Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Friday, 29 October 2010

27-10-10, SLT,Coasteering,Gorge Walking - Snowdonia

The last couple of days I have been working with Sussex Army Cadets in Snowdonia. The first day we went to the sea cliffs of Holy Island and did some Sea-Level Traversing, with ropes staying dry, and in the afternoon went Coasteering. The team really enjoyed themselves and found it an 'awesome' adventure. The day after was stormy and wet, we headed to the Afon Ddu gorge. The weather in Wales has turned very wintery, rain and strong winds.
Outdoor adventure days for families, friends and parties are available from Snowdonia Outdoor Adventures. Bookings for 2011 are already been taken. If you book by April 2011, organisers of groups of 6 or more can book for free.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

24-10-10, North Wales Limestone - Rock Climbing

Today I have been sport climbing at the limestone crags along the A55 near Colwyn Bay. We spent the morning at Penmaen Head, climbing some excellent flowstone walls. Maybe North Wales' premier low-mid grade sports crag. Then headed to Castle Inn Quarry to climb the excellent Indian Summer F6a (photo - right) and the Trad Route Pioneer Cracks E1. Fine View Wall has some excellent rough limestone reminiscent of Pembroke.

PJ Mountains can offer Sport Climbing Rock Courses, from Intro level to Advanced. Sport climbing (bolted) is a fairly safe introduction to rock climbing, and North Wales is an ideal place to learn the ropes. For more details please contact

Saturday, 23 October 2010

22-10-10, Southern Limestone - Rock Climbing

Dancing Ledges, Swanage.

Since being back in the UK I have had a busy couple of weeks, mainly rock climbing for fun. Myself and James had a couple of days climbing in West Yorkshire at the favourites of Brimham and Almscliffe. We climbed many of the classic VS and HVS routes.

I had a few days work in Snowdonia with Wiltshire College taking students on a Public Services course out to give them a assessment of their land based management skills for their BTEC diploma. We had a 2-day expedition over Snowdon and Glyders in glorious cold crisp weather and on the last day went to Anglesey to do some sea-level traversing.

I have spent the last 8 days with Kath on a southern Limestone road trip. We headed to the Wye Valley and climbed many of the classic HVS / E1s at Shorncliffe. We also visited Wynd Cliff and Wintour's Leap and climbed the Zelda,HS.

On our way to Swanage and Portland we dropped by the Avon Gorge outside of Bristol and climbed Ken Wilsons 'Classic' and 'Hard Rock' climbs of Piton Route,VS and Malbogies,HVS. The Limestone gorge was, as is to be expected, quite polished and Malbogies (photo below) did seem to be a tad hard for the grade, but was an enjoyable way up the cliff.

We had a day at Swanage and Climbed at Guillemot Ledge, Batt Crack (photo right) and Cattle Troughs, we then had a couple of days sport climbing at Portland. The weather was great, sunshine and not too cold. Portland is a great destination for British winter Rock Climbing.
Upon returning to Snowdonia, we have heavy rain, hail and it is fairly windy.

Malbogies, HVS Avon Gorge.

Kath seconding 'The Laughing Cavaliers' HVS, at Shorncliffe, Wye Valley.

James getting stuck into some good Yorkshire hard work on 'Central Crack' VS at Brimham.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

06-10-10, Yosemite, California - Rock Climbing

View from the top of El Capitan looking towards Half Dome.

I have spent the last 3+ weeks in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. It has been an 'awesome' trip. We spent most of the time in The Valley, but had a short foray to Touloumne Meadows as well. The aim was to do some Big Wall aid climbing, but we also did some Free climbing to remember that climbing is fun! Highlights include 'West Face' of Leaning Tower (picture right - pitch 6) and 'The Nose' on El Capitan. We had very hot weather usually 30-35 degrees. Water was a slight issue but it just meant we had to carry more in our Haul Bag! The Valley was very busy (tourists and climbers) as you might expect with it having not only west US appeal but also International appeal, where else can you be suffering for days on end on a 3000ft wall to then be eating pizza and drinking beer within 4 hours of topping out?!

The Ahwahnee - bivi ledge of Leaning Tower (very plush!).

View down to Ahwahnee Ledge, West Face of Leaning Tower.

Easy Hauling on Leaning Tower.

The start of 'The Nose', El Capitan.

'The King Swing' on El Capitan.

Looking down end of the Great Roof pitch.

Jugging on the last day of 'The Nose'.

Topping out.

'On The Lamb', Touloumne Meadows. A glorious 5.9 (HVS/E1) free route after all that slow, faffy aid climbing!