Showing posts from 2009
I'm almost free from my family commitments so I'm hoping that the conditions remain long enough for me to have some fun in the white stuff!

I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i bawb.



13/12/09 Yr Elan

I had the smaller group today and we decided to go up Yr Elan (962m). We covered navigation and some confidence roping in descent. It wasn't so windy today compared to yesterday but it was still a lovely day with a fair bit of wind chill. The photo is of the group with the summit of Yr Elan in the background.

12/12/09 D of E Staff Training

I was working with a group from London this weekend who ran the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in various schools and organisations around the Richmond area.

I went up Carnedd Dafydd (1044m) from Gerlan with a group of 7 and looked at group management and navigation whilst George took a small group of 4 up Crib Lem to look at security on steep ground and rope work.

Although it was dry the conditions were testing as the wind chill was calculated as about -27 degrees C. The ground was frozen from about 800m and the snow patches were solid.

A busy week at the Beacon

Had a busy week at the Beacon this week it would have been even busier if it wasn't for the atrocious weather over the last couple of weeks. 'How could the weather effect an indoor climbing wall' I hear you say, well simple - you have to get there in the first place. I had a Climbing Wall Assessment scheduled to take place on Wednesday but the candidates, who were all from the same centre failed to negotiate the floods so they have had to postpone the assessment until Monday. The remainder of the week was spent running an in house staff training course at the local leisure centre climbing wall and in the evening I was running a NICAS induction course for local instructors. I did manage to run a CWA assessment yesterday even though the weather was grim everyone turned up for the course and they all passed. We were running another CWA assessment today but Leo (our new centre manager) was directing that one so that I could have a day off to shovel 2 tonnes of gravel - joy! Ni…

Climbing Wall Award Training Course

I ran a CWA training course over the weekend for 5 candidates at the Beacon Climbing Centre. We covered subjects such as warming up, games, group management and belaying techniques we also covered leading and everyone took part in the Abseil and Top Rope Module on the Sunday afternoon.

The Lake District.

I've just returned from the Lake District after 5 days of working with shop staff from all over the UK promoting Haglofs products. The work was generally guiding and instructing individuals on the crags and mountains of the Lake District and giving them an adventurous day out as well as trying out some Haglofs products. I was working with James Thacker and the boys from G2 from Aviemoreall week. We had a great time and the weather was on our side for most of the week.

The week worked out like this:

Day 1: Dow Crag (Giant's Crawl - pic5)
Day 2: Raven Crag (Middlefell Buttress - pic4)
Day 3: Old Man of Coniston (navigation and rope work day - pic3)
Day 4: Raven Crag (Middlefell Butttress and Holly-tree Traverse - pic2)
Day 5: Pavey Ark (Crescent Climb - pic1)

ML Assessment at Plas y Brenin

I had a couple of days working at Plas y Brenin this weekend. The weather was very changeable with high winds and heavy showers on the first day. Today was a lot better with only the occasional shower but it certainly felt cold on the top of Glyder Fawr with excellent views by the time we reached the top. The first day was spent looking at navigation skills in Cwm Dyli and the ridge leading up to Lliwedd (this is the bit that most Snowdon Horseshoers miss and is the true start/end). Today was a mountain day looking at group management on difficult terrain on Seniors Ridge with a descent down Y Gribin.

ML Ropework

Worked for the Outdoor Partnership today and looked at ML ropework with 2 clients both of which are looking at putting themselves forward for assessment very soon. We went over to Clogwyn y Tarw in Cwm Idwal and worked over on the right and central parts to cover subjects such as direct and indirect belays, anchor types, lowering and abseiling techniques as well as confidence roping. The photo is of Arwyn being lowered in a Thompson Knot by Mike from a direct anchor.

Antur 'Stiniog Mentoring

Martin and Marc with Moel Siabod in the background.
Martin a Marc gyda Moel Siabod yn y cefndir.

Antur 'Stiniog Mentoring

Diwrnod da heddiw gyda 4 yn troi i fyny o Antur 'Stiniog. Aethom i ardal y Moelwyn o fewn tafliad carreg o Cnicht. Yn ystod y diwrnod oeddwn yn trafod ac ymarfer llywio yn y mynyddoedd gyda map 1:25,000 a gwaith rhaff i gerddwyr mynydd. Digon i gadw ni fynd am fwy na diwrnod felly mwy o ymarfer fory.

Had a great day today with a day spent mentoring 4 members of Antur 'Stiniog. We went to the Moelwyn area around Cnicht. We discussed and practiced navigation using a 1:25,000 map and rope work for mountain walkers. Plenty to keep us going for more than a day so more of the same tomorrow.
(l-r) Martin, Gareth, Marc and Rommee.

Dinas Mot

A cold and windy day in the pass today with the sun tantalisingly close just down the valley. It was very quiet today with only 3 other parties on the crag. We did Western Slabs VS and The Cracks HS (the photo is of pitch 4 -The Cracks).

Mentoring with Antur 'Stiniog

We had a very constructive day today looking at navigation and rope work. The weather didn't help much as it was absolutely beautiful all day! We just looked at navigating with the only a 1:25,000 map today in order to consolidate ground to map and map to ground interpretation and we went through the basics of pacing and timing. The rope work was a matter of running through the syllabus requirements of the Mountain Leader Award as the guys with me today will be going for their assessment in the next few months. The photo l -r is of Martin and Gareth with Afon Lledr and Yr Wyddfa in the background.

AMI Navigation Workshop

Well, the weather forecast was wrong again today. We had a dry day again today with the rain not arriving until 3.00 - 3.30. We went to the area behind the Pen y Gwryd Hotel - Moel Perfedd and the southern flank of Glyder Fawr to look at navigation and to discuss teaching and navigation techniques. I was so busy I didn't have a chance to take a photo - well I forgot really! Thanks to the 5 who turned out to the workshop to make it an interesting and thought provoking event.

Diolch yn fawr a hwyl am y tro.

Association of Mountaineering Instructors - Trainee Workshop

Had a great day today with 5 trainees on Tryfan. I was expecting a bit of a wet day but it was OK all day with very little wind and we even saw the sun at times. We looked at short roping techniques in ascent on Tryfan Bach and North Buttress Variant (2) and in descent on Little and North Gullies (1).

(l - r) Nat, Andy, Steve, Tom and Chris on North Buttress Variant.

Security on steep ground and Ropework

We carried on with the Mock ML Assessment weekend today and looked at security on steep ground and ropework. We decided to work in Cwm Idwal and went up the gully beyond Homicide Wall and up on to Seniors Ridge and then down the obvious gully to the base of Suicide Wall. We then went down to Clogwyn y Tarw to do some ropework up the right hand side. The weather was damp for most of the day but not enough to get us too wet but this produced the longest lasting rainbow I have ever seen over Llyn Idwal (it must have lasted 2 hours) and then by 2 o'clock the weather changed to be more persistent rain and really strong winds.

The photo is of me on Seniors Ridge (thanks for the photo Matt).

Mock ML Assessment

We had a fresh and breezy day up in the Moelwynion today covering navigation skills and avoiding bogs! We had a brief period of rain as a shower passed but other than that we had a dry day. Visibility was very good (unfortunately!) so we covered micro navigation and relocation skills. The photo is of (from left to right) Paul, John, Neil, Matt and Iestyn.


Had a hot sunny day at Tremadog today with Dei and Dominic. We climbed Cnychwr (S) and Oberon (S) with a drink and a chip butty in between. The picture is of Dominic on the second pitch of Oberon.

Mynydd Mawr - 698m

A nice afternoon with the kids.

First Aid

I renewed my First Aid Certificate this weekend with Active First Aid Training. The course was run by Kath Wills at Canolfan Deilen Las (Craflwyn near Beddgelert) over two days. The course was very informative, practical and above all enjoyable. If anyone is interested in First Aid or needs to re validate their existing certificate I would certainly recommend one of Kath's courses. For more info you can visit her web site at Active First Aid Training .

Moel Eilio - 726m


AMI Trainee Workshop

It was a bit damp this morning but it turned out to be a lovely day and everyone seemed to get what they wanted out of the day. We started out by following the slabs above Homicide Wall and progressed up to CwmCneifion to do the CneifionArete we then descended the Gribin and Clogwyn y Tarw down to the CwmIdwal path.

The photo is of (left to right) Ellis, Simon, Tristan, Andy and Neil at the base of Clogwyn y Tarw.

AMI Trainee Workshop

I was surprised how quiet it was at Tremadog today being that it was a Saturday in August and a good weather forecast. Even though the forecast was good for today I was disappointed to find it raining from the Pen y Gwryd down to Beddgelert but by the time we got to Eric's Cafe it was looking a lot more promising and the sun came out by lunch time.
I was running an open workshop for 5 trainee members of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors today. The consensus what that teaching multi pitch climbing and short roping would be in order so it was Tremadog today and the plan is to go to CwmIdwal tomorrow.

The photo is of the first pitch of Borneo VS 4c.

SPA Mock Assessment

I was working for the Outdoor Partnership again this weekend. I had one client on Saturday, we visited Pont y Gromlech in the morning and Lion Rock in the afternoon. Sunday was over at Willie's Crag in Ogwen (Photo) with two clients. The weather was great apart from some drizzle on Sunday afternoon which seemed to kick off the midges with a vengeance.

Sport climbing at Le Joux

Had a couple of days climbing at Le Joux near Argentiere dodging the rain and storms.

Mont Blanc

Had a grim time on Mont Blanc today. Got as far as the Dome du Gouter (4304m) but the wind, spindrift and very cold conditions beat us (we estimated that with windchill the temperature was at least -30C). Not many teams made it to the top today. As usual it was the Grand Couloir that was the most worrying with a lot of stonefall.

Petit Aiguille Vert

A great day and not too busy. Like a lot of others we turned back from about 3/4 of the way up due to steep and icy conditions. It seemed a lot steeper than the last time I was up and a lot less snow. Another day.

Aiguille du Tour (South Summit) 3542m

We had an early start today from the Albert Premier hut (4.30am - well I suppose it wasn't that early) and made it to the summit by about 8.30. The weather was a bit cloudy and it didn't freeze at the hut last night which made the going difficult. We went via the Col Superior du Tour - the snow was soft all the way. The picture is of me and Dave on the summit this morning.

Gold DofE

I've just finished working on a Gold DofE for a school from the Wirral. As usual the students were taking part in a 4 day expedition based in Snowdonia. I was manning checkpoints by Llyn Cowlyd on Friday; Saturday was a very wet and misty checkpoint on the top of Foel Goch (down the ridge from Glyder Fach, Sunday was located at the col of Bwlch Cwm Llan and today was a rather damp Bwlch Maesgwm below Moel Cynghorion. The above photo is of a damp dog - Barti Ddu at Bwlch Maesgwm

SPA Re Assessment

It was a very warm day today over in the Llanberis Pass. I was working for Blue Peris running an SPA reassessment for one candidate. Everything went well and he passed with very few problems. I was lucky enough to have a group of students for my candidate to use as real students. All the kids had a good time and were occupied at all times as opposed to the other group that were using Pont y Gromlech - there were 18 kids in the group and the instructors were operating ONE rope, not very inspiring.

SPA Pre Assessment

I was working for the Outdoor Partnership on Sunday. We went over to the Ogwen Valley and spent the day looking at Single Pitch issues and techniques with 2 clients.

ML Refresher

We ventured out on to Moel Siabod today to do some micro navigation using 1:25,000 maps. The weather was OK to start with but not not long after lunch the heavens opened and the wind picked up to give us some very unpleasant conditions and a high wind chill factor. All the chaps on the course were enthusiastic and were keen to learn.

An easy day on the slate

After yesterday's big day we decided to take it easy and have a morning on the slate above Llanberis. We went to an area called Dali's Hole and climbed a load of sport routes between F5a and F6a+. I had a bit of a scare on the 6a+ as I got to the crux just as the rain started so I had to put a lot of trust in the wet holds. As usual, the rain stopped just as we were leaving.

The photo is of Andy on a F5b.

Western Gully - Ysgolion Duon, Severe!

A lot of this.

With some of this.Had a long and challenging day out on Western Gully - 300m, Ysgolion Duon (The Black Ladders). The guide book suggests a grade of severe and 3 stars. Well I think I'll reserve judgement until next winter as I suspect that this route is a lot better in winter conditions when everything is frozen and covered in snow. All I can say is that we had an adventure and that I won't do it again unless there's a drought. There was a lot of thrashing and steep vegetation for a little bit of good climbing so we weren't impresses with the 3 star rating or the grade.

West Rib HVS 4b,5a,4c

Andy on the top pitch

Top of the second pitch

Single Pitch Award Training Course

I couldn't have wished for better weather to run the SPA training course this weekend it was a bit too hot though!

I was running the course for 3 people on behalf of the Beacon Climbing Centre with Pete Marshall helping me out. We visited Lion Rock and The Upper Tier of Pant Ifan during the 2 day course. All the candidates were pretty much up to speed with things which made life a lot easier but they did bleed us dry for information. The picture was taken below the Upper Tier of Pant Ifan with l-r: Bruce, Miles, Ben and Pete.

Cheers for now.

A Sunny Day on Glyder Fach

What a day! It was another Association of Mountaineering Instructors trainee workshop and the weather was fantastic. The aim of the day was to cover scrambling with the use of a rope so we ventured on to the main cliff of Glyder Fach and made an ascent of East Gully Rib. There were quite a few people rock climbing on routes such as Hawk Nest Arete and Lots Wife.

Snowdonia was heaving today with parked cars in the most ridicules and dangerous places. We made the most of the day and kept well clear of the crowds. A good day was had by all.
The photo is of Alice and Alasdair about half way up the route. For more photo's click the link.

Back at last!!

Well, its been a traumatic 7 weeks as I've hand my arm in a sling with a broken collar bone. I won't elaborate but all I will say is that involved a motorbike, tarmac and me!

I'm running an Association of Mountaineering Instructors trainee workshop this weekend and as it was a Bank Holiday we opted to get away from the crowds on Bochlwyd Buttress and, thankfully, everything worked out really well and the weather remained dry with some sun thrown in towards the afternoon. We managed to hang around on ropes for most of the day to do some Improvised Rescue techniques before the rain arrived just as we arrived back at the cars.

The photo is of (from left) Mike S, Mike H, Thom, Alice and Alasdair. For more pictures follow the link.

Llanberis today


Gold DofE Training

I worked down by Dolgellau last week with a group from Birkenhead School who were training for their Gold DofE. The weather was a bit damp (and cold at times) but we managed to stay mostly dry apart from some wet feet due to poor footwear. The two days I was out with the group were quite long days out with about 15-20kms covered each day. The students were very able and didn't complain at all.

The above is a shot of the group on day two with the Rhinogau in the background.

Great Western VS. Pant Ifan

It was hard to believe that there were so few people at Tremadog today. The weather was even better than yesterday with a slight breeze to take the edge off the strong sun.

We decided to go for Great Western (VS 4b,4b,4c,-,4b) today and found it to be excellent, although I have done it before many, many years ago, so long ago, in fact, that I couldn't remember any of the route. The whole route has excellent gear just when you need it as we found the 4b pitches just as hard as the 4c pitch. All in all a brilliant day.

The photo is of Andy on the second pitch. Follow the link for more photos.

Brant VS 4c. Clogwyn y Grochan

The weather is absolutely beautiful at the moment so we couldn't resist a trip up the Llanberis Pass for a quick route. We decided on Brant and had a great time with a steady but warm wind blowing it didn't feel like mid March at all and the views were stunning. I was glad that we managed to get out during the week as I think the weekend will be busy if this weather carried on like it is.

The photo is of Andy on the first pitch of Brant this morning. Here's a link to more photos of Brant.

Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Had a quick walk up Snowdon with BartiDdu (my dog!) this morning and was surprised as to how much snow and ice there was around. Even though the temperature was a couple of degrees above freezing on the summit there was a substantial amount of snow around with a base of hard ice. The wind was fresh from the south with the damp mist down to about 600m.

On my way down this morning I passed quite a lot of people on their way up (I presume) to the summit I was surprised as to how ill equipped some people were considering the conditions. I passed one party in trainers and jeans and had a chat with them when they asked me what it was like on the top. I just hope they heeded my warning and advice and only went as far as Clogwyn Station as this was were the snow started. Some people just seem to have a death wish and have no compulsion to prepare for the mountains by checking the mountain weather reports and ensuring they are properly equipped and know how to use that equipment.

OK, I'll ge…

AMI Workshop - Mountain Day

We had a constructive day looking at and practicing short roping techniques up in Cwm Idwal today. We worked our way up the right hand side of the Idwal Slabs up to Seniors Ridge and then down to the normal descent off the Slabs. We then went up the descent and over the top of the Slabs through some fantastic rock scenery back to the start point.

The weather was changeable to say the least with strong winds, hail, snow and a little bit of sun thrown in for good measure with freezing level hovering around 500 - 600m.

The above photo is of Geordie, Simon, Will and Alun at the start of the scramble in Cwm Idwal.

AMI Workshop

It was such a nice start to the day with blue skies and hardly any wind. The team decided that they wanted to look at Improvised Rescue and a bit of Multi Pitch Climbing. It was hard to believe that the forecast was for rain and wind by mid afternoon but we decided to go down to Tremadog in order to get some shelter in the trees.

It started out dry and settled but, sure enough, by 11 o'clock the rain, wind and mist descended upon us and the remainder of the day was cold and damp but not as wet as I had anticipated. We did what we could and everyone seemed to be happy with the day.

Mountain day tomorrow!