Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Friday, 28 May 2010

28-05-10, Snowdonia - Rock Climbing

Clogwyn Dur Arddu

I have been working on Adventure Courses for Children aged 10-12 years old from the Wirral over the last couple of weeks, doing various activities including Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Gorge Walking, Mountain Walking, Sea Level Traverseing and Coasteering.
The weather in Snowdonia has been hot, hot, hot which has led to many evenings of climbing. I have been out most evenings climbing in Llanberis Pass (Cwm Glas Bach, Clogwyn Llo, Cromlech Boulders), Ogwen Valley (Clogwyn y Tawr, Scimitar Buttress, Cyrau and Clogwyn Dur Arddu on Saturday. Cloggy wasn't as dry as you might expect, probably due to the snowy winter. The drain pipe on the right hand side of the east buttress was very wet and the top corner pitch of Piggott's Climb was very wet and slimy (effort required! in photo below). Photo - right, Kath climbing the second pitch of Beta, VS 4c on Clogwyn Llo, which is located on the shady south side of the pass, a welcome relief from the suns heat!

Friday, 14 May 2010

14-05-10, Peak District - Rock Climbing

Barni leading Suspense, E2 5c at Lawrencefield - Peak District

I have spent the last couple of days in the Peak District again. Myself and Barni went to the far left hand side of Stanage and climbed 6 routes between Wall End Slab and High Neb. Wednesday was a cold day with some more snow showers between the sunshine - ideal conditions for Gritstone.
Thursday we headed to the limestone crag High Tor which looms high above Matlock Bath, I climbed Original Route which is a classic HVS. A little bit nippy on the fingers so we decided to head further north back to the Gritstone edges, and went to Millstone and Lawrencefield. Photos show Barni leading the sustained, once pegged crack line of Regent Street E2 5c at Millstone (Right and Below) and the classic freighter test piece Suspense E2 5c at Lawrencefield. We stayed until it got dark then headed back to North Wales.
The Peak District has some great cragging with its unique Gritstone (natural and quarried, fine and coarse grained) and Limestone (single, multi-pitch, sport) rock climbing. PJ Mountains can offer numerous rock climbing courses in the Peak District. Everything from guided climbs to learning to lead, courses can be tailored to suit your needs.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

11-05-10, Peak Gritstone - Rock Climbing

Gaz seconding Eros E1 5b, Millstone

I have spent the last couple of days rock climbing on the Gritsone edges of the Peak District with Gaz, Matt and Rich. We visited Millstone yesterday morning and managed to squeeze in a couple of routes before it rained. In the afternoon we went to Stanage Popular, which had dried off nicely in the breeze, conditions were good, not too warm or cold, despite occasional light showers we got a lot done. Today we headed to Curbar and experienced some of the strangest weather (even by British standards) ever. Morning was bright and warm, midday, heavy snow flakes fell for 10 minutes then back to very warm and bright sun - bizarre! All in all a good couple of days and my hands are feeling the grit rash!

Photos below, Left Gaz getting stuck into The Peapod HVS 5a, Curbar and Right Matt leading Avalanche Wall HVS, 5a also at Curbar.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

09-05-10, Moelwyns - Rock Climbing

Fionn and Mark, checking the guidebook to see where the final pitch of Slack goes.

The second day working on a Rock Developer course for Plas y Brenin with Fionn and Mark, we went rock climbing in the Moelwyns to Clogwyn yr Oen and climbed Slack S 4a in 4 pitches and Slick VD in 2 pitches. We looked at more multi pitch climbing techniques, built on yesterdays experience of good runner placements and building belays. It was glorious and sunny all day, the crag wasn't busy at all Ben showed his team how to lead climbs (photo - right).
This evening Kath, Lou and myself went to Clogwyn Cyrau high above Betws y Coed. We climbed Hywel Dda E2 5b, which gave some steep, jug climbing!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

08-05-10, Tremadog and Ogwen - Rock Climbing

Fionn and Mark, 'perched' on the exposed second stance of Valerie's Rib.

Today I have been working on a Rock Developer course for Plas y Brenin. Fionn, Mark and myself went to Tremadog, for their first experience of multi-pitch rock climbing. We climbed Oberon in 3 pitches (photo - right, Mark) and Valerie's Rib also 3 pitches (photo - above). We looked at belaying, tying into anchors, runners, building anchors and abseiling with a prussik. We enjoyed dry and warmish weather. The crag was busy but not too bad.

This evening after work, myself, Kath and Gaz, walked up to Carreg Mianog, 20minutes from the road on the Carneddau side of the Ogwen Valley. This is a quality, rough and well featured crag, with plenty of VSs climbs and well worth a visit. We climbed the multi pitch Biceps Wall VS 4c,4c , Zip Groove VS 4b and Zip Wall HS 4b. All of which were very enjoyable.

Kath leading second pitch of Biceps Wall, with Gaz belaying.

Friday, 7 May 2010

06-05-10, Pembroke - Rock Climbing

Ethos, HVS 5a - Carreg-y-Barcud - North Pembroke.

I was working on Bank Holiday Monday with a family group, teaching mum and dad simple rope work skills in order to keep their two daughters of 6 and 9 years safe while moving up rocky steps. The weather in Snowdonia was glorious and the crags looked dry.

The last three days I have been rock climbing in Pembroke with James. Sea state was fairly calm, high tide was late morning, weather was good on Tuesday and mixed on the following days. We visited Mother Carey's, St Govan's, Trevallen in South Pembroke and Porth-Clais and Carreg-y-Barcud in North Pembroke. We managed to do lots of climbing and only bumped into a couple of other teams, which sounds like it was less busy than it was over the bank holiday weekend. Pembroke is an awesome place to go rock climbing, there is something for everyone and it can be as adventurous or as tame as you like! The MOD Range is due to take over most of South Pembroke over July day and night, but they are leaving all of August completely accessible which is great news for climbers, especially as the bird bans will have been lifted then also.

PJ Mountains can offer rock climbing courses in Pembroke this August, weekends or weeks, Guided Rock Climbing or Rock Improver Courses. If you would like to learn more skills or just get out and go cragging and enjoy what Pembroke has to offer. Get in touch and see what we can arrange.

The Hole, E1 5b - Trevallen - South Pembroke.

The Meridian, VS 4c - Mother Carey's - South Pembroke.

Red Wall, S 4a - Porth-Clais - North Pembroke.

The mega - Mother Carey's - South Pembroke.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

02-05-10, Ogwen, Snowdonia - Scrambling

Today myself and Oliver returned to Ogwen to do some more summer mountaineering and roped scrambling. All day it has been fresh and dry. We found an interesting and quiet route to ascend the mighty Tryfan. We started with the Milestone Gully Approach, then the Milestone Continuation (picture - right and below). We headed around the NE ridge onto the East Face and ascended Bastow Buttress until we hit the top of the NE ridge again. The ridge was very busy, and we met/passed lots of folk enjoying a beautiful day in the park. We descended the South ridge then into Cwm Tryfan back to the road. Oliver's boots are getting broken in for his attempt to climb Mont Blanc next month so good luck! Today I was working for Sea2Summit.
If you are interested in doing some scrambling be it Introductory (basic and roped scrambles) or Advanced (learning rope techniques to stay safe and lead harder scrambles) Scrambling Courses. Then PJ Mountains can offer them. Courses can be tailored to suit your needs.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

01-05-10, Ogwen, Snowdonia - Scrambling

Today I was out scrambling in the Ogwen Valley. I was working with Oliver for Sea2Summit. Oliver has aspirations to climb Mont Blanc later this summer, so wanted to get out into the mountains, have a journey over scrambly terrain and get used to his super stiff boots. We headed into the Glyders, to the base of Idwal Slabs and did some roped scrambling on the far right hand side. A quick lunch stop in the base of the Nameless Cwm and then we decided to ascend the Cneifion Arete. The arete was busy but was still as good as ever. Today the weather was much better than forecast, there were a couple of minutes of drizzle but in general was dry and fresh. There are a few snow patches left but there is definitely a spring feel about Snowdonia.

Oliver seconding pitches at the start of 'Direct Approach to Seniors Ridge'.
The classic and brilliant Cneifion Arete (grade III scramble or Moderate rock climb).

The top of Cneifion Arete.