Monday, 28 December 2009

Udlaidh Ice, Bridge of Orchy

Today I went to find ice with my girlfriend Sarah. There is a lot of soft snow around in the Highlands at the moment, so a popular venue helps cut approach times with well trodden tracks. Udlaidh was certainly popular today, though the ice wasn't as fat as I had expected. Quartzvein scoop was seeing lots of accents but anything harder was a little fragile and thin. We played around on Land of Make Believe. With the sun out it was always going to be a good day.

Unfortunately I left the camera battery charging today, at least it is ready for tomorrow.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Back to Wales - Polar Bear (VI,6), Black Ladders

Yesterday I was climbing under blue skies on the Black Ladders. I was grateful not to miss out on such a glorious day, after a last minute change of climbing partners late at night, my plans of climbing were then nearly thwarted when Chris discovered he had no crampons while racking up.

Fortunately well known activist Chris Parkin turned up with Greg Cain and allowed me to join them as a 3. We jumped on Polar Bear which offers fine mixed climbing, making good use of the frozen turf. Each pitch has interesting climbing, with nothing too desperate.

We finished a little later than expected so I had a little jog down so I wasn't too late for a meal with friends and family back on the Wirral.

It looks like it is staying cold into the New Year, which I will be spending up in Scotland. I'm hoping for more blue skies and good climbing.

For more photos: Sea 2 Summit Flickr

Polar Bear (VI,6), Black Ladders, CarneddauPolar Bear (VI,6), Black Ladders, CarneddauPolar Bear (VI,6), Black Ladders, CarneddauPolar Bear (VI,6), Black Ladders,Carneddau

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Lochan, Glen Coe

The final day of the pre-Christmas hit was up in Stob Coire nan Lochan on Friday. We climbed Spectre (V,6) which runs parallel to the popular Scabbard Chimney.
A cold day, ice was forming at all levels on the walk in with flurries of snow during the day.
We managed to return to the van for 1430 to make the drive back to Wales, where there is currently fresh snow in the hills.

Scabbard Chimney, Stob Coire nan Lochan, Glencoe

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Ben Nevis

A windy and snowy start turned into a beautiful and sunny afternoon. The freezing level had dropped considerably and the snow line was well below the CIC hut.
We had aspirations for Observatory Ridge, but with three people ahead of us, and it looking a little lean on snow, we decided against it. Unfortunatly most lines in Observatory Gully require ice and this was lacking, even high up on Indicator Wall. I know Smith's was done last week but it must of been quite scary! We opted for Chimney Groove (IV,6) which took us up onto Tower Ridge and then to the top.
The snow is now well frozen, with just isolated pockets of slabby new snow.
For more photos of Ben Nevis see Sea 2 Summit Flickr site

Ben Nevis, Tower RidgeBen Nevis, Tower RidgeBen Nevis, Tower Ridge

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

West Coast Conditions

After the long drive up from Wales on Monday night, Simon and I stopped over at the Bridge of Orchy. We took the relatively short walk up to Beinn An Dothaidh. The turf was frozen at all levels - ideal for the mixed routes. Menage a Trois (V,6) and The Upper Circle (III) both proved to be good fun.
Today I was up on the Ben, which was very wintry with good snow above 900m and ice forming on the higher crags. We climbed Thompson's Route (IV) and Central Right-Hand (IV) both of which had first time placements in the ice. We were also honoured to be invited in to the (new looking) CIC hut for a cuppa tea on the way down.
Back to the Ben tomorrow for some more action.

Central Right-Hand, Ben Nevis (IV)Thompson Route, Ben Nevis (IV)Bridge of Orchy, Scotland

Monday, 14 December 2009

River Tryweryn with King Edwards Sch Brimingham

I returned to Wales over the weekend to run a white water course for King Edwards School. We went on the Lower Tryweryn, which provides grade 2/3 rapids all the way to Bala.

All the rivers around Snowdonia have now dropped to an unrunnable low level with the recent dry weather.

Back up to Scotland tonight to make the most of the cold snap.

More Blue Skies in the Caringorms

On Friday we went up to Fiachile Buttress in the Cairngorms climbing Short Circuit and The Seam - both fun mixed routes. Again the weather was kind and the snow well frozen.

Fiacaill Buttress, CairngormsFiacaill Buttress, Cairngorms

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Beautiful conditions in Scotland

I have been climbing on the Northern Corries for the last two days with a friend Ian.

Yesterday we went up to the Mess of Potage climbing Honey Pot and Hidden Chimney. Today on Western Route on No. 4 Buttress. All provide good mixed pitches with Western Route being quite steep at times.

Yesterday the snow was damp and thawing slightly. Today there was clear and frosty overnight, freezing the substantial snow pack hard. unfortunately though the cracks are also iced up making protection difficult to place.

Coire an Lochain, CairngormsCoire an Lochain, Cairngorms

Monday, 7 December 2009

Dwyfor and Seiont Rivers

The snow may of been stripped from the mountains, but the rivers rose rapidly this morning with mild temperatures an heavy rain. Myself, Matt, Rich, James and Sally enjoyed the Dwyfor at high levels this morning and the Seiont all the way to the sea late this afternoon. More rain tonight should keep the rivers at a good level.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Welsh Winter Conditions - Fynnon Lloer

Today I went up to Fynnon Lloer in the Carneddau with James and Phil.
We found plenty of old snow in the gullies that was in the process of freezing, especially above 800 metres. It still needs a bit longer though to be fully frozen as it wasn't too hard to break through the crust. During the day a fair amount of new snow fell, mainly as graupel. This was getting blown around, collecting in gullies and lee slopes.
We climbed some small mixed pitches on rock, looking at various techniques, then dropped back down to climb Y Gully Left-hand.



Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Snow in North Wales

Trinity Face on Snowdon
Yesterday I went up to Trinity Face on Snowdon with James Bruton. It has been cold since the weekend and a fair amount of snow has fallen above 600m.
We went to have a look at Snowdrop but found a breakable crust with soft snow or unfrozen turf below. Part way up the crux pitch we decided to retreat becasue of the conditions. Instead we moved around on some broken ground and looked at strength of anchors in the given snowpack.

The day before I paddled down the Croesor, with just enough water. This has some fun grade V drops on it. We also spent a bit of time removing a tree from the first IV+ drop. One bit remains but hopefully in its new location it should have a better chance of floating further downstream in high water. The recent floods have certainly deposited a lot of debris in the rivers.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

River Leading & Canoe Polo

On Saturday I played in the Northern Div 4 League for Friends of Allonby Canoe Club. As a team we are still learning, managing to win a game and personally I scored 2 goals in our last match. I just need to work out what to do with the ball once I win it.

Today I was with Tom going through leading on rivers for the BCU 4 star leaders award. We paddled down the Afon Aled and Elwy on good medium/high levels. Both rivers are continuous grade II with a few sections around III. There are a few wires and a low bridge to negotiate on the Aled. On the Elwy there is one large and obvious weir that needs portaging.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Kayak Rolling Course

Rolling Course Claire
Originally uploaded by sea2summit_net
Today I ran a one day rolling course for Claire and John. Most of the day was spent in the pool refining their rolls. Late afternoon we kayaked down to Jim's Bridge putting the skills into practice.

The Llugwy was at good high level today.

Monday, 23 November 2009

River Levels - North Wales

The rivers were still up over the weekend, with most such as the Llugwy being high without flooding.

Last Friday I descended the Ogwen in big water, you couldn't get under the bridge at the bottom of Ogwen Bank. It certainly left an impression on me.

I was also fortunate to run the Artro, a new river to me. This is a fun and continuous blast at III+ (one tree down on the initial section). The Dwyfor was also running at a good level providing continuous waves and holes to negotiate, with no major hazards.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

White Water, day after day

The rain continues to fall and the rivers have been up each day. Over the weekend I ran a navigation course, Monday a sea kayak course with Sebastian in some strong winds and today on the Lledr with Simon and Dave.
More rain due tonight so I expect some big levels tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Intermediate White Water 07/11/09

2 day course looking to develop the necessary skills for grade IV water.

Day 1: Cobdens Falls (IV) and Upper Conwy (III) with Bryn Bras Falls (IV).
Day 2: River Ogwen from Ogwen Caravan Park to the A5 bridge (IV) and Lower Llugwy (IV)

All photos are by Adrian Trendall of Cobden's Falls see

Autumn Update

A busy summer has meant a lack of blogging. We have been running a full range of kayaking and climbing courses and personally I have managed to get away for some climbing in Cornwall and kayaking in Slovenia and India.
At the moment we have been blessed with lots of rain allowing us a full choice of venues on all the white water courses. There has also been a little snow falling in Scotland over the last few days, a reminder that winter will soon return.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Castell Helen, Gogarth

The rain cleared by the afternoon to provide dry weather and blue skies over Anglesey.
The 5 day climbing course went to Holyhead mountain to climb a range of routes and look at tying to anchors and belaying. Meanwhile Dan led Amanda up various pitches on Miletone Buttress in Ogwen valley. I took some friends onto Castell Helen, to sample the delights of sea cliff climbing.

Return to Sunny Rock Climbing

The end of last week I returned to work in North Wales, running a sea level traversing and coasteering day for a group of friends and kayaking at Trearddur Bay for a novice group.

With it being the first week of school holidays, I then went on a small trip to the Gower with my girlfriend Sarah, who is a teacher in Abergele. We managed to climb on the sunny days and find good surf on the wet days.

Rock Climbing Courses in North Wales

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Cairngorms & Ben Nevis

Back up to Scotland for a short hit with my Dad.

Yesterday, after a few skills, I took him up the Haston Line and Hidden Chimney in the Cairngorms. Dry weather but warm, the crag slowly turned from white to black during the day.

Today we ascended the NE buttress on the Ben. Again it was dry with light winds, though a little warm. There is still a lot of ice around, and the route was very climbable although a little damp.

North Wales Kayaking

During last week I ran a variety of kayaking courses. Over the weekend, with James from adventure elements, a Dof E sea kayaking training course for 12 young people. Then during the week a sea and white water introduction. I have added a few photos of both courses.

Scotland Winter

A little time since my last blog entry. I have added a few photos from the 16-19 March, a great week in Scotland with blue skies and good ice on the Ben. During the week I took Amy up Two Step (V) and had her leading on the Web (II/III) on Aonach Mor and Good Friday (III) on the Ben.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - West Coast - Cold and Windy

A dramatic change took place on Saturday night with the temperatures dropping, the freezing level was about 400m on Sunday.
Matt and I went up to Ben Nevis to see what was climbable on Sunday. Unfortunately the old snow hadn't fully frozen with a breakable crust making progress near impossible at times, sinking waist deep in snow. There was also a build up of new snow, which was quite substantial by the end of the day. We chose to do the SW ridge of the Douglas Boulder as vanishing gully had appeared to vanish. This provides a couple of interesting moves over 3-4 pitches. Upon returning to the ground the wind had increased significantly, with strong gusts blowing us around.
On Monday I worked the first day of a Jagged Globe course in the White Corries. We found good sections of neve where the fresh snow had been scoured. At times we even saw the sun!

Scotland Winter Conditions - West Coast - Wet

On Friday and Saturday I worked with Frank, developing his climbing technique to move from grade III to more IV and V. Day 1 we used the Ice Factor and Onich Slab, to work a range of ice and mixed techniques, that saw him relaxing on his axes by the end of day and competently using his feet.
Day 2 (Saturday) was not ideal conditions with rain at all levels and high wind, along with avalanche hazards on many slopes. We went up to do the main pitches on North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor which is safe and climbable in all conditions. We put into action all the techniques learnt on the previous day before abseiling back down. This was the point we heard a big 'boom' and witnessed a wet slush avalanche violently blasting down Great Gully. It was an impressive sigh from our safe vantage point and the debris is visable in the attached photo.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Glen Coe

Snow up to head height!
Today we had fresh snow down to the road along with blue skies and light winds. In the drifts it was extremely deep, making progress hard. I took a group up Buachaille Etive Beag , following a wind scoured rise then a few nice rocky steps up to the North summit. We then descended to the col to play around on the old frozen snow that was exposed before returning to the bus.
Other teams were on the zig zags and trail breaking into the Lochan, being careful to avoid the many avalanche prone slopes.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Glen Coe - Snow

After a mix of sleet and rain falling at all levels yesterday the snow has now returned with a vengeance.
Yesterday I was in the White Corries, at the start of Glen Coe, covering a range of skills with an 'introduction to winter' group. We found a bank of soft snow to slide on, but little in the way of hard snow for crampons. There was a new wet snow layer over the old soft snow pack. High up the winds were gusting 50 mph making walking difficult at times.
Today with blizzards forecast and high winds we opted for a low level skills day looking at navigation on Cow Hill. This hill is about 300m located behind Fort William and had a good covering of snow by the afternoon. The snow line has now decreased to near sea level with a fair amount of it accumulating outside the house.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Ben Nevis

I was working with some old friends over the weekend who wanted to sample the delights of winter climbing. They had been out in winter only once or twice before, so a full range of skills were covered over the two days.
On Saturday we headed to Cairngorms to enjoy the dry pleasant conditions. The snow had partly frozen overnight allowing for a range of boot and crampon skills to be covered before we made an ascent of the Runnel. The later start meant that most parties were up and out the way.
Today we went up to Ben Nevis, walking up to No. 2 Buttress at the back of the Ciste. We found that there had been a substantial amount of snow overnight above 800m. The freezing level seemed to be only 100 or 200m below the summit so much of this fresh snow was wet. On route there were some good ice pitches, that would take screws, so fun was had by all. A quick bum slide down red burn rounded things off nicely.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - West Coast - Wet

Two days of wet and warm weather - but change is on its way.
Yesterday I was on Aonach Mor looking at a range of climbing skills from the Nid up towards the climbing area. Fresh snow had formed new cornices, but during the day the temperature level increased with sleety rain falling on the summit.
Today I climbed Dorsal arete via some thin streaks of softish snow, avoiding the loose blocks that are now showing. It rained for most of the day, but wasn't too windy - even on top.
It looks like one more of warm weather then cold and stormy.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Glen Coe

Today I took Mike and Simon up into the Lochan and ascended the grade II climb NC gully. With freezing level below the current snow line we found some good firm snow on the route, though it is possible to kick through the initial frozen layer and find soft unfrozen snow below. Other teams climbed Dorsal and Boomerang.

A little fresh snow fell during the day forming small isolated patches of windslab on North to Easterly aspects. The turf wasn't frozen at any level.

A good day was had by all teaching about anchors, ropework and climbing techniques as we ascended to the top.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Glen Coe

I went up into the Lost Valley today, with a Jagged Globe course, to teach leading on grade 1 terrain. We ascended the snow slopes at the back of the valley looking at a mixture of snow and rock anchors before descending from the col via snow bollards.

It was warm again at all levels, with the snow still being a wee bit soft and wet. The weather was kind though in that it was dry and calm, with fine views back to Glen Coe.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - West Coast

I returned to Fort William today to find a lot less snow than a week ago. There is still more than enough to climb and do skills on, but you have to know where to go.
Today we were up on Aonach Mor covering a variety of winter skills around the Nid ridge. The snow is a bit wet, but there is still deep accumulations on easterly aspects. People were out climbing a variety of grade 2/3 routes on Aonach Mor, but a freeze is needed to before they fall down, and to keep the rock in place.

Skiing in the Alps

Last week was spent in Tignes skiing on good snow with mainly blue skies and a bit of fresh snow mid-week. Fortunatly this also meant missing the thaw that occured in Scotland, with warm weather and strong winds.

We did a variety of off-piste runs, with a few inparticular providing excellant virgin snow - though they did require up to 30min of uphill (felt like a breeze compared to walking in Scotland).

Unfortunalty I kept forgeting to take photos so I only have the one from the week!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Scotland Winter Conditions - Glen Coe

Another beautiful day, I don't know if I will be able to cope when normal weather resumes!
Today I covered a range of rope skills and snow belays on the slopes of Buachaille Etive Beag then walked along the ridge, which had formed into a nice snow crest in places, to the summit Stob Dubh.
There were pockets of soft snow, but we were mainly on good neve all day.