Saturday, 27 February 2010

Now there is a break in the never ending supply of quality info and pictures I can update you all on more new routes.

First off

In the period of heavy snow back in January of this year, Gaz Davies and I skied from the car up to the base of the crag that day.

We put up two new routes.

A V-6 consisting of 3 pitches and a VI-6 ( Mr P's Last Great Problem ) consisting of two pitches. This last route gave continually interesting and awkward climbing all the way to the top.

Below the picture shows me on the crux of the second of our new routes that day.

Mr P's Last Great Problem

The last problem for me was trying to ski out in Freny XT boots in Fritschi bindings.

Also, I will be away in Scotland for approx 10 days, working for Jagged Globe on their climbing courses.

Therefore, I will not be in a position to update blog. I hope conditions become good.

On a last note if you have not visited the link on Eight below then have a look



Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Erics Answer

The Somme, an answer for Eric.

You undoubtedly did do The Somme, Eric, and you are right, the guidebook/topo description is poor. When Owen and I did it a couple of weeks ago, the line was absolutely obvious as a slab of ice on otherwise bare rock and turf. Only the easy-angled ledges had snow on them. We split the two main pitches by taking the belay, which you climbed past, on the left at the top of the initial steep groove. We then climbed up to clip the sling on the chockstone as a side runner, before stepping right from the belay to climb the ice on the slab, run-out, but technically straightforward. We didn't have to climb the corner/groove to the left of the slab at all, but I can believe that this appeared to be the better option with all the snow around on Sunday - good effort! I spoke to Chris Forrest and he had clearly done the same as you a few days earlier.

Tim Jepson

This picture shows the iced slab, the sling on the chockstone and the turfy corner, looking up the big pitch of The Somme. Owen Hayward leading.

Also another ascent of El Mancho. Good to have some pics of the girls on the blog as its always the guys.

Rachael Hinchliffe top of first main pitch

Monday, 22 February 2010

Nothing then everthing at once.

As the title says, it all comes at once

The big news story will be here on Tuesday

In the meantime

Sunday 21st February - Black Ladders

After another overnight snowfall, a dozen local climbers broke an early Sunday morning trail from Gerlan, heading optimistically for the Black Ladders.
As the snow got deeper, optimism gave way to realism and plans were modified to match potentially difficult and dangerous conditions. In the event, the snow, though soft and deep, appeared to be reasonably well-bonded to the neve beneath and showed little evidence of wind deposition, even in the upper reaches of the crag. Groups disappeared into the mist, climbing Pyramid and Central gullies (amongst others?), enjoying tremendous winter sport by sweeping snow off the ice and rock, digging out belays and swimming their way up the easier sections. Adventurous, technical, physical and sociable .... a great mix!

Tim Jepson
Dodi Palmer
Dave Williams


Deep snow on the slopes beneath Central Gully

We think we climbed the Somme yesterday, but it was our first visit the crag and with visibility being fleeting we don’t know so!

The bit that’s confusing us is the description of a ‘pedestal stance’ at the end of the 3rd pitch (first proper pitch above the snow terrace at the base). From the big snow terrace after the introductory gully I climbed a cruddy iced corner groove, with reasonable rock gear at first, for about 30 metres to a ledge and crack on the left (should have belayed here!) and a large chockstone 5 metres above (newish sling and small bail out krab on this). I went under the chock and chimneyed up the back of it, before making hard skittery moves to reach some better turf. I wish we’d bailed too, instead of climbing another 35 metres of terrifying thin snow/ice crud up the continuing rightwards slanting corner groove, to a final steep pull over a bulge to the upper snow terrace. As we’d run out of rope and there was no decent kit at all we simul climbed – yikes.

Obviously conditions weren’t great, but the Somme got done last week and your blog suggests people backed off on Saturday (the sling round the chockstone was the only gear we found). The only route I can find with a description of a chockstone is Arctic fox, but the topo for that doesn’t square with the first III gully pitch we climbed to reach the snow terrace. Description of Post war doesn’t sound right either.

So maybe one man’s pedestal is another chockstone and we were just on The Somme in poor conditions. Wish we knew as it was the most harrowing day of the winter so far and we still can’t quite make sense of the description!


Eric Hildrew

Clogwyn Ddu was bust again, lots of action.

Phil Dowthwaite on El Mancho

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Saturday and late BIG news

Late News 9.00pm Sunday eve

Wales is kicking folks, more big news to follow Monday eve. Its unbelievable this winter.

Friday delivered a dump of snow to the hills, which in a way was a shame as it buried lots of good routes that were in good nick. Yes, certain crags need some snow but not quite this much. However, it does mean there is more snow to resist a thaw.

Jonny Ratcliff and I headed up to the R/H side of the Ladders to have a go at Sarajevo. Unfortunately, there was a layer of cruddy neve covering the turf which itself was a little soft in places so we bailed.

Jon On Sarajevo

We moved about 20-30m right of L/H icefall and soled to the top of the crag taking in some good IV sections of ice and mixed ground.

From here over the crag X to do another new route. This came in at VI-6 with two pitches of 45m of good and varied climbing. Not the hardest of VI-6,s as it had good gear but we thought a really good route.

Jon starting pitch 2 of the new route

Toping out to a moonlit sky with no one around was a nice end to the day.

Teams were on Pyramid Gully , Central and L/H Icefall and teams backed off the Somme.

Sunday it snowed some more in the morning but overall another nice day. .

Sunday, Si Panton and team did the 2nd ascent of Arch Gully on Glyder Fach which myself and Owen Samuels climbed last winter. Si mentioned the words brilliant route and worthy of stars.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Old Guard Kick ASS leaving the young guns behind with VIII-8 on the cards

Chris Parkin, having already established himself as one of UK's leading new routes activists over the last 15 years has really pulled it out the bag this week.

Tora Bora, his new route, where else but the Ladders, comes in at at hefty VIII-8. This is only the second grade VIII-8 to hit Wales.

Chris as usual played down such a fine effort and contribution to UK winter climbing when I spoke to him on the phone saying " it was a bit sketchy in places, with a few scary moves, but overall not to bad.

Having already claimed VII-8 and VII-7 on the ladders in the previous 12 months, what next ? Maybe the next 9-9 . Well Chris is off to Scotland for the weekend maybe for a rest ? The old Welsh Winter Guide seems to dismiss Chris's routes of that era, not realising what an impact these were going to have in the modern world and on current climbers.

This is a major new line for UK winter climbing on one of the best crags in the UK. Chris has a habit of finding lines through impressive terrain that many others dismiss. There is one secret ingredient of Chris's which Nick Bullock the other climber to add grade VIII-8 to Wales has . They both have big !!!! when it come to having it.

This is magazine front page coverage, not repeats of routes done years ago.

Pete Harrison aka Mr Winter Wiki had done 1 route this season due to injury before pairing up with Chris for this route.

Speaking to Pete he commented

"After a winter spent shuffling along Llandudno prom with the rest of the elderly/infirm population, yesterday I went to Ysgolion Duon with Chris Parkin and spent the whole day being scared back into winter climbing. My first time climbing with Chris - what a legend/psycho/highly talented climber! We did a very direct new route up a series of corners and grooves on the buttress in between the grooves of Imminent Conflict and Broken Cease Fire, Chris led the hard pitches. The crux pitch goes up a corner crack on torques, hooks and turf, a brief rest and then topped off with a tricky verglassed slab with more torquing in a crack to reach the turf above.

It's the best winter pitch I've climbed - 45 metres of technical, sustained and pumpy mixed climbing which keeps on coming, with only adequate hard-fought gear, a brilliant lead by Chris who took a whinger onto his axes at one point. That pitch by itself would be worth doing the walk-in and route for, a five star pitch if ever there was one but the other pitches are good and challenging too, the final one being 40-45 metres of serious grade 5 turfy corner which Chris basically soloed, the loon"

The route Tora Bora, 300m, VIII 8. - has 7 pitches - three of 3/4, one of 4, one of 5, one of 6 and one of 8. Bring a good selection of pins, turf pro, and a desire to strap it on. Neither of us had a camera so no photos.

Cheers Pete

IT Does not end there, oh no, the locals are mad for it, once one gets new routing they are all after a piece of the action. Lew Hardy one of Chris's partners back in the 90's when they did other new routes on the ladders was back at the crag today. Maybe he needed to get one back on Chris ?

Anyway, he and his partner Jamie Mac headed up to the Black Ladders. On the Ladders a thin layer of fresh snow covered still good neve. Although there was a lot of water running all the ice lines looked in condition. They did a new line 30m right of Ice Fall Gully Right Hand. The first pitch may have been climbed previously (any claimants?) but their continuation gives a direct line with the first two picthes sustained and nicely contrasting. It was Jamie's first new route, so he says he has to be biased, but Lew has done plenty of routes in his many years; he had a silly grin on as well so its gotta be worth a star or two! The only one other pair in the cwm today were on Jacob's Ladder. It snowed as we descended and the temperature dropped considerably, so hopefully all good for the weekend.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
IV 4, 4, 1/2, 3, 1/2 *
Lew Hardy and Jamie Macdonald, 18.02.10

Another new route comes in the form of Snake Bite Direct on Snowdon climbed last weekend my Mark Lynden and Lew Hardy ( what has he lined up next I wonder )

Finally after waiting 20 years Martin Crook and Nick Walton claimed Cwm Raider IV-4 down near Beddgelert

So the Old Welsh Guard have truly stuffed us all this last week. Nice one chaps, give us some more

Well how do I sleep tonight with so much excitement in Wales. It is the place to be and believe me there is stacks of new lines out there.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What a day, what a forecast, bring it on for the weekend warriors

Anyway in the meantime a report which came in Monday ENJOY !!

Ex Tenebris Lux ( Out Of Darkness, Light ).


I was rather pleased to hear about your recent sabbatical to the " Gold
Coast " of Tremadog. It seems that you have now reached an emotional
and spiritual crossroads. On one side lies the Gateway to Shangri-La ;
on the other, a long and slippery road leads to the " Caverna Desparium

A brief history lesson may help you find the strength to fight through
this affliction.

The Protogenos Nyx had a habit of conjuring up a dark veil of mist from
the Underworld which would obscure the shining blue light of Aither.
Fortunately, her daughter Hemera was quite adept at dispersing the
mist, and once again the earth would be bathed in glorious, golden

So Baggy, which one of the above ladies would you prefer to hang out
with ? I certainly know which one I'd prefer to buy a drink for !

Amazing what you can remember from repeats of Xena, Warrior Princess !

Now that you have returned to the true path, it felt only right and
proper to reciprocate the returned compliment, by going back out again.

Daemones Tenebraun ( Demons of Darkness )

The physio department ay Ysbyty Gwynedd have suggested it would be
beneficial to strengthen my left knee, so a quick jaunt up Y Garn,
seemed just the ticket ; besides, the intro in the guide referring to
" a mountain for reflective old age " hit a chord !

The snow runnels were bullet hard, in fact, it's probably the most
squeaky and pristine snow I've been on all century !

Following the initial slope of Banana, Gully,then branching left onto
and following ( what I presume was ) CD Buttress, led past a tricky,
well positioned final step to the summit and sunshine.

Surprising myself in how long the route hadn't taken, and the fact
that it was a grand day, another idea took hold. Clogwyn Du didn't
look that far away ( remind me to get my eyes tested !

Anyhow to cut a very long walk, short, I did eventually make it to the
rim of the Cwm, but not before being spotted by the PYB Winter
Skills course. Damit, I'll have to tweak that disguise even more !

By now I was resembling living proof of life after death ( a fact
by " Big Guns " Jim, who seemed a bit worried when I didn't answer
him ). Sorry Jim and Matt, but my knee was by this point trembling,
and I was having to concentrate quite hard to avoid becoming a
" Downhill Racer " ! Made it down though, then nipped up Hidden
Gully for old times sake, and rather fine it was too.

Pillar Chimney looked well iced, however L.H. Chimney looked a
touch thin at the start ( well iced on the top half though ) ; and with
that, my tally has now hit 4 routes. Can't remember the last time I
did that many routes in a single winter ! Unfortunately, I've just
seen the latest meteo, and no sign of spring arriving just yet.

Mind you, the very next day, Helen Barnard and myself did find a
blip in Winter and climbed a few sunny routes at Craig y Forwen.
In fact, it was almost too warm, but thankfully I'd packed my vest
which almost matches the Mediterranean Azure of the sky.

It's not too long now till the Spring Equinox Baggy, so hopefully
the attraction of this winter lark ( which is still a lot of faff ),
be short lived.

Till later


Today has been a stunner, the snow which has fallen over recent days has truly put most crags above 600 back on the map and with cold temps over the next few days, bring it on.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A few pics of the the route Follow Thru on the ladders we climbed last Saturday.

First Pitch

Second Pitch

The weather has dropped snow above 600-ish mts and its been cold so crags are back to white and things look v good.

Monday, 15 February 2010


Went up to Clogwyn y Garnedd on Sunday with Dafydd Davis and Streaky. Dafydd has been banging on to me about the chimney groove line in the left wall of Cave Gully for years (referred to as Gwyn Ein Byd on the wiki), so that was what I went for. Although looking fairly innocuous from below (don’t they all!) this gave a superb and sustained pitch, with an easy exit pitch leading up to the crag top above. We reckoned V 5 in moderrn Scottish grades and definitely a couple of stars - a great route in fact. Dafydd said there was an alternative exit out right at the top - easier, but bolder.

There is also another groove on the left wall a bit further up the gully, and a vague snaking groove on the right wall – Dafydd has done both of these previously and reckoned they were also good, if a little easier.

We then went for a look at Couloir, doing an entertaining little corner approach pitch on the left then doing another easy pitch swinging round into the main line, where Dafydd found a really crap belay about a third of the way up the groove. Streaky went to lead through up the middle section of the groove, but gave up after encountering a succession of poor/ripping turf placements, and of course, no runners. We then had a series of spooky down climbs with crap belays to perform to get off the crag. There was heavy snow during this period – must have been 2 – 3 inches.

Spoke to Miles Perkin this morning; he also did Gwyn Ein Byd on Saturday, and then did Cave Buttress which he said was gnarly and serious, and not really recommended. Mark Lynden and Lou Hardy were also out on Saturday doing a previously undocumented line right of Right Hand Trinity.

There were a couple of other teams out in the morning on Sunday, and perhaps more later, but visibility had gone by then so not sure.

The attached pic is me setting off on Gwyn Ein Byd.


Simon Panton

Sunday, 14 February 2010

New route, another quality weekend, ladders features again . When will it end ?


Wishing to avoid the crowds I decided to go to the ladders. Rich Stone had sent details of good ice and and a route he soled on Thursday being in great nick. This route, was thought not to be in the guide and even though it may have been climbed he could not find anyone who had. So with this in mind he named the route and posted it on the wiki. Rich came along with Adam Harmer and I today and took a sharp exit after climbing the route with us to see the Rugby.

The route gives 4 pitches. 3 pitches of grade IV ice with snow and mixed in between, then grade 2 bomber neve up to the summit ridge. The route which is now called Follow Thru is considered to be between Daybreak and Finale and comes in at IV-5. Done before ? maybe ? , but needs a name and recording as its good. ( Is it actually be Daybreak ) However there are 3 lines in this area see below

Follow Thru goes up R/H ice line. Daybreak thought to be 1 to left.

Adam and I then visited Crag X ( called for the time being ) and climbed a new route. Short by ladders standards but still giving a v good interesting climb. P1- 20ms at 2-III, P2 40ms at IV-6 and P3 20ms at V-6. This we called. Helmand Province.

After this we went and visited the R/H side of Craig Daffyd where we climbed another route which Rich had done last week. Again not recored he has named it Wayward Prong. This goes at grade IV-5. A short route at P1 15ms II- P2 55ms IV-5 then P3 50ms II-3. Nice route.

Adam on 2nd pitch of Wayward Prong

All the ice was bomber today, quite hard in places and as expected turf and neve were mega quality.

The mad thing about today was apart from the 2 folk we passed on the walk we came across no one.

Central, Eastern, Western ( looked !!! ) got ascents Saturday.

Also Poppies got its second ascent today by Mr Ladders Parkin.

Saturday many aspects of the crag were quite black apart from the upper reaches. However with new snow forecast tonight and through this week, it will be again the place to be.

Sunday 14th February - Black Ladders

Where is everybody?

For the second weekend running, Tim Jepson and Dodi Palmer got an early start 'knowing' that there would be a lot of climbers wanting to get on the relatively few winter climbs still in condition. But for the second weekend running they were mistaken, and found themselves climbing more or less alone ....... this time on the Black Ladders! Icefall Gully only gets one star in the guidebook, but Tim and Dodi found four long, excellent pitches of ice weaving a natural line up a series of steep grooves and slabs, leading into a huge bowl of bomber neve and iced rock. Definitely a three star route today, set on a magnificent cliff of scottish proportions. For much of the day there was light snow falling quietly through a windless mist, but it had turned to rain by the time we got back to the road. Only time will tell whether this new snow will bring more routes into condition, or whether the warmer air will spoil the existing ice.

Tim Jepson
Dodi Palmer

Dodi on R/H Icefall on Sunday

The Somme

Hi Baggy

Just read your blog posting from the guy that went to the ladders yesterday - the Somme looked thin to me and Tim too but, once on it, it was all there and in fact in great condition - well recommended. The only thin bit was near the top of the first pitch above the terrace (3rd pitch) where ice ran out at top of groove giving a couple of mixed moves before starting again. Possibly worth 6 for this pitch in these conditions. The main icefall was thin (all tied off screws) but in stonking nick otherwise.

Owen and Tim

Back to last week

As noted above, Rich Stone has been out on the Ladders last week. Apart from Follow Thru and Wayward Prong he also
soloed an entertaining line on the ladders wednesday 10th. Up eastern, right arete of playschool 1st pitch 3/4, steep narrow 4 ice that exits top left of 1st snow field (done by Ian whitehead on sunday with escape back along ledges to eastern). Then directly up arete between eastern and playschool well exposed 3/4.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Fast Track for Russell

HI Baggy,

Managed to head up to Clogwyn Du, Empty, crag to myself for two hours so blitz it – well soloed Clog right hand, towerslabs and Hidden, then talked this guy who was out for a walk into doing Left hand. I thought of soloing it but then common sense kicked in. Russell the walker forgot his harness too, so we wrapped him up in a sling and told him Id keep the rope very tight.

Great pitch, perfect nick to, bone dry rock with clean and clear placements, shop load of in-situ stuff too. Easier than I thought it would be. IV5 would be about right today.

Russell did a brilliant job considering he had only done a couple of grade two’s before and some VS rock.

Top pitch was very very fat!!

Best regards

Alistair Boratt


We went to the Ladders in the hope of great adventures however, its not too good up there! Little in nic at all! Possibly Eastern Arete (lots of icy runnels leading to the arete), Pyramid gully (just/marginaly possible from our distant angle), Central Gully has a very large hole in it. Galipoli none existent/black , Western Gully is bare and not proper Winter, The Somme we looked at closely but its ultra thin and looks rotten, maybe possible for the ultras. All buttress' black. The far end routes Nightfall looked good.The positives- the turf is frozen bottom to top and Icefall Gully was great on sound ice. The focus is 2/3 pitches of good ice at iv * with pre and after amble on good neve!

Stu and Lee

Ice Fall Friday


Cwn Cneifion 11th Feb.

Nipped up expecting to see the crag as yesterday but not to be -
black, the faces looked like needed rock shoes so amended plans and
did Pillar Chimney with Jon on the sharp end for the trutch pitch.
Duncan, Miles & Lee followed us.

All ice looks gods and faces will not take much to 'winter up' again.
Did the ice route to right of North gully - just left of Cracking Up.
Good 4 with a very short (5m) but 6 exit direct on to perfect neve.
looked like others had sneaked off round left. Any idea of what it is?

Lots of folk in left & right gullies and one team on Torqueing Shit -
looked good pitch shame about the name. Nb. should it mot be torquing,
not torqueing?

Chris P

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Hi Baggy, exciting day today! Rory Shaw and I went to the ladders, with nothing particular in mind, and ended up doing Pyramid Buttress.

We had the older version of Pete Harrisons topo for it, that gives is IV ?. So we were expecting pitches of sort of 4. The first pitch, from the neve slopes to bit of a terrace was fine, soloed that, then the second pitch to a snowy bay just down and right of the diagonal crossing of the ice was pretty desperate! The turf wasn't 100% frozen here and there was no bloody gear! Ended up going a bit high and having to down climb a short section. Rory took the next pitch, up an ice smear, then across a thin ledge with overhanging rock above, luckily there were lots of positive handholds so it wasn't as bad as it looked from below. At some good in situ tat we took another belay, and I lead the next pitch, which I assume would usually cross the ice, instead, I could get behind the huge icicle (bomber runner!) and follow the ledge up left, to a good 2 spike belay with a bomber nut to back up. I think from seeing it previously that the last 2 pitches that the guide describes as 1 (though no way could you do it on 60 ropes!) that this area usually has a big ice sheet rather then the odd smear/icicle? The next pitch was the traverse! Wow! I doubt there is any other pitch like that in the world. A full 50m worth at least, mainly on sloping turf ledges, a few ice smears to negotiate, and the block! Where you would step around, with a void beneath you hanging off a lay-back, to reach another lay-back on the other side, and then do some sort of little controlled fall to catch a spike! A truly mad move. Another 10m on and your pretty much on the arête, which very disappointingly you look down from and see that you could reach this point very easily by walking up from central gulley!! So much for thinking this was the line of least resistance to getting up there. From there on fantastic grade 3/4 ground leads to the top, one step on the arête we deemed too hard to pass! I wonder if its been done? There is always an easier way around though which is great. I'm thinking now that the route we did today might not have actually been Pyramid Buttress as described but a similar variant (above the traverse that is). We did it in 11 pitches, without any unnecessary short ones either it seemed. I think 185m in the guide might be a bit off. Good anyhow

To go up the bottom of central gulley and then go up left onto the arête would make for a brilliant grade 3/4 mixed climb!

Pyramid buttress really felt like an adventure, especially having no idea what to expect! I thoroughly recommend it. Perhaps let it freeze a little more though.


Greg Cain

Word up Bagwah,

Manx Wall yesterday, and a "beefy" Mankini today. The crag was sociable today with lots of locals. Chew ticked all the ice routes on his first day out in winter, with V12 latte maestro Jim Mc. Megan and Ali enjoyed Y gully Lhand. Chris Parkin, Joni Rad-cliff, Duncan and Miles nipped up El Manco too. Lots of others enjoying bomber neve and ice in abundance.


Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders), 10th February.

Tim Jepson reports:

Although the steep, lower buttresses and walls of Ysgolion Duon are still black, and hoar only covers the top third of the crag, there were a number of routes in genuine winter condition today.
Icefall Gully was climbed by John Peake and Ian Whitehead, while Owen Hayward and Tim Jepson did The Somme. Eastern Gully was soloed. The ice is a little thin in places, and your ice screws may need tying off, but it is continuous, and of excellent quality, supplemented by plenty of frozen turf whenever you need it. The neve is as good as it ever gets!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Never been to the Ladders, get an insight to thee crag of the south by clicking this link. Climber Chris Guest

Also today

V good cons in Namless cwm, with the buttress's starting to rime up

good cons on parsley fern and watersilde and various routes on snowdon

Good neve anywhere you see it on hill

forecast is great upto and incl weekend

lets hope we have a little more snow and more rime

Clogwyn Ddu cliff in great nick, as the guys said over the weekend. Nipped out after Cot building, while the girls were at baby massage....sounds epic.

Soloed Left and Right gullies, Pillar Chimney with the variant start, and the ice chimney just left of Cracking Up. All of these were on hero ice and neve. Liam and Nick cruised up L Hand as I left, otherwise all quiet.
Spoke to Al Leary about conditions, but he said don't tell anyone. I think he's still a bit shy about "coming out".

Tim Neil

Also here is a quality picture

Baby Dave on Neanderthal good welsh V the boys thought

Sunday, 7 February 2010

The OLD Favorite lets no one down

Another good day here. A good frost, light winds and blue sky gave the neve seekers a cracking day out. AlSO Clogwyn Ddu the old favorite is still there.

Hi Baggy,

That Tim Jepson gets about a bit; Yr Wyddfa yesterday & Gylder Fawr today! He just pipped us to Y Gully Left Hand on Clogwyn Du this morning but being the gentleman he is, decided to let us have a crack at it first - it was dripping a bit too much for his drier taste I think! It was however in great condition with heaps of in situ gear to aim for/clear away. An excellent steep thin finish up a steep gully (to the left of the finish on the topo & right of the Pillar Chimney ice fall) provided extra value. Possibly V 5 at the mo'.

We were followed up it by the guy who did Flanders (Summer version) earlier this winter & that Greg Cain chap again!! Also did Pillar Chimney (start & finish variations) having seen Tim & John do it earlier.

Plenty of folk on the easier slabby & gully climbs on the opposite of the cwm tho' fewer than yesterday according to Jon. Y Gully Right Hand was taking a hammering too.

Another great day in N.Wales.

All the best, Geoff Bennet

Hi Baggy, was out with Bryn Williams and Gareth Evans on clogwyn Ddu today. Did left hand Y Gulley, behind a few other guys. Jon Byrne and Geoff were one of 3 groups ahead. Lots of crap coming down!! But it was the only really decent looking route up there today, right hand was all right too. The ice was down to the ground this morning, but it was thin, and so much came off under everyone on it that its a few meters off the ground by now, but passable without too much difficulty. It was very wet, we all got soaked but its fat enough and well enough protected with masses of in situ tat on the rock to the right. The chimney top pitch looked really thin, and got thinner as the other groups went up it, we went out left as it looked the much nicer ice, it took long screws and seemed bomber! Brilliant pitch. This route will improve as the week goes on I imagine.

Jon and geoff did Pillar Chimney variation behind Tim Jepson, did'nt look hugely wintry, but was apparently quite good. I don't think anyone dared to go up the chimney today though, very thin ice and no gear.

Here is a pic of Bryn on the top pitch in the sun


Greg Cain

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Catch 22 ! I chose the dark side

With the forecast showing a good day for Saturday and clear skies on Friday it was obvious it was going to be cold Friday night. That was the case with a frost this morning and more clear skies.

Going up high to the Nameless Cwm or Snowdon one would find really good neve today. However, being in the lucky position of having climbed on Snowdon/Nameless Cwm many times in winter and the fact that Al Leary had moved over to the dark side this winter then it was only fair that I repaid the debt.

Therefore, off I went to North Wale's Costa Del Sol (aka - Tremadog ). It all felt so strange, using one fingers to climb and having the sun beating down on us, it was T shirt time by mid day and no wind. Even better, Eric opened the cafe, winner in ever sense. It really did feel like an early summer day.

So the dark side for me today, having been rock climbing. Hopefully it will be shorted lived, not sure what the attraction is AL, maybe you will have to show me one day.

Clear skies here again and the forecast for Sunday is freezing level at 8oom, so looks a good day in store for those of you hoping to bag some classic winter gully lines on neve.

On a final note the forecast up to thursday is showing freezing level at 300-200m each day. Bring it on. It we have this and then some snow, its on its way back.


Hi Baggy,

Clogwyn y Garnedd (Snowdon) - 6th February

After a clear night, an early alarm call and frost on the car, Tim Jepson, Dodie Palmer, John and Sarah Peake were amazed to find that they were the only people climbing on Wales' highest cliff this morning. Cave Gully and Central Trinity were in excellent condition with good neve and short ice pitches. Hundreds of walkers on the summit, lots in t-shirts and trainers; we felt a little self-conscious with all the 'right' gear!

Tim Jepson

Snowdon today

Cave Gully


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Confession Time


Once again, many thanks for your magnanimous write up of my recent,
rather modest winter achievements. As previously mentioned, it is an
honour to be given space next to the veritable who's who of North Wales
"big hitters".

After my New Years Day sojourn to Cwm Idwal ( where anonymity failed
rather spectacularly ), I must confess that a deeply disturbing
affliction was starting to build.

Despite my best efforts, the "darkness" was starting to beckoning !
Instead of the in-situ Sun Rock, Riviera and Gogarth guides,
inspiration on the bog was now being sought from a different genre
of publication !

A few days later, Ruth Willetts ( my fellow contender for the title of
chief winter- phobic ! ) and myself ( with newly refined disguise ),
sneaked back in under the radar for some more Idwal
"white shite" action.

Please find Ruth's pic of myself leading !!! the first main pitch of
Chicane Gully III. This should help to rectify and dispel, some of
the dastardly,semi slanderous comments of your New Years Day

Especially in winter, I am a great believer in making life as easy
as possible, thus, as can be clearly observed, I am using some
fairly modern kit ( ie rigid, mono point crampons ).

The plastic boots and hard shell jacket might be considered
a bit "so last century", but these days, a man of my encroaching
twilight years,feels the cold a bit more than you youngsters.

I do realise and fully appreciate the benefits of using leash less
"streetfighters", but lets face it, I'm not the strongest climber in
the world ( as anyone who has witnessed my recent Beacon
performances will testify ), so I need all the help going ;
hence the leashes.

However, the axes have got lots of bends and squiggles in all the right
places, and don't seem to hurt my fingers as much as those old
school terradactyl beauties that I used to have.

Finally, the dashie mitts have been retired and the helmet is of fairly
modern, lightweight design.

As for the route, it wasn't bad at all ( and strictly off the record
Baggy ), both Ruth and myself almost enjoyed ourselves !

Since I may now have moved another notch closer to the N Wales
winter "Alumni" ( aspirant status of course ), I enclosed a tweeked
description of what is currently written in the winter guide.

P1, easy angled snow / ice leads to a stance to the left of the
icicle of Grecian 2000.

P2, up the gully to an easing at 30 mtrs ( possible awkward stance ).
Continue up the narrow runnel on the left, then snow slopes lead to
a good rock belay on the ledge to the left of the upper gully. 60 mtrs
in total.

P3, traverse right along the ledge, and climb the gully ( past another
awkward stance at a big thread ) to the top. 60 mtrs.

And with the above ascent, in a mere six days, I'd increased the
total number of winter routes I'd done in the
previous decade ,by 100 % !

Best regards


Alright Baggy,

Feeling like Billy Nomates, I headed into Cwm Cneifion today on my own. Climbed Tower Slabs, Nameless Face, Hidden Chimney and two other unnamed short grade II/III ish gullies on the buttress to the right of the main Clogwyn Ddu crag (pics & explanation attached). Then headed to Y Garn to climb Boomerang Gully for some strange reason which I'll never really understand.

The Cwm Cneifion routes I climbed were surprisingly all in reasonable nick, some of the ice a bit wet, some brittle. It also looked like the ice on Pillar Chimney and Clogwyn Left Hand had survived well. Boomerang Gully was a sopping mass of wet snow. New snow falling down to about 600m in the morning, chucking it down once the south westerly had really taken hold by 3:30pm. Miserable afternoon! I wonder how much longer the Cwm Cneifion routes will hang on?

The two unnamed routes I climbed were really pleasant short climbs. I'd be really surprised if no-one had bothered to climb them before, unless they've just been overlooked on the way to bigger things. The left hand route was about grade II, a 12m (ish) section of ice and then straightforward snow. The right hand line was about grade II/III, possibly III, and had a 15m pitch of ice, then snow to a cave - looked like there was a good thread belay here - then another 15m of ice and onto easier ground (if you keep left - easy snow if you climb left immediately after the cave then head slightly right). Total length about 60m, splittable half way at the cave, good spikes available for belays. The two routes would make nice intro routes I think, useful for people to nip up if the queues are too big elsewhere! Routes marked in red on attached photo and the blue line made an uncomplicated convenient descent at just about grade I.

Hope any of this is useful.


Monday, 1 February 2010

Why go any where else

When conditions on one of the best winter crags in the UK are like they are, then why go anywhere else ?

The Black Ladders are again in quality nick.

Today I managed to fit Gallipoli ( V-5 ) in with Simon Verspeak. Having been informed of it's quality over recent weeks, I was keen to tick it off. What a quality route this is, a full 3 stars. An initial solo of grade I-II ground on bomber neve, brings you to the start of the main climbing. You are then gifted with 4 quality pitches ( 4-4-5-3 ) of continually interesting climbing, ice, neve, turf all keep you whooping with joy even to the last axe plant as you top out.

What more do you need. Total length of climbing nearly 300m. However, not a route if you like lots of gear, but never any surprises. The description on Pete,s topo on the welsh winter wiki is spot on, use that and ignore the info in the welsh winter climbs.

After this we had a quick look at a possible new route lower down, but things not quite as frozen so best left for another day, meaning the cafe was on the agenda for once.

On the way down go chatting to a mate of Len Lovett who put the route up in 1991 with Chris Ayers. Great end to a great day.

I do hope the weather over the next week or so does not go warm for an extended period as it would be a shame to loose the conditions we have on this crag.

Party on Eastern Gully were also delights with the great conditions. That was it only 5 folk on the crag.

Pitch 1

Si on pitch 2

Pitch 3

Crux of route, a couple of moves and its over

Hope you all enjoyed the weekend if you got out. Nice to see good weather matching up with a weekend for once.

Also Blenderhead receives a rare ascent ( see below ). This route which was in the headlines last winter is one of the harder routes in Wales at VII-8. Seems like Lee has done well pulling all those hoses


Another day off work again so we headed to Clogwyn Du where Lee had his eye on Blenderhead. Conditions were proper Winter and apart from one heart stopping moment, he cruised it! Cliff was well hoared. Storm and Ivan made a neat ascent of Pillar Chimney also. Long last Winter!

Lee about to start crux on Blenderhead having climbed VI-6 to arrive here.

Lee Roberts 'out there' on Blenderhead


Hey Baggy,

Very cold in the wind today up in Cwm Cneifion, fleeting visibility and lots of rime coating the crag... Climbed Right Hand Gully Direct on Clogwyn Ddu with Jim Potter; in great condition, taking ice screws in a number of places. Saw teams on Cneifion Arete, Pillar Chimney & Blenderhead




Jim Potter approaching belay on Right Hand Gully Direct