Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Thursday, 6 October 2011

06-10-11, UK Rock Climbing

 I have been climbing for myslef the last couple of weeks, enjoying all the variety that British cragging has to offer. During the hot spell last week, Steve and myslelf drove down south to climb on the exciting trad sea cliffs at Swanage and for some sporty portalnd action. Afew days climbing at Boulder Ruckle (photo above) with all its roofs and suspect rock, bolt clipping in Portland makes a great combination. On the way down and back up to wales we also climbed in Avon Gorge, and at Wintours Leap - quite a limestone heavy week! Back in Wales I have had a day at Helsby - a good quality sandstone crag above the M56 near Chester and back for some more bolt clipping on Clwyd limestone near Llangollen. A quick day trip to the Peak to get some finger, hand and arm jamming practice at Milstone Edge yesterday. Hopefully good preparation for a trip to USA at the weekend for a few months!
 Steve, enjoying a rare face pitch at swanage vertical but no roof, Yellow Wall!

 Swanage Falcon.

 Fly Wall, Wintours Leap.

Suttie cruising - Regents Street, Millstone.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

24-09-11, Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure - Coasteering

Today Kathryn and myself have been coasteering with a group of ladies on a hen weekend. The sea was rough this morning so we decided to do some sea level traversing. Soon the sun came out the winds dropped, so some coasteering was back on the agenda. I was working for Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure.

Monday, 29 August 2011

28-08-11, Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure - Gorge Scrambling

I have been out working for Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure with Andy this weekend. We took a group of friends up the Afon Ddu gorge which was enjoyed by all. The weather in Snowdonia has been fairly mixed, many passing heavy showers, but these haven't been heavy or constant enough to raise the river levels.

Friday, 15 July 2011

15-07-11, Cadair Idris - Rock Climbing

 Snowdonia has been graced with sunny skies and high pressure all of this week. I was out scrambling with Gary and Kath on Monday and ascended the classy Sentries ridge. We were trying to get some good photos for the new scrambling guide book that Gary is writing. I have been working at Arthog O.E.C. for the rest of the week, but managed to get out climbing Thursday evening with Steve. We made the hour walk up to Cyfrwy on Cadair Idris and climbed Gwydrin, E1 5a,5b which was excellent. The first pitch was a bit loose and strange but the second pitch easily made up for it. Clean rock, great friction and west facing so stayed in the sun till dusk.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

09-07-11, Tremadog and Nefyn - Climbing and Coasteering

Last week the weather was very warm and the crags were bone dry. Unfortunatley working in the day time but managed to do some climbing in the evenings mainly in the Llanberis Pass. The dry spell in Snowdonia ended on Tuesday but came back today. I have been out with a family of 4 this weekend. We climbed Bramble Buttress at Tremadog then headed to Nefyn on the Lleyn penninsula for some coasteering. The sea was slight and the weather was most definittly beautiful and warm.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

30-06-11, Sea Side Adventures, Anglesey - Coasteering and SLT

 I have spent the last couple of weeks working for Dolawen and Sea2Summit on multi-activity adventure weeks. I have spent plenty of time by the sea side on the cliffs and zawns of Anglesey. Both Sea Level Traversing (SLT) staying dry with clip lines, ropes and Tyroleans and Coasteering, wetsuited up enjoying the swell, climbs and jumps. The NW tip of Anglesey has an amazing coastline from secluded bays and beautiful sandy beaches to towering quartzite rock cliffs. There are numerous venues to do these activities depending on conditions and group ability.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

15-06-11, Pembroke - Rock Climbing

Jake cruising 'Test Case' E3 5c at St Govan's Head.

I have been doing some work in Cheshire at Bolesworth Castle last week and some more normal work at Arthog Outdoor Education Centre this weekend, on a multi-activity course with a primary school from Shrewsbury. Matt. Andy and I managed to do some cragging after work on Saturday at the steep and bold Bird Crag, we climbed a couple of routes before the sun dissappeared. Plenty of rain in Snowdonia Sunday through to today, so I went to Pembroke with Steve. Glorious weather probably too hot! The range is closed 24 7 throughout June and July and with a rough sea we headed to St Govan's Head, Trevellan and St Govan's East. We climbed many routes between HVS and E2 and got pumped (Pembroke pump!).

Monday, 6 June 2011

06-06-11, Craig Doris, Lleyn Penninsula - Rock Climbing

More fair weather in Snowdonia over the last few days. I was working for Plas y Brenin at the weekend on a Mountain Leader refresher course. The weekend was designed to cover all of the aspects of the ML syllabus within 2 days, we mainly concentrated on Navigation, Rope Work and Leadership. Today I have been rock climbing on the Lleyn Penninsula at Craig Doris with Andrew. We climbed a crazy 4 pitch route with 2 outrageous traverse breaks - Knowing Her / Fascinating Witches / Scintillating Stitches E2 5b,5a,5a,5b. Very fun and enjoyable, with good holds, gear and only slightly friable rock!

Craig Doris 

 Fascinating Witches R-L traverse.

Friday, 3 June 2011

03-06-11, North Wales Rock - Trad Climbing

 Llyn Idwal and Pen yr Ole Wen.

This week I have been working for a local Ogwen centre called Dolawen (Dorothy Stringer High School) on a multi activity course - kayaking, rock climbing and hill walking for year 9 students. The weather has been fine, some drizzle but generally dry with light winds. On Wednesday myself and Will went to Gogarth and climbed on the Upper Tier, back to Gogarth with Steve on Thursday to Main Cliff with a calm sea. Today I have been out in Ogwen with Tom and Steve, initial plan was to climb in Llanberis Pass but parking was an issue. Cwm Idwal turned out to be a great plan, sun and shade, climbing in a t-shirt! Very hot today, but still some wet seepage lines about.
 Tom on his was to dispatching Demetreus E3 6a.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

26-05-11, Carneddau, Snowdonia - Expedition

 Carnedd Llywellyn with Crag Yrsfa.

The last few days I have been working with students from Wiltshire College. The 3 day programme involved a 2 day expedition with a wild camp and a day of rock climbing and gorge walking. Tuesday and Wednesday we walked over the Carneddau over Pen yr Llithrig Wrach and Pen yr Helig Du. Today we went rock climbing at Clogwyn Cyrau above Betws y Coed followed by ascending Afon Ddu gorge. The weather on the expedition was glorious, dry but windy and today it has turned slightly wet! Mountain crags will be out of action for climbing, rivers should still be paddleable tomorrow, or maybe Tremadog may be dry?! 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

22-05-11, Learning to Lead Climb - Tremadog, Snowdonia

This weekend I have been working for Sea2Summit on a Learn to Lead Rock Climbing course. The weather has been blustery and  very mixed, so Tremadog has been the venue of choice. Rachael had never climbed a single Trad route until this weekend. With an indoor and sport climbing background the aim was to get used to gear, how to place, extract and build belays and place runners. Saturday we climbed numerous VS and HVS routes and looked at seconding, taking out gear, building belays ad staying safe. Today with another belay partner; Tim, she got tied into the sharp end and led 3 pitches.

Over the last couple of weeks the weather has been wet and dry, despite this I have managed to get out climbing for myself after work, either in the slate quarries or by the coast, Gogarth and Penmean Head.

 Steve on Wild Rover E1 5b at Rhoscolyn.

Matt leading Blue Peter, E4 5c (North Stack Wall) and a team on The Grasper, E2 5c (Tremadog).

Sunday, 8 May 2011

06-05-11, Snowdonia and Peak District - Rock Climbing

I got back from the Alps at the start of May. There appears to have been a draught in North Wales - so better get out onto those north facing usually damp mountain crags! I have done some work for Plas y Brenin on a NNAS (National Navigation Award Scheme) Silver Award and Gorge Scrambling for Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure. Last week was warm but also breezy and the crags very dry. I have been climbing in the Llanberis Pass, Moelwyns and on Llech Ddu (The Groove - photos below). Thursday and Friday I have been in the Peak District climbing on the limestone in Dove Dale. Unfortunately the weather has changed and we have had blustery rain and general wetness over the weekend. No doubt there will be somewhere dry to climb near the coast next week!

April 2011 - Switzerland, France - Ski Touring and Sport Climbing

Kathryn and myself spent April in Switzerland and France doing a mixture of ski touring and sport climbing. It was very hot almost too hot for most of the time. Snowfall in the alps has been very small this season, we probably had more in Scotland! A combination of heat, lack of snow and huts being full had to think about where to go. Helena and Chris joined us for a 2 day tour from Arolla to Dix hut and over Pigne d'Arolla. Then we moved over to ski the West Oberland tour, starting from Diaberlets to Leukabad - a 6 day tour with 4 peaks. Fortunately we had a day of powder at the start and most other days were good visibility. After skiing we wanted to do some sport climbing we headed to Provence in France. We spent just over a week visiting lots of crags from Orpierre to Buoux and getting in plenty of rock millage.