. Pity, but give it another week or so maybe....

Have include a couple of pics.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Where did it all come from from !

Last Tuesday it was quite warm and we had very little snow. Fast forward 4 days and we have some great climbing conditions. With things coming in so quick and being so close to Xmas, I imagine for many ? it is the wrong time of year to get out, being tied up with the festive season. Lets hope it stays around after Xmas. If it does ? and we have the cycles then we will have some top conditions.

I was surprised to see how empty Ogwen Cottage car park was at 8.00am this morning and it looked like it had had not been mega busy all day. Maybe that was a reflection of it being Xmas day in 5 days time.

I was out with Toby Keep today and we first opted for a new line with the outcome being unsure as the crux looked like it was at the top and it looked steep.
Toby led the first pitch ( 30ms 4-5 ) with me taking the next pitch ( 30ms 5-5) The climbing was interesting, slabby at times, good gear and fairly technical.What more could you ask for.

Once we were both at the 2nd belay it was decide to rap off. The crux pitch even though it was V short, was either to hard, we were too weak, not fit enough or maybe all three. Anyway it looked to have v little gear so that was our excuse. That is the way it goes the first two pitches were really good and it will still be there either for us when we are fitter or when we have a rope gun in tow ( Pete get fixed ! )

Toby starting first pitch of new route ( well nearly new route ) He took a belay half way up the groove

Me on second pitch

We then decided to drop on to Glyder Fawr main Cliff as this has turf and drainage. The crag is in great condition and all the winter routes in the winter guide are climbable. Yes lacking a build up of snow and neve but all the routes can be climbed without this. The turf is bomber, and any ice is tops, first time placements and screws will go in as the pictures show below.

With time short we opted for Twisting Gully and lapped up the turf, rock and good ice. This went in 1 easy pitch (2) a good short ice pitch ( 3) then some really nice mixed ground for a rope length ( 2/3 ) After this there still was a good 100ms of 1/2 mixed ground with ice streaks. This was a great 3 star route on a failry big Welsh Cliff. Get it done

Main pitch of Twisting Gully

Cloggy : Rob from Joe Browns went up Cloggy to find the turf not that great. That would have surprised me today as I would have thought Jubille Climb would have been in for example.

Over the weekend routes such as Idwal Stream, Ramp and the Screen have been climbed. It looks like other routes are forming and South Gully will be climbable soon. Thanks for Matt Sutton and Gerwyn Lloyd for this info, they climbed the screen on Saturday saying it was in quite good nick.

Hi Baggy,

No pics as I was soloing today, but up in Cwm Cneifion from about 8 this morning. I heard you were up there somewhere but vis. was pretty bad so I hardly saw anyone climbing except a pair on El Mancho at dawn when it was still clear.

Generally nasty with powder snow over rock, started on direct line to Hidden Gully but turf was a bit borderline so I went up the scree of Easy Gully to it instead, Hidden Gully was surprisingly nice when you get in there, a couple of (small) patches of old snow, enough ice and the odd thin patch to make it interesting, turf was much better, I guess it gets wetter in there. No cornice.

Then Tower Slabs which had ice all the way and the turf was solid, it could do with getter colder but I felt it was good enough to solo.

Finally Idwall Stream which I had passed off as being too wet and warm but saw lots of people on it from a distance so I gave it a go. It was more like canyoning then ice climbing with water gushing out everywhere, and a wetsuit would have helped but there was enough ice to get all the way up.

Hope that is of some use, I'll remember the camera next time...


Picture of Idwal Today

Rob Jonson with Phil Benbow was on Sergants today in the pass saying it was a bit wet in places but still a good day out.

South Wales is also in great nick in places. Chris Guest making the most of conditions and with his report

Hi Baggy,

Just a quick on with some photos with some ice from near Fan Hir in the Black Mountains. The top of this fall is about 450m. As you can see it is not fully formed but good fun none the less as long as you are not too heavy footed!!!!

The fall near Storey Arms is just about in and getting fatter and will only get better. Torpantau will be in to. So there is plenty about for South Wales ice Jedis. I've got my eye on some new lines just needs a couple more days of cold.



So the motto is get out if you can.

I am also invloved in the Xmas Season and will not be out on Monday and other days this week.