Saturday, 2 January 2010

BIG BIG NEWS- Al moves to the Dark Side

Its' big news, possibly outshines Andy Turners repeat of Cracking UP !

Al "I don't go climbing unless it's over 5c and sunny " Leary was spotted ice climbing in Ogwen. It cannot be true you say ? oh yes , I was there and watched him with my own eyes. The flowing movement of 60,s gear could have been mistaken for a long standing ice climber . I felt so privileged to be there and experience this defining moment in the history of Welsh Climbing. Reportedly, he had climbed ice before, but it could have all been rumours, not any more.

It was only a matter of time before the rock legend himself could not hold back, we will see him soon, clambering to grab first winter ascents of many rock routes in the Pass, I am sure.

The proof. Al climbing Ice

Personally, I was out with a client, Alistair. We climbed South Gully, Cellar R/H and the first pitch of Cold House Crack finishing up the final pitch of the Pasture

Pictures of Alistair top pitch of R/H Cellar

Most of the ice routes in Idwal are in. However, not kitchen, appendix, pipes or hanging garden. South is good but needs short screws at bottom of main ice pitch. Top pitch of cellar R/H is in stonking nick.

Avalanches on Snowdon

On Snowdon the snow conditions in places are quite dangerous (probably exacerbated by the slight warming today). Last night on the south and west side of Snowdon while on a search for a missing walker a test pit was dug to perform a shear block test ,the block slid with hardly any pressure at all. There was some 18 inches of new windslab on top of a frozen layer, overlaying a thin layer of unconsolidated granular crystallised snow, with hardly any bonding to the layer beneath.

At about 2 pm today Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team were informed of a substantial avalanche on the top of the PyG track, with at least two persons being swept off the hill, one going a distance of over 100 metres. Thankfully they both managed to rescue themselves and were unharmed. I'd imagine that some of the larger gullies (especially Trinities and Parsely fern) could well be in a similar condition.

Thanks for this info which was sent from Elfyn Jones
Swyddog Mynediad a Cadwraeth (Cymru)
Access and Conservation Officer (Wales)

Also Chris Hooper mentions.. with the change in wind direction and fresh snowfall Easy Gully (descent) is being loaded with windslab and shearing easily on the old base. Good to see two teams on The Curver and a team on Yr Esgair.


Chris Hooper


2nd January
Tim Jepson confirms Chris Hooper's description of the quality of The Curver on Foel Goch. Foel Goch is a big, complex, adventurous face covered in turfy grooves, chimneys and slabs. Today, climbing with Dodi Palmer, Ba Palmer and Nicky Sillem, Tim did the first 130m of the Curver and then finished straight up taking two more, excellent pitches of III+. It should be noted, however, that protection is very sparse on this face and the pitches between decent stances are long (!). The whole face is nearer 250m high (rather than 170m, as stated in the old guide) and shouldn't be taken lightly. If the soft snow currently covering the face tranforms into neve, you will be able to climb almost anywhere.

Tim Jepson

Nicky Sillem leading the second pitch of the Curver, belayed by Dodi Palmer

Ogwen very busy today, people on the usuals and loads of people waiting for routes. Pete Evans and i got early start and went to upper cliff Glyder Fawr and did East Gully ,nice little steep ice pitch at start and 3 good pitches on ice turf.

Cheers Olly Sanders

East Gully

Hi Baggy,

Tim Davis, John storming Norman and I shot up to the Black Ladders with the route in mind. Eastern Gully, the ice pitch was in fairly good nick and the main gully above on Eastern gully was very full of fresh snow. this appears to be consolidating and know has a good broken trail all the way to the fork. The snow on the upper slopes is stable with good section of mixed ice and frozen turf. the tricky step after the fork junction is in good nick.

Andy Jones

Hi Baggy,

Western gully in the ladders with Dave Morse. Conditions generally pretty good though i suspect that this route has more ice at times than it did. We hadn't climbed at the black ladders before and the trick turf and lack of runners took some getting used to!

Found the first gully pitch after the approach climbing to be pretty tough, not the 4 i was expecting with a move of hard 5 or 6. Perhaps I went the wrong way? Not sure. Dave led the direct 'ice pillar' and chimney variation pitch. It probably should be noted that this pitch is pretty sparse on gear (though this could be different if the back iced up). The first peg on the slab pitch is looking very rusted - doesn't wobble much but the metal's wearing very thin on the biner hole. Couple of reasonably tricky moves here. We took the original LH finish. Great route and a great day out.

Snow wise, the approach path and slopes had largely been wind scoured which was nice. There were lee pockets of deeper powder around. None of it felt threatening avo wise. Some short sections climbing on the route had difficult powder conditions including near vertical powder, but all part of the fun eh?

Stephen Barratt

Hi Baggy

Headed up towards Cwm Glas with Face Route in mind. With two teams already in front of us we decided to change plans and head up to do Reades Route. Face route looked thin but climbable, also several teams on or starting up Sargents gully which was looking a bit wet. Reades route was in great winter condition, plastered in snow and rime. Climbing was really good especially the second pitch from the pinnacle.

Simon Lake and Mark Reeves

Stepping Off Pinnacle on Reades Route

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