Posts

Showing posts from 2010

ML Training Module 4 day 2

Image
It was short day today as it was the last day of the course and we had to sort out the paperwork back at Plas y Brenin. It was another lovely day with a ground frost early on. The plan was to do some more micro navigation to the SE of the Pen y Gwryd towards Carnedd y Cribau. The day went well with plenty of interesting features to navigate to. The interview sessions went well back at the centre and everyone seems to be very positive about the course.

ML Training Module 4

Image
I was out on the last module of the Mountain Leader training course over the weekend. The intention was to camp but we had to make a decision earlier in the week to postpone that element of the syllabus due to the wintry weather. As it turned out it wasn't that bad but the decision had been made by then. We went over the the Moelwynion to carry out a micro navigation exercise (day and night) from Gelli Iago and made a circular route passing Llyn Biswail, Llyn yr Adar, Llynnau'r Cwn and then down passed Llyn Llagi. The weather was lovely and we returned to the car park by about 8 o'clock in the evening having ticked all the boxes.

Black Ice and ML Rope work

Image
We needed to cover the emergency use of a rope today so I decided the best place to escape the snow and ice was Tremadog. The roads were a bit sporty today with quite a lot of black ice about but it was just about OK by the time we left Plas y Brenin. We went over the the Belshazar area and the descent gully to do some practical work in ascent as well as descent. By the time the sun had worked its magic it was almost tropical!!

The photo is of Meredydd demonstrating a South African abseil. We were particularly careful not to pull the ropes down at the bottom of the abseil so as not to damage the trees.

ML Training Module 3

Image
The weather seems to be against us for this course. As it is supposed to be a summer training award the content of the course has been compromised a little to accommodate the wintry conditions. We were going to conduct the camp this weekend but it was decide that we should postpone this aspect of the syllabus until next weekend in the hope of having more appropriate conditions.

Today we covered topics such as hazards, rescue, improvised carries and preparation for ropes work. The photo is of the group carrying out a search exercises in the forest by Plas y Brenin.

High ropes course training

Image
I was over in Bedfordshire today to run a training course for instructors on a high ropes course at an urban outdoor centre. We covered subjects such as care and maintenance of equipment ropes course construction and inspection and also looked at the practical application of safety techniques and group management. It was too cold for me to take a photo so this one is from a centre in Wales. Boy was it cold!

European Ropes Course Association.

Image
I attended the ERCA conference during Wednesday and Thursday. It was a very successful and useful couple of days looking at various aspects of construction and operation of high ropes courses. It was also great to catch up with friends.
Image
Crib Goch and Snowdon (in the mist)

A winter wonderland

Image
I never thought we'd be sledging in Snowdonia in November. Fantastic but I hope this is the start as there isn't much of a base yet and the ice is only just starting to form.

Carnedd y Filiast (821m)

Well, winter is upon us here in Snowdonia so I couldn't resist a quick trip up Carnedd y Filiast with my dog (Barti) this morning. The winds have been quite strong so there wasn't that much snow about but the new stuff that fell this morning was falling as large and small graupel. Freezing level was about 300m with a cold northerly wind but nothing like as bad as the Met Office forecast suggested. I forgot my camera today so you'll have to make do without some eye candy I'm afraid.

NICAS Workshop

Image
I drove over to the Manchester Climbing Centre with Leo and Nick from the Beacon today to participate in the National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme workshop. The day was set up for course directors and technical advisor's involved in the delivery or support of the scheme. It was well attended and we found it to be a very useful day.

ML Training Module 2

Image
I was working on the second module of a Mountain Leader (summer!) training course this weekend at Plas y Brenin. The Saturday was a local day talking about issues such as weather, the role of a Mountain Leader and access and the environment.

Today we wondered up Glyder Fawr (1001m!) from Pen y Pass to look at a mountain day from the perspective of a mountain leader. We looked at group management, navigation with 1:50,000 maps and route finding.

The photo is of the team below the summit of Glyder Fawr in very wintry and cold conditions. For more photos of the day check out my flickr page - Click here
Image
BBC Cymru/Wales called round today for an interview regarding the cutbacks in local government budgets and the implications for outdoor education centres in the local community who are in the direct firing line. As usual, politicians are looking at easy targets to save money rather than looking at the long term proven benefits to the local economy as well as the huge benefits to young people in term of educational advantages and life skills.

They should look a bit closer to home if they'd like to save money - are MP really worth £66,000 plus perks?

Bryn Engan

Image
I was out with the kids today and decided to go for a walk in the forest across the way from Plas y Brenin. We didn't go very far but had some spectacular views of Snowdon (looking cold with a dusting of snow) and found loads of bracket fungus.

In-house and CWA Assessment

Image
I went down to London on Wednesday to carry out some in-house assessments for an Independent school on their outdoor climbing and abseiling towers. It was lucky they had floodlights as we didn't stop until about 6 o'clock. The next day I assessed 3 staff (1 from a different independent schools) for their Climbing Wall Award. We went over the Craggy Island to conduct the main Climbing Wall Award assessment and the school's tower for the abseil and top roping module. All successfully completed both aspects of the assessment. The usual challenge was to get home without incident and to negotiate the M25 and the M6/5 junction in good time - five and a half hours later I was home in windy Snowdonia.

ML Training Day 2

Image
There was snow down to about 600m today so I decided that we should stay low as the award is a summer award. We went up the direct route up to Cwm Cneifion and then up Seniors Ridge until we turned back due to the wintry conditions. We descended the North West Face Route back to Cwm Idwal. The photo is of the high point on Seniors Ridge looking towards Y Garn. The next module will be in two weeks time.

Modular ML Training

Image
I started a modular mountain leader training course through the medium of Welsh today for Plas y Brenin. The course will be run over 4 weekends between now and Christmas. We covered micro navigation today which set the foundations for more challenging terrain tomorrow and the coming weeks. We were working over on the path to Crafnant today to the side of Crimpiau and managed to stay dry all day with fantastic views over to Snowdon.

Ropes Course Training

Image
I was over in Bedford yesterday running a High Ropes instructor training session at a local outdoor centre. It was a good turn out with 11 people on the course. The only problem was the journey home with accidents, roadworks and weather all conspiring against me. Makes me grateful that I live in Snowdonia.

AMI Trainee workshop - Ireland

Image
I was working over in Ireland again this weekend to run a teaching to lead and improvised rescue workshop. Baggy came with me to help with the ratios but unfortunately there were only 3 on the weekend which worked out really well for trainee MIA candidates Rob, Ciaran and Angela.

We went over to Dalkey Quarry (Dublin) for both days and considering the weather forecast was supposed to be horrible it turned out lovely on the first day and just about OK but a bit damp on the second. The trainees were really keen and my thanks goes to Rob and Debbie for putting us up, feeding us and making us feel welcome over the weekend.

Rock Climbing Course- Day 3

Image
This was the big day for Andy and Gwen as this was to be their first multi pitch lead. We went over to the Idwal Slabs and had a constructive and successful time on Hope (VDiff) and the first couple of pitches of Ordinary Route (Diff). It was a fantastic day all round with very few people out climbing and dry weather.

Rock Climbing Course- Day 2

Image
We needed to look at the practical application of multi pitch climbing today so we went over to Glogwyn yr Oen above Blaenau Ffestiniog and had a great time. Good weather and not too many people. We covered stance organisation, rope work, belaying, problem solving and fall factors amongst other things. We climbed Slick and Chic (both VDiff).

Rock Climbing Course - Snowdonia

Image
I worked on the first day of a 3 day rock climbing course today with Gwen and Andy. We went over to Tremadog and the Upper Tier of Pant Ifan to escape the heavy drizzle of the mountain crags. We covered skills such as setting up a single pitch crag as well as route and equipment choice, anchor selection, coaching movement skills and belaying. We managed to escape most of the showers until mid afternoon but they didn't amount to much.

SPA Reassessment

Image
I was out with Steve today to reassess his SPA personal climbing day. We went to Tremadog and climbed Oberon (VD) and Xmas Curry (S). Everything went well and he passes no problem. It was nice and quiet on the crags today and the weather was something special - lets hope it lasts the week.

Short Roping (Scrambling) on Tryfan

Image
The weather turned out to be just perfect for an Association of Mountaineering Instructors trainee workshop. The plan was to cover short roping with trainee candidates who are progressing through their Mountain Instructors Award qualification. We elected to go onto the east face of Tryfan and made an ascent of Bastow Buttress Variant (2/3) and then we descended North Gully and Little Gully (1/2). We had a constructive time and managed to have most of the crag to ourselves. The team consisted of (left to right) Pete, Steve and Matt.

Coventry

Image
I drove to Coventry today to carry out some technical advice work for a private company. It was a long day but very constructive. The journey, on the other hand, was horrendous. I am constantly reminded how poorly maintained our road are and how ridiculous the constant roadwork are.

It's the mushroom season

Image
I Managed to dodge the showers today and saw loads of fungi. Here are just a few: Greasy Tough Shank var. asema
Slippery Jack Common Earthball
Fly Agaric

NICAS Induction at the Beacon

I ran a NICAS (National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme) Induction workshop at the Beacon tonight for staff from a local outdoor education centre. This workshop brings instructors up to speed with the requirements of the scheme and allows them to deliver the scheme at other climbing walls who have Awarding or Primary Centre status. The workshop lasted about 4 hours with about an hour and a half of chatting and a presentation and the remainder of the time going through some practical aspects of delivering NICAS and discussing issues such as instructional techniques and standards.

Snowdon

Image
Well, the weather forecast didn't work out quite the way it was supposed to. It was a pretty horrible day on Snowdon with heavy rain and a very autumnal feel in the air. I was working for the Adventure Activity Licensing Authority today checking out a provider who had a group of school kids on Snowdon. It was nice to be out today regardless of the weather as I've been writing reports and decorating for most of the week. The route took me and Barti up the PYG track and down the Miners. At least the weather kept the crowds at bay and it was a very pleasant walk back to Pen y Pass before my 4 hour parking ticket expired. £5 for 4 hours and £10 for the day! Daylight robbery...........

AMI Trainee workshop - Ireland

Image
I was working over in Ireland again this weekend. The workshop was based at the IMC club hut at Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains. I had 4 trainee members who were keen to cover the many issues surrounding short roping in ascent and descent. We elected to go over to Glenmalure to find some suitably steep ground. The photo is of Angela, Mark, Rob and Ciaran.

Outdoor Partnership - Plas y Brenin

Image
I was working for the Outdoor Partnership yesterday at Plas y Brenin running workshops for the open day to celebrate 5 years of being in existence. I was running a navigation workshop for mountain leaders in the heavy morning showers and then a ropework for mountain leaders in the afternoon which was mostly dry but warm. It was a fantastic turn out with more than 130 people turning up from clubs and organisation across North Wales.

AMI Teaching Climbing Day

Image
I was working for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors again today mentoring trainee members who are looking at doing their MIA assessment. We had a day on the Milestone Buttress today looking at the teaching of climbing. Joe was joined by Mike today to look at the practical aspects and progression of teaching students the art of climbing. The weather was rather dark and wet by the end of the morning but cleared to give a warm (ish) afternoon with a strong wind.

AMI Trainee workshop

Image
I was working for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors today looking at teaching lead climbing and climbing in parallel. I was joined for the day by John and Joe and we managed to dodge most of the showers but what little rain we had wasn't enough to wet us. All in all a successful and dry day with Xmas Curry and the first pitch of Cnychwr and the second pitch of Rio being climbed as a part of the day.

Snowdon

Image
Had a great day on Snowdon today but the crowds were beyond belief. As my eldest hadn't been up Snowdon before we thought the weather was just about ok for a try. Apart for the cloud from about 650m and poor visibility to the top the conditions were just about perfect - not too hot and not too cold. We made it up to the summit in about two and a quarter hours. I think I'll stick to Snowdon when the cafe is closed for the season to avoid the circus from now on.

Milestone Buttress

Image
With the weather supposed to improve in the afternoon Garmon and myself decided to go rock climbing with a view to climbing a route on the Idwal Slabs. As we drove up NantFfrancon in the car it looked really damp and overcast with spots of rain on the windscreen so we opted for the Milestone Buttress which looked like a better alternative and a bit brighter. We climbed Pulpit Route (VDiff) which was mostly dry if you chose your foot holds carefully!

Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris

Image
Due to the weather being a bit overcast and undecided me and the boys went for a long walk around both Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris. It's a great poor/wet weather alternative with great views from the Dinorwig quarry. Start and finish in Llanberis with a distance of about 8.5 miles (14.5kms) and a total ascent of just over 400m.

Carnedd y Filiast (821m)

Image
The weather was a bit unsure of itself today with bright, sunny weather down at the coast but a bit overcast and windy in the mountains. Me and the boys decided to venture up Carnedd y Filiast as they had never been up this peak before but if the wind was too strong we would only go as far as y Fronllwyd (the NW shoulder) @ 721m. As it happened, the wind was OK and quite warm and we found a lot of shelter on the north side and we were rewarded with some fantastic views into the mountains as well as down to the coast.

Need inspiration?

This short film has been doing the rounds for the last few month but still puts me in a happy place - nice routes and perfect conditions. I hope it does the same for you. Click the title to watch the film.

Activity Inspection

Image
I was over on Holy Island (off the coast of Anglesey) today checking out a coasteering activity on behalf of the Licensing Authority. As you can see from the photo, it was a glorious day and I reluctantly headed back to the murk and gloom of the mainland at lunch time in order to write the report.

Scrambling on a damp Tryfan

Image
I was joined by Andy again today for an advanced scrambling day on Tryfan. The weather forecast was for damp conditions today and boy was it damp. With the mountain in such a condition we elected to go up Little Gully and North Gully and then descend South Gully. We had a very constructive day despite the weather although it wasn't enough to soak us but it was enough to make the routes a bit tricky. We did have tantalising glimpses of blue sky a number of times but they didn't amount to anything and it drizzled just about all day. The photos are of Andy descending South Gully.

NICAS Induction

Image
I travelled over to Shropshire today to run a National Indoor Climbing Achievement Scheme induction workshop for course directors and staff. I didn't mind travelling away from the mountains this morning as the weather was awful and made driving quite difficult. I was running the course at a large activity holiday centre with its own indoor climbing wall as well as a number of outdoor climbing towers.

Sun at Tremadog

Image
I was climbing at Tremadog today with Andy who wanted to experience multi pitch climbing and stance and rope management. The weather was a lot better than the forecast suggested and the rock soon dried out to give us a glorious day on Oberon and Xmas Curry. We also had a look at abseiling in a multi pitch environment including retrievable abseils as well as backing up with a prussik. The photo is of Andy on the top pitch of Xmas Curry.

Ireland

Image
I travelled over to Ireland to run an AMI workshop in the Wicklow Mountains on Friday. I was joined by 3 AMI trainees who wanted to look at multi pitch climbing with students. We were climbing on Glendolough Crag for the day (Saturday) and managed to dodge the only heavy shower we had whilst we were having a late lunch. My thanks goes to Dave Gaughran for looking after me and making all the arrangements and to (left to right) Ciaran Kinney, Michael Crawley and Mark Dwyer for being so eager and keen. The other photo is of Quartz Gully (HS 4b)