Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Hi All

We are in the mix again here in North Wales and have been since early last week. Conditions have been very good in a variety of places and look like to improve. Its the best period for a few years.

There have been new ascents, major 2nd ascents and ascents of some timely classics within the last week.

I have had many pictures and updates over the last week and my thanks goes to all those who have taken the time to send that info over to me.  I do apologise for not making really good use of this, but I must mention Dave Gary's repeat of Pete Harrisons new grade 10. Wow !! good effort. full details on Daves Blog

I will do an end of season update, so please do keep sending info etc on new routes and second ascents

Last Thursday,  Simon Panton and I delivered a lecture in Liverpool talking about the development of North Wales Winter climbing in recent years and highlighted a lot of the key players. Apparently,  Simon and I did an excellent job, well thats what we got told, maybe they were just being nice !!! so our thanks goes to all of your who made the effort to attended and support the lecture.

I am sorry to say that this post is the last blog post  for this winter.

I Hope the conditions stay and that you all manage to  get some great climbing in.

As I mentioned before, I will do an end of season update, so please do keep sending info etc on new routes and second ascents. Thanks again for all of you that support and use the blog. Sorry the blog will not going whilst we actually have a decent winter this year.

Best Wishes and keep cranking on those axes


Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Biggest News for years -Lateo X-10

I am able to give you further info on the new route that got done on Tuesday.

It came form Pete Harrison,  who many of you will know has added some quality and hard routes to the Welsh winter scene over recent years, including Wale's first grade X-10 some time back.  Well now he delivers another X-10

Thanks for Pete for sharing the info, as he had to be pushed, as he very modest with his achievements.  I just felt it was such an outstanding route and contribution then it would be a real shame not to share it.  With this in mind, this post is factual without any glam attached.

Pete is also keen to ensure the style of ascent is recorded.

Text below from Pete

The route took seven days spread over 3 winters. One of the main issues with the route was getting it into proper condition .i.e being properly rimed up.

On the first attempt yesterday I fell above the lip of the roof and, not being in the fittest condition, thought I'd blown any chance of doing it that day. Tom had a go and fell from the lip. After an hours rest I went again powered up with Rhubarb and Custards and this time hung on and kept it together. We climbed ground-up with no pre-inspection. On the second pitch Tom slipped barely 2 metres out from the belay, lowered down and went again only to slip at the same spot. He climbed the second pitch clean from there. He could have lowered the fully 2m to the belay to start again, but it doesn't make any difference to the difficulty. He still did all the difficult climbing on that pitch clean.

Couple of other things - in terms of difficulty I think it's solid at the grade. However, I can only compare to other routes I've climbed or attempted. 

Lateo   X 10   ***  85m

An independent winter-only line tackling the compelling 'come-and-climb' me crack leading directly to and out of the sentry box belay of Stratosphere (E3), before joining Travesty at that route's mid-height steepening. The first pitch blasts directly up through the steepest part of the cliff giving a brilliant strength-draining pitch. The second pitch is more technical and no pushover. A route of the highest quality, solid at the grade.

22m  10  Climb turfy ledges and a corner until below the roof. Arrange gear and move across rightwards to a ledge at the top of the rock fin. A stein-pull gains the lip of the bulge/roof where things quickly turn difficult. Make hard moves leftwards along the lip to reach a vertical crack which is followed to a belay in the sentry box. Sustained.

43m  7  The diagonal crack which leads out leftwards from the top of the sentry box isn't as easy as it looks. Join Travesty just below the mid-height chimney and climb this and the gully above to a belay below the final steep wall.

20m  5  The steep final wall of Travesty.
Pete Harrison, Tom Livingstone 15.1.13

Photo by T Livingston

Photo by Rob Pitt

Topo showing the line. ( Topo by Pete Harrison )


Have been out on the hill today and conditions for rocky mixed climbing are mint, actually perfect. In addition to this, there will be plenty of turfy/rocky mixed routes in perfect nick also.


Good covering of dry rime, which is easy to brush off.
Dry cracks
Solid turf
Nothing covered in vast amounts of snow
No snow ploughs to get to routes
Nice and cold
Freezing level at 200-300 ms
Top that with no wind today

Will get some pics and more info on later, just got  back off hill. See how kind I am !!!

Also, if your in the Liverpool area this Thursday evening then you might decide to come and have a listen to Simon and I talking about Welsh Winter Climbing

Check out for details

Arch Gully on Glyder Fach was done in great nick and people reported great winter sport on Bristley Ridge , see Dodie Palmer in photo below.

Few pics for today

Craig Daffyd and Black Ladders

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Oh its big news

More details to follow, but today a major new route was put up and its a beauty and its hard. A fantastic effort

On top of that, its been a cracking day and now that we have some good weather we can see that conditions for mixed are very good higher up.

For a summary of  conditions you might as well go to here, let the fun begin, hip hip hooray

Its come back for the mixed action and building for the rest.

Monday, 14 January 2013

This morning it was warmer than they had forecasted. It was one of those damp, cloudy days and the snow level had risen to about 700m. Even then it did not look like there was a good covering. The crags at around 700-800m in Ogwen were black, to cloudy to see higher up. But for example,  Tryfan was bare.

I took a few snaps of Ogwen this afternoon, but an hour later it started to rain and hail at sea level. So those pics are out of date. We will have to wait and see what the morning brings. But it is a good sign and the warmer temps this morning will have helped soften Sunday's snow up, ready for it to freeze.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Snow is falling

This afternoon the snow decided to show its face. We had flurries down at 100m but that did not stick. However, what I can see of the hills from my house, the lower 200-600m  is they look a lot more white than this morning.

I would think higher up, the ground will have more snow cover. This will hopefully mean that the mixed routes should hopefully be worth looking at.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Shaping up nicely

With cold temps for the last few days , a clear sky this evening and cold weather forecast for Sunday, this has given the ground time to freeze before any snow comes are way. Hopefully this will happen Sunday eve/Monday.

No snow on the hills today, all very green.

No snow on the hills today, all very green.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday 11th jan

It has been a cracking day here, but no snow has arrived ( 6.00 pm )

Reports from the tops is that the ground is not really that frozen, often boggy and soft in many places.

However, verglass around

Might get snow overnight and it looks cold for a few days

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Could this be the beginning ?

Is this the beginning of the next spell of winter. It does look some what promising looking at the forecasts.

Time will tell.

Time to get that winter kit sorted.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mountain Equipment Randonne Glove

Well, this weather is certainly not what we wished for or what the long term forecast was suggesting back in the Autumn.  Quite frustrating that it’s often wet and windy on top of no climbing conditions.

I keep on seeing the same familiar faces at the climbing wall and out on the bike. There should be a few fit folk out there if winter does come back.

In the meantime I will take this opportunity to highlight a product that I have been using for the last 6 years or so.  The Mountain Equipment Randonee Glove. First time on this blog for a product placement.

Climbers and walkers can spend much time hunting out the best glove for the job in hand ! One thing to remember is that no one glove does everything. However, I personally feel that this glove comes close, as I have found it to be a great for climbing, walking, mountaineering and skiing.  

To back this up, it is the only glove I have worn since I first got my hands on a pair all those years ago. I have used them to climb ice, mixed and turf, skiing, whilst winter mountaineering and while working in cold and snowy conditions. They have been used In the Alps, Scotland, Wales and Alaska.

They are not perfect, but what is. I am after a glove, which is snug fitting, I am able to climb in them without my hands freezing within minutes, are dexterous, do not have all that spare room at the finger ends and have some good warmth properties when damp and wet. I tend to only use gortex gloves when its going to be wet, as I feel, gortex gloves are offer less dexterity than these, and the gortex is not long lasting. 

The key to this gloves success is firstly,  the snug fitting and secondly that good old material fibre pile. How many modern gloves use fibre pile as a liner. Well they should, this liner is well suited to climbing as once its wet/damp it still retains lots of warmth compared to other material often used to line glove.  If it gets really wet then just wring them out. 

The only possible downside to these gloves is that they are not quite long enough for everyone’s tastes.  I use mine with a thermal that has thumb loops, before that my fleece jumper/jackets had thumb loops that I used. By using thumb loops then that keeps your wrist area covered which in actual fact is very important in keeping those fingers warm.  Or use some wrist warmers? Not seen these, then there is a picture below

They are not going to keep your hands as warm as some big chunky glove, but they are not designed for this. However, they will do a very good job at keeping your hands a lot warmer than you may think. Many gloves have poor linings offering very little warmth if you get them damp or are not moving.
The palms and fingers actually take quite a bashing, mine have been used on many a mixed and turfy route and hold up well.  You will get the obvious signs of wear on fingertips if they are used to scrape / rub snow off rock looking for gear placements. Even then applying basic glue will do the job when they start showing signs of wear.
So that is my take on these gloves. I am happy to say even if you buy a pair of these and they are not what you really wish for as a winter climbing glove, you will not have wasted your pennies. They will be a very useful glove to have on the hill. That I am certain of.
If deciding to buy some try and get them so they feel snug, even a little to small feeling as the fibre pile will mould around your fingers and hand and will give you a really good fit.

 What do the reviews have to say ?
Exceptionally warm and water-resistant soft-shell glove.

There is hardly an environment or situation where these gloves do not excel
This is a super warm version of something like Terra Nova's Guide Glove or Rab's Baltoro and easily warm enough for winter climbing in Scotland, Wales, Alps and even Alaska. It’s also great for skiing and winter mountaineering. Although not fully waterproof, its tough and water resistant outer will keep damp snow and melt water at bay, and it can be wrung dry in horrendous conditions and should keep on working when your climbing partner has donned their spare emergency pair.
Schoeller® Dry Skin® Extreme with 3xDry finish is water resistant, exceptionally breathable and hard-wearing.
Pittards® Amortan Goatskin leather palm.
Fibre pile lining throughout is warm even when damp and quick to dry.
Shorter sports style cuff fits easily under outer layers.
Precurved, anatomic construction with roll-tip fingers for a precise and comfortable fit.
Soft nose wipe area on upper thumb. Hypalon® reinforce velcro cuff closure.


I just cannot get enough of these. 
The red ones are 4 years old.

Showing the two types of palms available

The fibre pile ( warm )  liner and you will be amazed at how such a good fit and deterous they are if  they suit your hands. These are not as bulky as they look in the photo.

In use and before those pesky leashes went to the scrap box. 

The picture below shows the only possible fault I can find with them. If your jacket is short in the sleeves and your thermal/jumper/jacket  is not long enough you can get a gap on your wrist. However,  sort this out and they are fantastic gloves. 

The positive side to this, is you do not have a big cuff on the glove to deal with and no bungee cord as a velcro strap closes them. So that is another positive point of these gloves.  It makes them less bulky and less restrictive.

Talking of keeping the wrists warm and hence helping out the fingers staying warm. Have you ever tried wrist warmers ?  They are tops and make a big difference.

These are a picture of the ones I used before using a thermal / fleece jacket with thumb loops.