Showing posts from 2012

ML training

I was helping out on an ML summer training course today. The aim of the day was to look at rope work within the context of the Mountain Leader Award. We tried to keep it nice and simple as it's a skill that is very important but  rarely if ever used but needs to be a retained skill that may only be used when things don't go quite according to plan whether it's with your group or an issue with another party in trouble.

I've had to make a very difficult decision with regards to the ML summer assessment group - based on the weather forecast on Tuesday evening I've had to postpone the expedition until the weather is more appropriate for a summer assessment. The freezing level and the snow is down to about 450m as I type this blog with gale force wind causing blizzards on the tops. I had a long chat with the 4 candidates and the Mountain Training Cymru office and my guys seemed to understand the situation and the MTC office were in full support of my decision. Well.. the…

ML summer assessment

This was the first day of a 5 day Mountain Leader summer assessment. We headed off from Pen y Pass to Bwlch Moch and then along the Horns and down to Cwm Dyli  for the navigation stage of the assessment. The weather was good for most of the day-it wasn't too cold and we were only battered by some hail showers right at the end of the day.

Cwm Dyli

Mountain Leader summer training

The last part of the ML course I've been running this week was a 2 day expedition in the hills. It was fortunate that the Moelwynion were clear of snow but our camp at Llynnau'r Cwn was very cold and the lake was frozen by the morning as was the ground underfoot. It was particularly nice to have some dry weather yesterday after such a wet start but we were rewarded with a stunning day today with a beautiful sunrise. Even though we had some cold candidates by the morning I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

ML (Summer!!) Training

I'm running an ML summer training course this week and what a week it's been so far. Day one was a very windy and cold micro navigation day around the Moel Faban area above Bethesda. We did manage to get some shelter from the wind and the impending rain which didn't reach us until about 3 o'clock. Yesterday was a mountain day over on the Glyderau and today was a weather lecture and rope work day which ended up a bit of a washout. We did manage a very quick trip up to the Milestone Buttress to have a closer look at anchors before we beat a retreat for some shelter from the rain, sleet and cold. Looks like it's going to be improving over the next few days - we hope!! :-)

Movember 2012

Hi folks. Movember has arrived and I've decided to go for some top lip action in support of a worthy cause - please donate if you can.

Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon (1085m) from the flanks of Moel Eilio (726m)
Looking back at Moel Eilio and point 629m
I managed to get out into the hills the other day to take advantage of the nice weather before the nasty stuff came in. The ground was frozen in places on north facing slopes but not much up to about 700m but this is, unfortunately, useless now as the freezing level has shot up about the tops. I'm sure the cold weather will be back soon. :-)  

Snowdon (1085m). No view.

Mynydd Mawr and Moel Cynghorion from Allt Goch
Sun! just.
With a high pressure system dominating the UK I thought I'd take a trip up Snowdon to see if I could get some nice photos of some cloud inversions but, unfortunately, the cloud was too thick on the summit and the winds was too strong. The train's still running to the summit and I think Hafan Eryri is open as well so let's hope for a busy half term next week. It's forecast to turn very cold by Friday so we may see some snow on the hills by the weekend. 
I was stopped at the start of the Llanberis path by 3 chaps in a car asking if they were on the correct road to the tea rooms on the summit!! I had to explain to them that it wasn't possible to drive to the summit and that it was 900m higher up in the mist.  I was also amazed that ill equipped people were starting their journey to the summit as late as lunch time. I think we need some information boards with some strong words of advice at the start of all the pat…

Elidir Fawr (923m)

The summit of Elidir Fawr
Looking down to Llyn Padarn from below the summit of Elidir Fach
Not much to see today with damp mist for much of the way and gusty winds but it cleared as I descended Elidir Fach to give some fantastic views. My journey this morning was a very quick trip up Carnedd y Filiast (821m), Mynydd Perfedd (812m), Elidir Fawr (923m) and Elidir Fach (795m). I tracked the route on Edomondo click here if you're interested.

ML Assessment

I had an awesome day in Cwm Idwal today. I was working on an ML Assessment for Blue Peris and as it was a mountain day elected to go the easy way up the NW Face Route onto Seniors Ridge and then to the summit of Glyder Fawr (1001m). We descended via the Gribin Ridge but the highlight of the day was the scenery and the Broken Spectres we had on the way up Seniors Ridge.


I've had a very busy week this week with various projects and work down in London but it all culminated in having a lovely day at sunny Tremadog today. I had Bill and Nick for company today from a mountaineering club based in the Midlands with a task of developing their improvised rescue skills as well as covering stance management. Both Bill and Nick were very happy to consolidate old skills as well as learning new ones. We climbed Oberon and Yogi and looked at skills such as assisted/unassisted hoists, abseiling and escaping the system with anchor in reach as well as out of reach. A good day was had by all.

Bill and Nick
Bill on the top pitch of Oberson (S)
Nick on the top pitch of Oberson (S)

A nicer day today.

Well, it's stopped raining at last and the river levels are dropping as you can see from the photo which was taken from the same place as yesterday. Quite a bit of difference I'm sure you'll agree.

It's raining!!

As you can see from the photo taken late this morning above Llanberis it's been raining a lot over the last few days. I must say though it's really nice being out in big weather like this and being witness to nature doing it's thing. 

Mountain Leader Assessment

I was directing and working on a Mountain Leader summer assessment for Blue Peris Mountain Centre over the last 5 days. I had 4 candidates to assess but the weather conspired to give us a really hard time during the 3 day expedition with strong winds and torrential rain we also had a few hail storms early in the week as well. Well done to Ash, Dave, Lewis and Liam for putting up with the weather and me for giving them a heard time over the last 5 days.

Migrant Hawker Male Dragonfly
Liam, Lewis, Ash and Dave on Moel Berfedd
The team on Glyder Fawr
Looking across to Carnedd Dafydd (1044m) from Carnedd Llewelyn (1064m)

Moel Eilio to Moel Cynghorion

I had a lovely walk today along the beautiful ridge walk from Moel Eilio (726m) to Moel Cynghorion (674m). The day was dry but it was very windy on exposed slopes. For more details click here . The photo was taken from Foel Goch (605m) looking towards Moel Cynghorion and Snowdon.

Carnedd y Filiast

Not much of a view today...oh, and it was wet!!!

Ropes assessments

I've been on the road again recently carrying out assessments of staff at PGL centres. The in-house assessments have included high ropes course elements, climbing walls and abseil towers. 

Scrambling Day 2

I went over to Ogwen again today and decided that Tryfan Bach and the East Face of Tryfan would give Guy and Rob enough of a challenge. Everything went according to plan with a fast ascent of Tryfan Bach and then over to South Gully but I decide that it was too wet and greasy so I thought North Buttress would be a better alternative - that was until the weather had something to say. We were up one pitch of North Buttress variant and the heavens opened with rain drops the size of marbles and it just kept on raining so we retreated off the route and went down to Tryfan Bach to look at some scrambling skills. The sun did eventually show it's face which was a very nice end to the day. More photo's on Flickr by clicking here

Tryfan Bach
Tryfan Bach

Scrambling Day

I was out with Guy and Rob today so that they could experience scrambling in a more serious setting and to start to learn rope skills. We started out by making an ascent of the NW Face Route in Cwm Idwal and, as the weather was looking favourable, we quickly made our way over to the Cneifion Arete just as it started raining a little. Undaunted by the wet rock we made good time on the route to arrive at the base of Y Gribin ridge with enough time to make it up to the summit of Glyder Fawr (1001m) and down the Devil's Kitchen. Thankfully, the weather forecast wasn't correct as we stayed relatively dry all day but we did have a close call with some thunder nearby but that passed us by without incident.

NW Face Route
Cneifion Arete

The new Beacon Wall

I popped down the road this afternoon to have a look and a climb in the new Beacon Climbing Centre with my son and his friend. The place is located on the Cibyn Industrial Estate in the old Barcud TV studio and I must say it is stunning. Steve and Gill are rightfully proud of what they and their team have achieved over the last year or so. 


Well, it's been quite a busy couple of weeks as I've been away with my good friend Dei and his son Dom to the Alps. We started out travelling to Tasch (which is the village just below Zermatt) to get in some acclimatisation on some of the peaks and crags in the area. After a week in Switzerland we travelled to Chamonix to make an ascent of Mont Blanc (4810m) which proved to be quite a challenge due to poor visibility, strong winds and the wind chill but it worked out in the end as the weather cleared to give us fantastic views. Here are a selection of the stuff we got up to. You can also check out Flickr for more of my photos of the trip if you're interested by clicking here.

Klattersteig above Zermatt
Breithorn Summit 4164m
Mont Blanc summit 4810m
Klattersteig above Zermatt with the Breithorn in the distance Sport climbing in Randa. Ohne zu Vergessen 5c+

SPA Assessment

I was running an SPA assessment over the last couple of days. I had three candidates - Anthony, Jason and Alex. We travelled over the Holyhead Mountain on Wednesday so that we could cover personal skills such as  leading Severe graded climbs, placing protecting, belaying, joining anchors as well as personal abseiling. Thursday was over at the Upper Tier of Pant Ifan to look at group management skills including bottom top roping, problem solving and group abseiling. It was great to be out in such good weather despite the weather forecast being bad at the start of the week. It was absolutely cracking on both days and although it was busy on the crags of Holyhead Mountain we had the Upper Tier to our selves all day which was very unusual.

Off to the Alps now so see you in a couple of weeks.

SPA Training course

I was out and about over the last couple of days running a Single Pitch Award training course with 4 people and despite the weather it work out really well with almost dry rock yesterday at Lion Rock. It the evening we went up to the Beacon to have a look at the skills required to safely run sessions on an indoor climbing wall (and also to see the place before it moves in a couple of weeks).

Today was a bit of an unpleasant start with low cloud and heavy drizzle but it soon cleared by the afternoon to give a dry and fresh day over at Spotty Crag near Fachwen. To view more photos of the course click here.

A busy week

Apart from some assessments for PGL at the start of the week it's looking like it's going to be a pretty full on week. I was working for the AALA conducting an inspection of an activity provider over in the Bala area today.After sorting out the management interview I was off with a group up Arenig Fawr AND it was dry over that area and only entered the rain again when I headed north to go home. 

AMI trainee short roping day

I was out with Andy, Tim and Ed today to look at the skills involved with short roping on rocky terrain. We went up the NW Face Route and played around in the rocky area just before Seniors Ridge. We looked at may aspects of short roping including client care, body position, taking coils around the body and locking them off, anchors, looking after two clients etc. AND it was dry all day but cold.

A dry Tremadog

I was working on an AMI trainee workshop today looking at instructing multi pitch climbing. With the weather so changeable and wet we decided that Tremadog would be the best option and sure enough it was warm and dry all day and only stared raining when we arrived at the car park at the end of the day - result. Tremadog is such a fab place what can I say it delivers the goods every time (well.... almost!)

I had Siobhan and Ryan for company today who were very keen to cover issues like progression, the rack, planning client days, abseiling, stance management, time management and loads more topics. We climbed Hail Bebe (VD) and Oberon (S) and the place was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday.  

Trefor Quarry, LLangollen

I was working with a group of young people on the National citizenship program from London today. There were 4 instructors from a local PGL centre running sessions at Trefor Quarry for the day and I was acting as overall safety for the event. We set up 2 bottom top rope climbs and 2 abseils which kept them busy and some were challenged more than others but everyone had a great time.