Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Is it your year to come out

I mean,  is it the year to admit your a secret Lycra clad road biker. Here in North Wales there has been a boom of mountaineers and climbers taking up road biking in recent years. However, not ever one has turned to Lycra but give them time and I am sure they will. With the recent weather, most folk have forgot about winter and are spring mode.

Road racing, road events, time trialing and track cycling are all facets of UK cycling on a huge rise. 2011 has to be  one of the best years in the history of UK cycling.  We took the green jersey at the Tour De France, we won the World Road Race Championships, came 2nd and 3rd at the Tour of Spain ( 3rd biggest tour in the world ) won the Critérium du Dauphiné the pre tour warm up event and the King of the mountains in the Tour of Britain.

This combined with all the track success of team GB of recent years means the UK has now become a force to be reckoned with. Team GB SKY are now going into their third year and after their 2011 effort they could be onto a fantastic year, one can only hope.

£100,000 worth of bikes, let alone the cars and the coach.

The Tour of Britain last year, reached record crowds, fantastic racing and lots of drama along the way, with a Brit- Jonathan Tierman Locke, Rapha Condor Sharp, Winner of the Skoda King of the Mountains Jersey. 

It is not as if the UK has never had any good road cyclists, we have. Tony Simspon, Robert Miller,  Sean Kelly and my own favourite Dave Millar to name a few. However,  we now have a crop of top cyclists who rank with the best in the world. The likes of Geraint Thomas, Mark Cavendish, Brad Wigans, Ben Swift, and Dave Millar are right up there.

Mark Cavendish has certainly helped put UK cycling higher up the agenda in 2011, having won sports personality of the year. Mark is a sprinter and is actually the fastest man in the world on a bike. Take for example his 78kph sprint finish on one stage win on the flat, that is 49mph !!. Ok he had a lead out train but that is going some.

In addition to this, he won the world championships road race this year. To do so, he needed the help of a team to get him to the final sprint finish. Team GB did an amazing job of taking control of the race and dominating it all the way to the line against the best cyclists in the world. Mark also won another 4 stages of the Tour de France in 2011, taking his tally to 20 stage wins in the Tour De France.

Fastest Man ( Cav in yellow )  and Fastest lead out Man ( Renshaw in blue )

In recent years Team GB track team, Chris Hoy ring any bells ?  have really kicked some butt and the woman's cycling team have also been up there. Their aces such as Victoria Pendleton, Lizzie Armitstead and Nicole Cooke all helping to put cycling on the map.

Drugs I hear some of you say. Cycling has been shrouded by its association with doping, but this has really changed in the last 5 years. It is worth noting that many pro cyclist are tested many times throughout the year unlike another sports players.  I am not playing this down, but a fact is a fact. Worth noting, many riders spend "10% of their salary to the fight against doping, but athletes in other sports do not." and remember even the great Maradona was found guilty of doping.

So a  slight diversion from climbing, but with no conditions in Wales for climbing, bikes be -longing to local climbers are clocking up more miles than usual for this time of year.

Finally try and get hold of Dave Millar's new book if your into your cycling. A great read and insight to one cyclists personal view of cycling, winning, loosing, being the best and doping.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Short Glimmer of Hope

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of updates. I have been in Rujkan in Norway enjoying fine weather a great ice.

If you have never been there then I suggest you look into a trip there. With the average walk in 15 mins !! and access to loads of routes from UK 3 ( WI 2 ) then it is one of those climbers can call paradise.

Norway is expensive, but if your careful and go as a team of four then it is well worth it. In addition to this, it was so quite most days having the crags to ourselves.

A few pics of Norway

A quick route on the way back to base , this is road side and the picture was taken form the car

The team after a hard day  out

So much fun !!

North Wales -  A short glimmer of hope 

In view of the weather closer to home, then the forecast has given a glimmer of hope. The hills were white down to 600m but this afternoon temps were plus 8 at 200ms.

I have no idea what the temps or ground has been like,  as I arrived home this morning. However, the forecast from today is very warm, so that means no winter climbing in Wales for the moment.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Angelsey's Hidden Gem

Over on Angelsey we are blessed with a top notch bouldering wall.

Indy Wall as it has become known has been serving local climbers for some years.

So why head down there next time your in North Wales

With leading and top rope walls also, it is an ideal place to train.

All located within one area and with great staff what better place to crank it out.

Their hotmail is '

Facebook page is 'Indy Climbing Wall' 

Contact number is 01248 716 058

Location click on link


Sets of Alkit fig 4's for hire at £1.50 or free if that is all you do while using the wall!

Friday, 10 February 2012


The last few days have been a lot warmer, damp and wet at times. However, it has gone colder this afternoon.

Today the hills have been covered in cloud so it has been difficult to see how much snow has gone high up. Lower down ( 700ms approx, as high as  I could see today ) most of snow has gone and the hills look very black/green.

My assumption would be that only gullies will be climbable, but these should have improved again now the temp has dropped again. Any ice that survives should also be ok.

With temps lower over the weekend then this is great news for the climber. At least there are routes to climb.

It also looks good into next week, with some snow on the way possibly, which will help with the crags and some freeze thaw looks like it is on the cards

Also Spectral Wall went free, check out V12 news for full details

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

another cold and nice day

Pictures taken today.

Snowdon and grib goch


Elidir Fawr

Towards the coast


Monday, 6 February 2012

Here comes the Neve

Driving through the park today, all is not lost. High up there is still snow in the gully lines, on crags such as Y Garn, Nameless Cwm.

The cliffs are black again

The temp has dropped this afternoon and its a clear sky

The forecast is for the temp to drop and stay below freezing high up at least until Saturday

So there is going to be plenty of neve around


Sunday, 5 February 2012

With Saturday's forecast being one of change, with warmer temps, rising freezing level and rain as the day progressed,  then where to go on Saturday posed more of a ?.

In the end, I visited an area I have had in mind for sometime.  Glyn and I climbed the first ascent of a rock route. Diff in summer and now IV-5 in winter. Not a long route , 90ms max in 3 pitches,  not a bad choice considering the weather on the day.

It was raining as we topped

Spectral Wall was climbed today up on Glogwyn Ddu

The forecast for Sunday was freezing level at 700ms. However, it seemed very warm this morning outside the house. The hills have been covered in cloud when i have been out so I have been unable to see how much snow may have gone.

Glyn on first pitch

Get training -  something very different, very hard, just  follow the link. Quite amazing what is being done these days.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Stunning Day in North Wales

The blog title says it all. Friday was just that.

So for a round up of  recent events. However, before that, check these sticks out !! Quality, strength, precision, sexy and cool 

Friday I was out with a group of School Students form Sharnbrook Upper School, Bedford. This school, well now an Academy have a very thriving outdoor department within school and the pupils do get to participate in lots of climbing and paddling as part of their school studies. How cool. They were in North Wales on a  Outdoor Education residential course at Blue Peris Mountain Centre ( check link for more details of a range of courses for schools, youth, adults, first aid, ML courses etc )

We did a circuit around Elidir Fawr, Mynydd Perfedd and Carnedd Filliast

Snowdon Range

Dropping down to Bwlch y Brecan on the circuit


Lee Roberts and Andy Teasdale took a gamble on the Ladders on Friday and were rewarded with a fantastic day out.  With conditions not great on the cliff, by choosing a route which was steep, did not have the turf buried under the snow and with cracks clean ( no verglass/neve etc )  this choice allowed them to grab a modern classic.

Great Escape VI/VII -7

Andy Takes up the story

Ey up Baggy one.

I went out with strong boy Lee Roberts on Friday. Amazing ! The Great Escape on the Black Ladders was the plan. Conditions were a bit challenging. A lot of the turf was well frozen, but there was plenty of poor stuff. The snow was mostly dry and un- supporting, but the cracks were easily cleaned and therefore gear was very good. Lee did a great job on the hard, or should I say very hard pitches. I took the  blunt end.  A fantastic route and all credit to Dave Hollinger and Rich Cross for their first ascent of it last year.

Here's a shot of Lee gritting his teeth coming to the end of the difficulties on the first Grade 6 pitch,  a great day out!

Chatting to Lee the grade may be a grade harder based on other routes he as climbed on the ladders. or it might be the conditions on the day. Anyway Mr Hollinger and Cross are strong B!!!!! and so are Tim Neil and Chris Parkin who repeated the route last year.

Friday evening

Geoff Bennett popped out after work to climb face Route in the Pass ( IV-4 ) This route is often in nick and gave a great evening out under the stars. Good plan as the weather was due to change in the early hours of Saturday ( which it did )

Hi Baggy

2 great days out Thursday and Friday. Arch gully on Thursday with Mark Reeves. Really good route with amazing top pitch ! worth 3 stars.

Friday, headed up to Clogwyn Ddu today with Adam Harmer. Lots of people out. Main routes looked busy. Started with Golden Girl Ali which was great fun with good steep climbing to start. Rich Stone  met us on the Gribin Ridge ( Welsh winter guide book fame and local new route activist ) and joined us on to do Lilas Chocolate Feast which was really good with delicate thin ice but good turf.

Then we popped round corner to Glyder Fach and Adam and I did East Gully Arête which was again very good with constantly interesting climbing and good frozen turf. Rich  stayed at the bottom and took pictures.

Simon Lake on East Gully Arete

Lila's Chocolate  Feast


Lee Roberts went for the 2nd ascent  ( I think ? ) of  Tabasco Fiasco VI-7  on Glyder Fach adding a new more direct finish.  First climbed by Jon Ratcliff and Andy Scott, Lee thinks the grade is fine, quite a tricky pitch though.

Also Golden Girl Ali in Nameless Cwm has seen a lot of ascents

Huw Gilbert on 2nd pitch ( often the route is split into 2 pitches )


Report by Andy Teasdale

Simon Colley, Mark Walker and myself followed the summer line of Route 2 on Dolmen Buttress, Glyder Fach on Tuesday 31st Jan. The lower slope was followed more or less directly to the start of the summer route as it is described, giving a couple of steady pitches. Our third pitch, up a square groove and broken wall went at about 6 and lead to the belay below the first summer pitch. The next two summer pitches went in one, again at about 6 and lead to the large ledge below the final chimney. Snow was sparse in the final chimney, so we took a diagonal line out to the right, which eventually lead directly to easy ground above the main Dolmen Ridge pitch, about 5. The imminent school run prompted us to rap off into Great / West Gully from here. No ideas of a name yet, it might have been done before by the old Ogwen Cottage crew from years ago. Route 2 , Dolmen Buttress, V 6, would be fine by me.

Me in the chimney ( last year )  the lads avoided

I ( Baggy ) went out with Simon Colley on Wednesday and when deciding what to go for on the Tuesday evening, I suggested the above route to Simon, he smugly said HA  ! it has been done and then brought me up to date. He then suggested the other lines on the crag and to keep things quite. Revenge is sweet !! HA I said, the others have been done ! by who he said ? by me and Andy Turner last year.  Ha ! how sweet.

So that crag is ticked, apart from one very minor, short pitch on one of the routes.


Tim Badcock managed to fit in a few hours before work today.

Sergants Gully, Parsons Nose, Parsley Fern left hand. All thin and powdery but climbable. Face Route looked in. Exposed turf frozen but anything else still very soft.