Sunday, 2 December 2012

Slow off the mark this year for me

I had been out walking and scrambling on the Glyders on Sunday 25th March and found ice and more snow than expected. With the forecast at the time ( for the week just gone  ) it was obvious that some kind of early and high conditions would form last week.

This was great news,  and for me,  a time to get some early season excitement. Having had a good sort out of my winter kit over the last month, purchases made, kit altered, repaired etc, I was in go mode. It was not even December.

So why no posts your ask. The answer to this ? I was off down south on Wednesday due to work and not back in N Wales until this evening. So I joined the club that looked at forecasts, updates and pictures and could do nothing but get disappointed.  So I was one of many just waiting to see what was in nick and who had done what.  In the meantime the text were coming in thick and fast.

Looking around the web and talking to quite a few folk today, seems the regular hard routes on Glogwyn Du came along with some slightly easier routes up there. The hard routes were quality ticks especially for the first real day of the season grade VII/ 8 and VIII/8 . There are some fit and psyched bunnies out there. Bring it on.

Baggy - it was mint on Clogwyn du today. very few people on it though. R and  R ticked Blenderhead and me and Neil griffiths ticked Taversty. Good day. fingers x'd it stays.

Quite a few teams have been out in the Carneddau with reports of good build up for this early in the season and after just a short time, but not enough to climb. Enough to hang on and rip out turf and get really scared , but why bother damage the turf, plants etc why not just wait that little longer.   Cwm Lloer loos like its been a poplar venue also.

Every one is really keen but we do have to wait and find suitable objectives.

Reports of routes on Snowdon surprised me and reading between the lines and speaking to local climbers who know a thing or two, there were no real conditions. This really worries me, in particular the post on UKC where a climber said RH Trinty was not frozen, the turf was not fully frozen and the route had very little neve etc, but was OK at about IV. No it is not OK, that whole face needs to be frozen with neve, it holds rare plants and actions like this just trash it and ruin for others.  Snowdon in particular does not have quality turf unlike other crags so more care is required here. It is quite easy to damage the plant life etc.

You may ask who I am to decide who should do what ? However, I do feel I have a good understanding of the area, the issues,  and having worked with the BMC and Countryside Council for Wales  in the production of their White Guide.

Its aim is to inform and educate winter climbers about some of the fragile and internationally important habitats and plants that could be damaged by winter climbing activities, and how climbers can help to minimise any potential damage by identifying best practice.

Many of the best winter climbing venues in Snowdonia are also very important, legally protected Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which potentially could be inadvertently harmed if climbed in poor conditions or with poor techniques.

The guide is a combination of work from Dr Barbara Jones (BMC Volunteer and previously Upland Ecologist for CCW), Elfyn Jones (BMC Access & Conservation Officer), Joe Roberts (BMC volunteer and CCW Access Policy Officer) with input from Simon Panton and North Wales winter activists Mark “Baggy” Richards

.In addition to this, being the guide book author with Si Panton, then a duty is owed to the environment we play in.  That is enough from me, but I feel you do need to think carefully of what you do and when.

There seems to be a fair amount of snow above 600m with other reports of ski touring on the tops of the Carneddau.

The forecast for the next 6 days is quite good, with a possible fluctuation in temps and more snow. One thing I hope is that all this snow does not insulate the turf.

I am away again Tuesday for another 3 days, bad timing as this Monday looks poor and warmish temps.  Hopefully looking ahead the change for better conditions near the end of the week will pay off and lead into a good weekend.

Finally Will it ? Won't it ? Will it - it goes on, well if I knew it was going to be a good one this season I would happily share that with you. Who knows, fingers crossed.

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