Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

30-11-10, Cwm Lloer, Snowdonia - Winter Climbing

Snowdonia is in the grip of winter. Current feel of climbing conditions is that it is very cold, freezing in valleys, not much ice, still forming though, snow is very powdery (groupel) and unhelpful, but the turf is definitely well frozen. Classic ice routes and gullies are not in yet, mixed turf routes and ridges are. I have been stomping around the last 3 days, had a look up on Glyder Fawr upper cliff Sunday, tried to climb Twisting Gully (photo, right - pitch 2) but had abandon due to lack of gear and enough ice to progress. I walked into Black Ladders (photo, above) and saw 2 teams climbing, near East Gully and Passendale. I have had good day in Cwm Lloer today with Kathryn and we climbed Eastern Arete (Lloer Spur) IV,4 (photo, below) and Grooved Ridge IV,5. Both good 3 pitch, turfy routes. An inch of snow fell last night and more is forecast tonight, if is warms up a little then refreezes the snow will be ace, however we will have to settle for frozen turf and powder for the next few days at least!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

27-11-10, Costa Blanca - Rock Climbing

Didre UBSA, HVS 5+ - Penon de Ifach, Calpe.

Another enjoyable week rock climbing on the Costa Blanca. The weather has been getting cooler but still warm. We have climbed on Penon de Ifach the great square blocky cliff by the sea off Calpe, Sella and Montessa. Here are are some more photos of the climbing.

I have arrived back to a cold and snowy Snowdonia. There looked to be a fair covering on the hills, however a closer inspection will be required tomorrow. I hear people have been getting out climbing winter routes, so hopefully with a cold spell here to stay for a few weeks, North Wales will be winter playground again!
Photos - Right, Montesa with its idyllic castle, short but pocketed gritty limestone!
Alicante from Calpe.

Calpe from Penon de Ifach.

The crux pitch Diedre UBSA, HVS 5+.

Cragging at Sella, excellent crag although getting a little polished.

Mollo Falqui.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

21-11-10, Costa Blanca - Rock Climbing

I have been in Spain, climbing on the limestone cliffs of the Costa Blanca since last Wednesday. The weather has been dry and warm (18 degrees), a little breezey but nothing to complain about. Myself and Kathryn have climbed at a different crag everyday, all sport climbing, around Gandia and Xalo. My finger tips are getting sore but we still have another week left. Hopefully climb some trad routes on the big cliffs near Benidorm when it gets less windy. The highlight so far is probably 'Sonjanka' 6a+ (photo right) a six pitch sport route which climbs the length of the cliff.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

07-11-10, Tremadog - Rock Climbing

Criccieth Castel from Craig y Gesail.

I have spent the weekend climbing at 'costa del Tremadog' on the far left hand end. The sun has shone at times and has been fairly warm. We enjoyed the routes on the Midas Buttress of Touch Up, Touched in the Head, Touchstone, Soft Touch all graded E1. The crag is usually quiet but there were 3 teams here today. We have been having heavy rain the evenings and even snow down to 300m last night, however the buttresses on Tremadog dry very rapidly and are often warmer than the mountain crags.

Signs of imminent winter arrival were present this morning and still late this afternoon, with a lite dusting of snow on the Carneddau (photo below). A few winter routes have been climbed in Scotland already this year.

PJ Mountains will be running Winter Skills, Winter Hillwalking and Mountaineering courses throughout this winter season from the Scottish Highlands. So if you want to be guided in the mountains or learn essential skills to stay safe and explore the mountains for yourself in Winter the enquire .

Winter has arrived!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

05-11-10, Peak District - Rock Climbing

The last week has been very wet both in Snowdonia and the Peak District. I managed to get a bit of sport climbing in at Penmaen Head (Colwyn Bay) before the rains arrived at the weekend. Myself and Kath went to the Peak for a few days, to find dark overcast skies, with occasional drizzle in the mornings then heavy constant rain in the afternoons. We did however manage to climb at Black Rocks and Cratcliffe Tor (photo right - Kath seconding 'Suicide Wall', HVS 5a).