Sunday, 31 January 2010

seems like the ladders was the place to be again

Another cold day here and it also snowed down to sea level

Hi Baggy,

The Ladders are still improving in condition; more ice at the bottom of Central Gully (according to Jon) & lots of frozen turf. Gallipoli was in excellent condition tho' with heaps of spindrift! A 3 star route. We were followed up the route by a young Greg Cain. Ice Fall Gully & Pyramid Gully were also climbed but don't know what happened to the party on Central Gully who seemed to be struggling to avoid the crux & a team who were headed for Ypres/Artic Fox. Grimer was also there but not sure which route he was headed for; he rated Pillar Chimney & "El Mancho"!! on Clogwyn Du!

A pics attached so you can seee how good it was!

All the best,

Geoff Bennett



Alright Baggy,

We were also on the Ladders today, and had a quick early morning romp up Pyramid Gully.
Still a fair bit of ice in there although it was very britle and, 'dinner plating' with every placement!
Bomber neve under the layer of fresh powder, and heaps of spindrift! see pics below

Cheers

Allan Robb



Hey Baggy,

Went up and climbed Main Gully on Glyder Fach today, loads of firm neve and some good ice; just had to avoid the odd river of graupel flowing down the route when the heavens opened! The direct 'East Gully' start looked very mixed so I did the traverse in. Few inches of fresh snow on the tops, poor visibility and a brisk wind, in stark contrast to yesterday...


Cheers,

Chris

Photo: Alphabet Slab/Main Gully (Glyder Fach)

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Its back on the Menu and was 5 star today

It always amazes me how suddenly the winter just comes back. Well I suppose it does not just come back, but it often feels this way.

Today we were blessed with a perfect winter day. Low temps, clear sky, light wind and great turf and what about all that neve which is covering many parts of the hills. It is top notch. Oh what joy.

I ventured into the Black Ladders today with Greg Cain and climbed Birdsong. This route was put up early Jan 010 by Adam Wainwright. Having recived a few repeats it has gained a reputation for good climbing. I would agree with this, the crux pitch does cover some steep rocky terrain at a grade which would seen unlikey from below and gives really good climbing. Good find that pitch. The route is 5 pitches once you reach the base of the difficulties of western Gully.

Steve Long and Paul Platt added a more direct start to pitch 1 a few weeks ago


We topped out to sunshine and great views. Days like this you need to make the most of. Needing to be home for 5, certain routes were out. However, we went and soloed Playschool III-3 and then Eastern Arete II-III, what a craking route that is. Need a grade 2, with the odd step of 3,mixed, then this is for you.

I spied 14 climbers, on routes such as Pyramind Gully ( good ice in there ), Western, and Eastern Gully

Pics below all of Birdsong

Greg topping out on first pitch



Greg Starting 2nd pitch



Me on crux pitch near the end of the difficulties



Greg at top of 4th pitch



Greg starting pitch 5



Greg on Eastern Arete




Hey Baggy,

Yet another stunning day in Snowdonia. Climbed 'C' Gully (II) in Cwm Clyd in good condition, excellent mix of neve, ice, frozen turf, along with a few patches of not-so-nice graupel. Fair few folk climbing 'B' Gully (I/II) which also looked in good condition.

Cheers Chris

Cwm Clyd below summit of Y Garn



From Tim Jepson

Cwm Cneifion, Saturday 30 January

Cwm Cneifion (The Nameless Cwm) was doing an excellent impersonation of the Alps again today with acres of rock hard neve, ice in abundance and sunny top-outs! A steady stream of climbers arrived in the cwm from 8.00am to midday, chose their grade and ensured that ascents were made of most classics from Tower Gully to El Mancho. Clogwyn Ddu Left hand, so often short of ice this year, had a continuous run from bottom to top and looked eminently climbable, but when we left, around mid-afternoon, it was still under siege by the first party to try it. Despite a biting northerly wind the summit plateau of the Glyders was as beautiful as we have ever seen it. Another great day!

Tim Jepson
Dodi Palmer


Clogwyn Ddu




Dodi on R/H Branch



Summit of Glyders

Friday, 29 January 2010

The weather has been cold today with a good wind chill on hills. Some new snow fell , not loads and mainly above 600/700ms. We had groups on the hill today, snow was neve higher up on Y Garn, and neve and ice etc on rocks above south summit on Tryfan.

Need to go fairly high this weekend. However, it is a good forecast for Sat and Sun

Enjoy

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Gloggy got a little hammering along the way

Cloggy is a strange crag, in that it is not often in good nick when other crags are. However, this winter it allowed climbers in.

Whilst Wales was under is's magical, Tim Neil, alongside a range of partners made numerous trips up to Cloggy. In doing so, 2nd ascents, new routes and classics were climbed, making it the most productive season on Cloggy for some years.

Route 68

First off, with Ray Wood, Tim climbed, ( which we think is the second ascent ) Route 68. This was first climbed by Mick Fowler back and Paul Ramsden in 2005 and they gave it V. This year, the boys thought that was a very traditional grade.
.

Route 66


Next up, with lots of other crag approaches being wade fest, Tim took the Cloggy option again. Finding a nicely trampled Snowdon path led to the split, then a short effort into the cliff.

From here Chris Parkin and Tim started via pitch one of Route 68. Where it steps left into the steep left facing groove, they went straight up a steep right facing one to a big ledge with handy spike. Next pitch took the big corner above, moving left through roofs at the top.

This new route was named Route 66, VI,6, good gear and steep.

Not content and needing to get off, they moved right and did Camus,V, ( another Fowler route ) which made a great combo.


From here a quick descent down bomber snow and ice via Eastern Terrace.

That day, NO ONE ELSE on the crag and people enjoying skiing down the Llanberis path


Chris Parkin on Route 66



Black Cleft VII-7

A route with a historical background and one which has seen many a good climber back off due to poor conditions and hard mixed climbing.

Tim teamed up with Chris Forest and they found good conditions and a route with quality and hard climbing. The route had quite a few ascents after this, then it all went warm

Chris Forest starting up Pitch 3. This is where often there is not enough ice to allow one to get up to the higher mixed section.



This picture of me in 2008 shows the ice in its normal state ( thin and fragile ) Not long after this we aborted our attempt due to thin and poor ice



The amazing thing regards this route was that Tut Braithwaite Soled it !!! in 1982, not a bad day out, oh yes he also nipped into the pass after this route and soled Central Gully V and Crown of Thorns IV

Finally

No report on Cloggy would be worth its salt, if Jubilee Climb was not mentioned. A route which which oozes quality in every mixed sense and one which is good value for its V grade.

This pictures shows Libby Peter on the 3rd pitch ( depending on how you pitch it ) being belayed by Olly Sanders who gave it 4 stars .

Looking for " more excitement and deciding what use is a guide book " as Olly put it, a possible new variation finish might have been climbed that day.




So Cloggy gave up some of it's treasures but it was short lived

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Its coming back in

Hey Baggy,

A quick update, went up to Clogwyn Y Garnedd and climbed Left, Central and Right Trinities; all in good condition today, can't say much about any other routes as I couldn't actually see them (it was very claggy!).

Chris Hooper

Also Nameless Cwm is in good nick with lots of routes climbed over the last few days and I have had reports that some of the routes on the Ladders look in good nick.

Warm on wed, but cold after that, get out there

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Did you Know Bono came to Wales for the action

Looking at the forecast as no doubt many of you have been doing, it does not look promising for next week. A few cold spells but they seem short lived.

As expected, there is still quite a lot of snow on the hills. Lets hope some of this stays around long enough, to give some good easy gully climbing once it goes cold again.

I will be away working for a week, so no blog updates until next weekend at the earliest, lets face it we all need a break. Well I do !

Thanks for all the beta, etc, since I started the blog back up for this winter back ( at the end of November 09 ) . Its the reports which help make the blog so useful. I for one, did not imagine I would have to work this hard so soon. But hey, its been fantastic.

Who would have thought that N Wales would have undergone its craziest period for new routes and repeats for many years. It has been a stonker. There is so much to look back on, just where do you start.

I leave you with a few images to see you through the dark nights

This pic is for Jonny and Jamie

Tony Moody on Central Ice Fall Direct on Sunday 10th Jan 010.

Its hard to imagine this is North Wales 45 mins from the road.



This years Mr Motivated and Mr Keen - Tim Neil

more of his antics to come in later postings

Here, Tim is climbing the main pitch of Back in Black ( Monday 11th Jan 010 ) . This is found on Equator Walls in the Pass-Grade ? some say V-6 this year, some say VI-6, that was last year as the ice was much thinner and less of it. Anyway does not matter that much, this is a great 55m pitch with a ab point at the top. Quality. After this Tim blasted around into Cwm Hetiau and ticked a load of the classic ice routes off. Not a bad back garden to have.


Mr Welsh Winter Wiki

The first ascent of the route above was done by Pete Harrison in Jan 09. Pete is currently Mr Welsh Winter Wiki. Without his enthusiasm for the Wiki and the info he is using to put topos together, all would be lost. Pete is laid up with an injury this winter. Keep up the good work Pete


Old Man Rescused in IDWAL

You may remember? I reported this dramatic event some weeks ago and Simon Panton gave a full account on this Blog. The person in question turned out to be the ‘Great White Trouser Wearer’ – Well he was out there again in these damm god hills of North Wales last week and I am very pleased to say was back to his finer form. All thoughts of that day were a distant memory and chatting to his partners that day, they both seemed to be in awe of him. The persona that was oozing from him could be felt vibrating around the cwm. We are all allowed our off days and by the look of one of his partners, the one in the balaclava maybe it was his turn.


Bono

On hearing how good conditions were in North Wales, Bono , decided to sample for himself what all the fuss was about.

He can be seen here topping out on Chequred Wall VI-6 ( sunday 10th Jan 010 ) one of Cascade's siblings


Finally

This person needs to be found, captured and escorted of the hill in winter. If you do see him, approach with caution, be nice and mutter words such as moss, dirt, scrappy rock, gogarth, loose shite and he will become accommodating to your wishes




Friday, 15 January 2010

Central Ice Fall Direct - A distant memory alongside a massive Thaw

It came, it lasted, it blew all of us away and boy has it gone quick. The rapid transformation of winter wonderland has no doubt left us all wondering what we are all going to do. Lets just focus and train for the next spell alongside taking the memories away.

I am sure many of us have recently ticked routes that we have spent many years dreaming of and looking at in the guide/cold climbs. It might have been Idwal Stream ( which one day had over 50 climbers on the route all at the same time !!!) or some harder route. If you are one of these ? then I am sure you found the experience very fulfilling.

I for one, manged to tick the route which has been at the top of my list and has eluded me for years.

The route was Central Icefall Direct.
I got the opportunity last Tuesday, full details and pictures click on this link


This route was a coupe for Mick Fowler who claimed the first ascent many years ago. It was climbed last Sunday for the first time since the mid 90's ( I may be wrong here ) and received quite a few ascents upto Thursday, even a night ascent !!





In view of the current weather Tim Jepson summed it up

Tim was with his PGCE group from Bangor University today in Cwm Idwal and he witnessed the rapidity and completeness of the thaw brought about by today's high temperatures. By 9.00am the cwm was full of knee-deep slush and brown streams. What had been magnificent, climbable 'cascades de glace' only 15 hours earlier had become 'cascades d'eau' rushing down to the sea, and the snow was being stripped from the hillsides as they stood and watched. The product of four weeks of cold weather gone in one morning of warm wind and rain.

Do not despair, stay keep tuned to the blog as I have more details of routes, new, rare and first winter ascents over the last 4 weeks. alongside the Big Interview

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Luck on the last day in particular for my client Alistair

Today was one of those days, when in the end, it all works out. I thought my plans for today were well sorted and for once early. Having missed another days climbing on Wednesday due to the school being shut yet again !! I had arranged with Dave Evans by mid morning Wednesday to go and have a go at the Black Cleft today. This is a classic ice and mixed route up on Cloggy at VII-7.

However, by 7.00pm last night it was off due to that damm school again. With the Cleft out of Radar, I phoned Alistair up one of my clients asking him if he could get Thursday off. He was keen for the Appendix this year and it looked like Thursday would be the last day of this good period. Need to grab it while you can. A few hours later and the answer was YES from Alistair. However with the forecast suggesting temps above the summit for Thursday there was that uncertain outcome.

With a late start today, you guessed, it that damm school, we arrived at the base of the route with only 1 team ahead and conditions looking good. Great It is on.

One had to be quite gentle on the first pitch, in particular stepping onto the column. I ran the last two pitches together to avoid and awkward belay with this pitch proving a little taxing on the traverse high up. Topping out in the sun was the icing on the cake.

With an hour left before Alistair had to leave, we squeezed the Devils Kitchen. Thanks to Dave and Sue Walsh who let me push in front of them.

All in all, a good day at the office and maybe the last for some time. Well at least this office.

The amount of ice in Idwal is more than I have ever seen and there were a whole bunch of locals out today making the most of it.

Pictures of Bottom pitch ( All pictures taken by Mike Raine )

Baggy in yellow and Alistair in Blue











Maria - A little Gem of a route which no one does for years, then half of Wales does in a week. Nice one. Tim Jepson, Chris Hooper and Owen Hayward felt they too just had to get in one more route today before the forcasted thaw arrived. Having successfully negotiated lethal black ice on the A5 (which caused at least two crashes) they were rewarded not only by Maria in excellent condition but by an inversion which left the Carneddau bathed in pink morning sunshine, above a valley full of cloud. Route climbed, they abbed from the tree belay and went back to work. Excellent!

Photo:
Chris Hooper nearing the top of Maria, Gallt yr Ogof



Avalance Update

2 Avalanches In Snowdonia recently . Quite big ones, worth having a look at links, not seen these for some years in N Wales. Enough to do harm or even worse.

Worth considering with the amount of snow we have, and if a thaw sets in

See BBC news at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/8458967.stm

Also from the BMC website

There was a full depth avalanche on the Nant Peris side of Y Garn last night, as rapidly rising temperatures take hold.
The crown wall of the slope that released was over a metre high, and the debris spread a long way down the mountainside. With the last few weeks being a winter mountaineer's dream, the next few days look like being a soggy nightmare, with rain forecast in Snowdonia over the weekend.

Maybe it will go cold again, but for the time being, it would not be surprising if there were more avalanches in Snowdonia.


Lost- ANYONE Help

On Monday, after anther cracking day on the Black Ladders James and I cocked up massively. He left a DMM Rebel Ice too and I left a brand new pair of BD poles, by our car in Gerlan. As soon as we realised we drove straight back someone had already picked them up.

If the person who found them reads this can we please have out gear back?

We'll each buy you a pint or two in return!

Cheers,

Tom Ripley 07760992614

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Oh my god have you seen the forcast - Help !!!!

Where did that come from. Oh so sudden, lets not get down just yet.

Back to Biz

Chris Hooper has sent in a revised topo of Foel Goch showing Tim Jepson and Dodi's variation finish to The Curver

"The Straighter (variation finish) Grade: III+ (?)
Break out left across the side wall of the Curver to climb an icy, slanting groove and then the snowy headwall to the top, 70m.

Tim Jepson / Dodi Palmer 2/1/10"



Its good to have some pictures from Mid Wales on the blog and see folk travelling down that way. These falls look very great and I know Hugh Gilbert has commented on howegood they are.

Shots of Maesglasau Falls from yesterday. Did it with Streaky and Dafydd Davis. We made the mistake of taking a right hand line on the main pitch and ended up in a loose/collapsing horrorshow (a truly heroic lead from Streaky!), but apart from that it's an amazing route. (the other team skirted under the steepness and went up the left side of the fall)

Si Panton


Pictures of Maesglasau







Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Hooper Clocks Up more new routes for Wales

Chris Hooper as been out enjoying the variety of routes this recent good spell has offered. In the process, he has been avoiding the crowds and having the crags to himself ( and at times his climbing partners ) However, the main news here is that he has been clocking up a few new routes in the process amd grabbing a few ascents of routes which have not been climbed for years. In addition to this, Chris has also been putting topos together for the nation to use. Tops marks to Chris on all accounts.

Route Descriptions on Foel Goch

Cherry Gully 150m II/III (?) 30 metres left of Red Gully. Start by climbing steep flakes to the left of the large block this leads into the gully proper and is broken up by a number of icy / rocky steps. Continue to follow the gully, at its end veer right, up a tricky step, which leads up into a groove; then out onto the rib which you follow easily to the top.

Chris Hooper solo 31/12/09

Raven Gully 160m II (?) 25 metres left of Red Gully. Start by following the gully to the right of the large block. This leads you towards a small cave. Climb the slab to the right of the cave entrance then head directly up towards a large 'notch'. Above this the angle eases, follow the shallow snow groove to the top.

Chris Hooper solo 31/12/09

Been back up to Foel Goch today with Jim Potter to do another line on the crag, again can't find this one recorded anywhere, so will name and grade it for now.

Seal Gully 200m II (?) Start at the top of the snow cone between Red Face and The Curver. Follow the obvious gully above, protection is fairly sparse on the first pitch (55m). Second pitch continues up the gully and climbs the rock grooves above (left) to a belay on threads/spikes (55m). Follow the rib above to the gully headwall and traverse diagonally right bringing you out onto a uniform snowslope (avalanche danger) leading to the summit ridge.

Chris Hooper / Jim Potter 2/1/10

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


Went into the right hand side of Cwm Cywion and climbed 2 routes that are not in the guide, so if anyone knows their names etc please let us know! Route 1 (IV, 4+?) has a fantastic steep ice pitch which leads onto a pitch of (III) then a snow/mixed ground (II) to the top. Route 2 (II) has a great first pitch of ice and then good snow to the top. Easy descent via a grade I gully (it has a few steps in it). Go check them out... but be aware the top of this crag gets the sun and so an early start is recommended.

Then went over to the False Banana Gully area and did No.1 Gully (III), a route in great condition. North East Ridge descent to finish off, meeting lots of folk on their way up enjoying the views.

PS - if someone else has climbed them before then let us know, don't want to claim something that has been climbed by someone else!

Cheers,

Chris Hooper




In addition to this he made a very early visit to Cwm Silyn

John Tatam and I headed into Cwm Silyn today ( Monday 4th Jan ) , no-one else around! Climbed Mask of Death in good condition, shorter screws very useful, a grade V in current conditions, 2 excellent pitches. Next was Bedrock Gully, I climbed the meat of this route in one long 50m pitch, sketchy ice in places and very little gear, more like a grade V in current conditions. Colin's Gully also looked in nick, although a bit thin in places.

Pics of routes







Maesglasau

We climbed Maesglasau today (excellent but I fear that it may have fallen down by tomorrow) and when we arrived there was a pheasant shoot going on. All good fun watching the tweed claded gentry release a barrage of lead into the sky and we got the opportunity to chat to both the game keeper and the farmer. They are more than happy to see climbing going on but the approach route given in the North Wales guide book is no longer viable as it cuts right through the middle of the pheasant pens, and as I've seen today this is big business round these parts. In actual fact I guess the route was never a legal right of way. The best way to approach the falls is to traverse in around the back of the cwm from the east. There are a couple of paths marked on the OS map and signed on the ground that lead you to the start of the traverse. All of the traverse is then done on CROW Act Access Land.

Cheers,

Huw Gilbert

Monday, 11 January 2010

More new routes keep coming two at VII-8 - with the Ladders in the thick of it again

Firstly two requests.

1 ) Anyone who has put a new route up , can you get the details on the Winter Wiki.

2 ) Currently, whilst conditions are so good, I have decided just to post new routes or rare ascents.


Cheers for all your help

These new routes keep coming and the ladders is having a battering this year. Flanders, hardly anyone had done this last year, now its a classic and now its nearly been climbed true summer line. Chris,s routes are now well known, but no can keep up with him as he keeps adding more.

Also Mr Parkin cannot drag himself away from his crag, the ladders. Back again with Steve Long for another new route.

Hedd Wyn VII - 6, 6, 4, 6, 3, 2

Full details visit this link to winter wiki

Baggy

Simon Frost and myself finally managed to get up the summer line of Flanders (Black Ladders) on Sunday.

Well not strictly true, we did most of the summer line but took a slight deviation on the fifth pitch trending a little further right from the belay overlooking Western Gully up some turf ledges and regained the summer line at the next belay.

The line and pitches were great each giving interest and with a character all of their own. “The Citadel” but in North Wales was mentioned.

Over all we think its worth about VII 8, but the crux pitch is bold and 50ft lobs can and have been taken if you mess it up.

Simons my view of the grade; pitch1, 6 pitch2, 8 pitch3, 6 pitch4, 6 pitch5, 5 pitch6, 5.

Dave Gary

Crux Pitch



Hi Baggy,

Had a good week last week which started with Steve Mayers and myself putting up a new route on Tryfan which is a better start to Green Gully and went at about V. I also did The Devil’s Cellar (with the direct start) and found the top pitch to be in very different condition from last year and is more in keeping to a IV than the steep narrow pitch that was there last winter. We were out again yesterday expecting to encounter some crowds but we didn’t have a problem getting on any of the routes we wanted to do and found South Gully (IV) in fantastic condition as was The Devil’s Kitchen but I would say it is more a V in its present condition.

Cheers for now

Berwyn Evans

Steve on Green Gully



The Kitchen



Hi Baggy,

Climbed Pipes and Screen – (I recon we should start up a CafĂ© Called ‘Baggy’s Butties’ just below the entrance the kitchen, we’d of made a killing yesterday). Also, the start of the Pipes –starting to look a little chopped up.

Alistair Borrett

Alistair on start of pipes





Saturday 9th January
Carnedd y Filiast

In an attempt to avoid the weekend rush, Tim Jepson, Dodi Palmer and Dave Williams went up to the Carnedd y Filiast slabs and did 'The Ribbon' as per the old guidebook. The ribbon of ice is in good nick, varying between one and eight metres wide, thick enough to take screws in places, but otherwise devoid of runners or meaningful stances. The whole route is 300m long, of which approx. 200m is ice, at a constant easy angle, and the rest straightforward snow. The old guidebook gives it Grade 4, on account of the lack of protection. Technically there is nothing above Grade 2, a good candidate for a long, mountain solo! While there is plenty of scope for aimless exploration on this crag, the two routes described in the guidebook look as if they are the only ones worthy of any attention.

Tim

Dodi Palmer climbing the narrow section of 'The Ribbon'






Idwal lob!!!!
.
Witnessed a guy lob off The Ramp at Devils Kitchen. He was soloing between 4 other teams. He fell about 10M before getting entangled in another teams rope, preventing him falling to the bottom of the route.
Lucky sod.

Steve

Pics off adrian trendall off the APPENDIX over weekend- Unknown Climber



FINALLY AS CONS ARE SO GOOD FOR THE TIME BEING PLEASE JUST SEND INFO OF NEW ROUTES AND RARE ASCENTS OF ROUTES. KEEP ON HAVING IT FOLKS

Sunday, 10 January 2010

A busy weekend in Wales - SOME BIG LOBS-BE CAREFUL

Hi baggy,

Big fall on the Somme on Thursday, the boy was lucky to escape with a broken ankle and lucky 22 was around to pick up. I think I am right in saying this climb is out of condition. Did the Pipes today. This is a brilliant long single pitch for those happy at the grade. Not to be missed, with a thin start..

Matt Sutton

Hi Baggy,
At least five teams ascend a pretty skinny looking Devil 's Appendix on Sunday. One guy took a big lob and lost both of his leashless tools. It was a lot skinnier by the end of the day.

Andrian Treadwell

Hi Mark

Some 'late' news from Friday 8th January.

We had a day off work to make the most of the current ice conditions in Wales but without any firm plans. However once up at Idwal it was obvious that the Appendix was at least worth a try. Several hours later it was in the bag. The first pitch was another inspired lead by Mark but the second and third were also very good value and slightly spooky. Fantastic ice formations at the top. Not sure if anyone else has done it but no obvious signs above the first pitch icicle. Managed to get some decent gear in the second pitch stance (2 good pegs and a wire up and left). Great day but we were a bit frazzled for today so did Face Route in the pass - excellent. Tony Walker and Mark Gration. See pic below.





Some one also took a big lob on Cascade today. Thankfully they are not to damaged.



Hi mark

Devils appendix had some traffic today as did almost everything in idwal

Lots on sting,cellar and ques and hour plus on screen

We did screenand devils pipes both v good but pipes was brittle

Hope to have some pics will send later

Alistair Borrett



Hey Baggy,

Thanks to a tip off from Tim Jepson and Dodi, I headed up to The Ribbon in Cwm Graianog. What a great route! Climbing a perfect streak of ice in a brilliant, but committing setting. Only saw 2 walkers today. A few things, the old Nant Ffrancon road is like an ice rink at the moment, would suggest finding an alternative parking/approach for all routes requiring access from this road (unless in a 4x4). There is also a lot of snow being moved around on the strong winds of the last few days so keep an eye out for windslab on sheltered slopes.

Chris Hooper


Hi Baggy,

Trojan not in good shape apart from the upper section. I climbed about 30m and then the next 10ft at least of ice fell away. Needs some freeze thaw to come in to nick! A

Cheers Chris Guest

Hi Baggy,

The path up to the Black Ladders is now a flattened motorway, after hordes made their way there yesterday.
Lots of folk heading for Western Gully & Eastern Gully. Parkin & Long left new-routing in the dark around Gallipoli; lucky souls! Passchendaele was our choice after letting a visiting dad & son team take Gallipoli.Lots of powder & wind slab on the turfy ledfge routes which made them a little too exciting in places.

Cascade done in the dark last night I understand by Rob from J Browns and Helana !!

All the Best
Geoff Bennett

Hi Baggy

I was out on Yr Esgair Saturday with Ali then, ok conditions, turf not that frozen but holding enough. It was a bit windy at the notch and a few places further up with some spindrift adding to the feel! Definately a winter route! There were a few other solo folks and parties about, but by no means crowded.

We bumped into John and Malcolm from Conway Centre who were headed for The Curver, who looked like they were enjoying it, so, after topping out of Yr Esgair ridge we headed down Easy Gully and headed for The Curver. In agreement with Tim Jepson, it is a bit longer than the 170m in the guide. We bumped in to a party of three on the route who were
enjoying their "new experience". Some interesting cornice shapes on the scarp slope at thetop of the route and some amazing views in every direction! Lots of windslab on the E and SE aspects on the descent back to Ogwen.

I headed out with Ali Sunday again and we were originally bound for the Snowdon area, however, the road on the pass had other ideas for Ali's van. Snow had been blown onto the road from about the quartz stone corner and was succeeding in turning back folks.So with tails between our legs and now half an hour behind the crowds, we retreated and headed for Cwm Idwal. Sure enough, it was busy with plenty deep queues on most of the visible ice routes and a few others too. We opted for a little less climbed option, Sub Wall Route (IV) on Idwal Slabs. The first pitch was initially a bit of powder swimming, but soon got a little fruity. I took on the second pitch, which proved a bit sparse on gear and solid placements for crampon or axe. Lots of
the snow consisted of sugary snow/ice loosely bonded to the slab, mostly with air! There is a nice little step and slab which maintains the interest of the leader. Ali stepped up for a more consolidated 3rd pitch and i took on the fourth.
I am not sure it is a route i would rush out and repeat, but we did have it to ourselves on a very busy day. Maybe that is something to be said of the route we chose??!!

Ali, stepping out around the undercling at the beginning of the 3rd pitch.




Dave Brown

Hi Baggy.

Went to look at abba to see if it was in condition. It isnt and its not even close. Not even the little falls to the right are in condition either !

Ta David

Hey Baggy,

Did Maesglase today. 3 teams in total. It looked like someone else had already been on it. Very good nick! The main fall is best taken on the left as one of the teams had to bail going right. Amazing, highly recommend it!

Steve.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Maria ascent, more on old man resuce and another VII-7 to hit N Wales

I went and climbed Maria on Gallt Yr Ogof with Tim and Libby today. Given IV in Cold Climbs and V in the winter book this route has not been climbed for some years I believe ?? . It is one of those routes I have had on my list for some time, I suppose due to it being in Cold Climbs and hardly there. Friday I went to have a look at this climb from the A5 and thought is was not quite there. How wrong I was, so thanks goes to Martin Chester, Steve Long and Jony G who went in there Friday and found it in nick and letting us know. Two teams were on it when we left today so not so rare anymore.

Overall it may warrant V in its current condition as the first pitch feels quite necky.

Tim Leading first pitch



Baggy starting second pitch


Tim and Libby seconding top pitch



A new route on Llech Ddu has been done Blackourt VII-7. So many hard routes being put up and winter is just starting. I am sure more hard routes will be done over the weekend

I Skied into Llech Ddu Friday with Dave Almond and climbed a new route. Blackout. VII 8. Based roughly on the summer route Blitzkrieg in the lower section, but where that route goes left into the big corner we continued straight up, to the Pillar Traverse, then climbed two more pitches up grooves and steep slabs in the dark. A pretty intense day on a serious bit of rock!

Regards

Simon Frost


Hey Baggy,

Out with Jim Potter today in Cwm Hetiau and did The Irish Mail (IV), fab route! The Railway Gully (II/III) also looks in good nick and so does The Flying Scotsman (IV, 5). Only saw 2 other climbers, who were walking in whilst we were on the route! Got to say it was fairly chilly in the wind today but another beautiful day in paradise...

Cheers,

Chris Hooper

Finally full story on the rescue in Idwal on Friday I reported.

Old Hippy rescued from Cwm Idwal ice fall


Baggy, further to the brief reference in yesterday’s blog to the rescue of an old man in Cwm Idwal on Friday, I can confirm the details of this alarming story. Myself and Jon Ratcliffe were enjoying the steep and funky ice route, The Sting, when we noticed an ageing hippy character soloing up Stingray, a grade IV/V route to the left. Realising that this had a steep and tricky exit I was intrigued as to how this mystery character would cope with such territory. Either he was some veteran superstar nonchalantly cruising around his old stomping grounds, or he was insane escapee from a local old people’s home – at this stage it was hard to tell?

I watched him move sloth-like up the lower easy angled grooves of the route, pausing at mid height to take photos of Jon who was close to the top of The Sting. Jon topped out, but our silent visitor seemed to be stuck, his nervous twitchy moves indicating that an impasse had been reached. A brief shuffling down-climb preceded another lengthy halt when it dawned on me that he had reached another impasse below him and was now marooned halfway up the ice fall.

At this point he turned to me and started gesturing wildly, flapping his arms around like a drunk air traffic controller. The wind had picked up, but amidst the flapping of my hood I could just about make out his muffled cries. “Help, help…I’m stuck! Get me a top rope now, or I’m doomed! I’ll pay good money if you rescue me. Help, help!”

Realising the urgency of the situation, and how his destiny now lay in our hands, I tore back my hood and shouted up to Jon to pull one of the ropes through and drop a rescue rope to the stranded and increasingly frantic old hippy.

With a rope tied round his waist he then sketched his way to the top of the groove in the style of what can only be described as an anxious turtle shuffling up a beach.

Upon reaching the top, imagine our surprise when we discovered that the poor hapless fool that we had rescued turned out to be none other than the esteemed climbing fashion guru.

When asked what had brought him to this sorry, low point where he was begging for top ropes from strangers, the climber became quite tearful as he told us the tale of how he had lost his infamous ‘white trousers’ and thus - much like mythic hero Samson, who was powerless without his long hair – his 'mojo'.

He stumbled away into the mist, muttering something about how “Nobody makes white winter climbing pants these days” and how he would “have to get hold of some of those trendy, low slung”, and crucially, “white snowboarding kecks from his son” and lastly, rather ominously, that he would make sure that our “kind deed was repaid in full”.

Everybody should keep their eyes peeled for the ‘Great White Trouser Wearer’ – he’s out there in the hills of North Wales , although with all the snow he may be hard to spot.

Cheers,

Simon Panton

Ground Up Productions Ltd

Friday, 8 January 2010

More and more routes and ladders back in action

Another fantastic day in the Park. Very cold and clear blue skies. I was on sledging duty again, another school shut again. Anyway more interesting things.

Good beta from Stu regards ladders as its unsure how much snow there has been in there. Looks like the mystique surrounding this route over the last how many years has disappeared. VII-7 having regular ascents in Wales, Bring it on.

Anyway I am sure Lee and Stu should be out rescuing cats and helping the elderly ??? seems like my taxes are paying for them going climbing of late

Yo Baggy,

We ve been on your Ladders today, (sorry we didnt ask!) We made a careful approach to Western Gully area where actually the slopes were quite good (Friday). Under the Pinnacle Face the slopes look loaded, though there were climbers enjoying themselves over there.Lots of spindrift avalanches going off down Western Gully. We managed Flanders, pretty exciting and just keeps on coming, but reasonable pro. In all a long, great route! Weve never had hot aches so frequently in Wales! Get in!

Stu Stanley and Lee Roberts

lee Leading pitch 2 VII-7



Lee 2nding P1




Lee with proper Welsh hot aches, so much harsher than their Scottish counterparts!



Adam Wainwright and Streaky climbed Bracket Gully on Lliwedd. This is a summer route and first climbed by Dia Lampard back in 86 !!!! about V-5 in current conditions. This may be the second ascent. Lot of soft snow on the terraces and in the gullies on Lliwedd.

Idwal was well busy again today so take care with flying debris over the weekend. Someone tried the Appendix but it seemed very un-stable and scary to watch. An Old man had to be rescued in idwal today off a route. Sting in interesting nick about VI at the mo.

Routes on North side of the pass not in nick

Baggy,
I was up on The Cascade today at around 12:00 and a party arrived when we were starting the second pitch. The route is in good condition, a bit thin but as libby said, the placements are all good. You don't need to run the first two pitches together, the belay after the first pitch is good long screws. Take a lot of stubbies with you, the second pitch is a bit thin on protection.
All in all a great route, couldn't believe there was no one else there.
Andy Woolston and Stu Harth

Cascade on Friday




Central Icefall is to fragile. Pass well quite over recent days maybe the masses are in Idwal ? Lots of waiting for routes in idwal, can only be worse this weekend. Read info on snow conditions on Snowdon at end of report.

Face route is in good nick also.

Huw Gilbert as been out over in mid wales and found some ice. However, there is not as much as in the North of the park.

Huw on Mid Wales Ice



Baggy,

Still mega down here. Gwth IV,5 has been today's route of choice, 7 pitches long all but 2 of them on ice. Team Corris had a pair on Central Gully III,4 as well. They whinged a little about deep snow but it wasn't that bad. We're off on another jolly boys outing tomorrow to check out the Dinas Mawddwy water falls, don't know how frozen they are yet. Trojan not in as of yet though.

Cheers,

Huw.

check out more from Hugh from Today

Hi Baggy,


(friday) Started on Sargeant's Gully (Cryn Las), was much wetter and thiner than I'd hoped for, lots of big holes through to the stream, still climbable though. Then round past Clogwyn Y Person where I dug a quick pit before crossing a big NNE facing snow slope to find there is still a real weakness in the snowpack. A top layer of powder over a mid layer of soft but bonded snow which released very easily from the few inches of neve beneath. At the edge of the slope where I tested it was only about 12 -16 inches deep in all but transferring that weakness to the areas of deeper snow was enough for me to do some detours.

To avoid the snow gullies I climbed an unnamed (in WWC anyway) ice fall to the left of Fantail Gully, a full pitch of continuous, leftward-trending, slabby II/III ice then a narrow, shallow gully above (mixed) where you can bridge to avoid tricky steps or loose snow. This leads to a long snow slope (solid this time) which takes you to the East end of Crib Y Ddysgl. I'm sure this will have been climbed many times before but I thought I'd mention it as the book doesn't and it would make an excellent line at its grade when the snow is in condition.

Descent via Crib Goch, which is stunning at the moment and pretty empty as the Pen y Pass car park was closed. N.B all the cars parked on the road there were getting tickets.

Cheers Torquil

Baggy

Thursday 7th - Cadair Idris - Trojan - got up 25m but bailed due to a low volume and quality of ice. Its not thick enough to take screws (its a while off that currently).

Steve Barrett.

This time last week, Tim Neil, Jon Ratcliff and Lee Roberts went for a trip up to Llech Ddu. They climbed West End as it it described in the winter guide. However it says its unclimbed. Well Steve Long and myself climbed it back in 2006 and called it Y Front and gave it VI-6. Tim approached it by the L/H side on an ice fringe. Steve and I approached from the R/H side.

Jon on first pitch of Y Front aka West End



Steve Long on first pitch of Y Front VI-6 back in 2006



Lee then bailed up Skid Row until it got really poky , not quite in nick and getting dark. time for reverse thrusters.

Lee entering final pitch of Skid Row




Snowdon Snow Conditions Info on Friday 8th Jan from a well respected source.

Just had a lovely morning up the ridge right of Cyrn Las then over the top of Garnedd Ugain and down the PYG track. Lots of snow about and strong NE wind blowing it about. There are large areas of windslab. I dug a couple of pits, the first one was near the bottom of the zig zags on a SE slope at roughly 900m.

I didn't do a full profile, but just a couple of quick stability tests. The first was a 'burp' test of the top foot or so of snow and this showed a couple of layers of instability (at about 50mm depth and 120mm depth from the surface), both of which slid after a firm slap on the bottom of the shovel. Both these layers slid on a clear graupel layer (polystyrene ball snow). I also did a shovel sheer test which went at about 300mm (1 foot) deep on a graupel layer again, with a moderate pull. So there are multiple layers of windslab separated by thin layers of graupel. On steeper slopes these conditions could definitely cause an avalanche, with the extra loading of a walker/climber or skier.

I dug another pit on the lower slopes of the Trinity Face on a NE facing slope and there was an older layer of windslab on top of a load of graupel. There was no clear result on the burp test, but almost the full depth of the area dug (only about 500mm) went with a gentle pull near the ground, on a layer of graupel, during a shovel shear test. There was also some avalanche debris a bit higher up the slope in roughly the area of Laddies Gully (maybe from last weekend's avalanche?, not sure where it was). Because this area does not get any sun at this time of year the snow pack is changing very little and the instabilities will remain for a long time. The top slopes of Central Trinity in particular look like they are composed of windslab, probably sitting on graupel. Personally I wouldn't go near them for a while.


Hopefully I am out on sat and at a party sat eve, so no update until Sunday HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND FOLKS