Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Friday, 9 November 2012

09/11/12, Gower, South Wales - Rock Climbing

Dry Riser, Juniper Wall, excellent HVS routes, going across and up.
Scotland looked to be warming up by Monday evening, which it did, so I missed the early season winter action, but it didn't matter. I have had a few great days rock climbing on the Gower in South Wales. It is like a chilled, smaller, quiet Pembroke. Nothing too hard, most routes in the new select guide were sub E2 and we climbed loads of routes from Diff - E1 on 6 different cliffs, some where vertical and non-tidal with numerous girdle opportunities, some were slabby and on the beach. It didn't have loads of classic routes but still it was very enjoyable. Considering it was November, the weather was fair, cold, but not too bad, fine enough to climb a few trad routes with mid stances.

Enjoying another girdle! Fellowship of the Ring E1 5c at Paviland.

The Worm, (Norse word 'Verm' - sea monster)!

You are never far from a clean sandy beach on the Gower.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

October 2012, Antalya, Turkey - Rock Climbing

Geyikbayiri -  at least 2 minutes walk from the campsite!

Alabalik, Geyikbayiri.
 I have been in Turkey for 12 days, rock climbing in Antalya. A great trip with loads of good quality, un-polished, sharp limestone. It was a great base for a hot rock sport climbing trip. The camp site is situated in the middle of the crags, you can walk for 2 minutes to get to them or 15 if you want to push the boat out! It has only been climbed on since 2000 so there is still loads of potential for new routes, I expect the guide book will be double the size in 5 years or so. The rock is un-polished and sharp, and it has been well bolted. Plenty of variety, something for everyone grade 5-8s, vertical walls, plenty of steep walls, upside down stuff, tufas and caves. It was too hot to climb in the midday sun at first - 35 degrees, but we also had some rain. We climbed everyday, there are plenty of caves to hang out in, with reasonable routes which extend into upside down harder things! Olympos was a great day out by the sea, with a slightly different style of vertical, steep crimpy climbing. I will definitely go back one day.
Very good quality routes Geyikbayiri.

Olympos, more excellent quality rock, slightly more vertical / steep than upside down. Good crimps and crozzly pockets.

Plenty of caves in Geyikbayiri to hide from the sun or rain.

Exotic critter, Praying Mantis.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Summer 2012 - Alps and UK - Mountaineering and Rock Climbing

Funffingerspitze, Dolomites 
It has been a busy summer, working in Snowdonia for most of the time, split between Outdoor Education with 10-16 year olds and teaching adults navigation, and how to rock climb. The weather hasn't been great but I have still managed to get out a bit. Tremadog and Gogarth have held up to their sunny and warm(ish) reputation. Kath and I headed over to the Alps at the end of August start of September. Started with Swiss granite at Grimmsel and Andermat. A week of glorious sunshine, we climbed the Salbit via Sudgrat and some fine granite slabs in the Grimmsel pass. The weather turned cold and snowed so we had a few days cragging low, then went east to the Dolomites, which stayed dry and warm for the rest of our trip. We mainly climbed classic grade IV and Vs highlights Funffingerspitz and Falzerago Towers.

Grimmsel pass granite slab climbing.

Summit of Salbit
Salbit, Sudgrat

Saturday, 12 May 2012

12-05-12, Gorge Walking and Rock Climbing - Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure

Today I have been out with Lindsay and Dave. Glorious weather, and very busy in the park this weekend. A day out with Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure was a birthday present for Dave, so he requested a gorge walk and rock climbing. This morning we climbed a couple of multi pitch rock routes on Tryfan Bach, then to the Afon Ddu gorge to cool off. The gorge was a at a great level today, plenty of powerful waterfalls and slides.
Tryfan Bach, very user friendly, Ogwen Valley

Afon Ddu Gorge, roped section.

Afon Ddu gorge slides

Big waterfall power.

Belly flop power!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

06-05-12, Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure - Rock Climbing, Coasteering, Gorge Walking

Over the weekend, we had team Au Pair in Snowdonia, doing a range of outdoor activities. The girls had never been to Wales so enjoyed the weekend of sunshine and adrenaline!

Rock Climbing on Holyhead Mountain.

Gorge Walking in Afon Ddu
Coasteering in a chilly May Irish Sea.

There is still some availability for Group Outdoor Activities in Snowdonia, visit to arrange a group adventure.

Friday, 20 April 2012

20-04-12, Porth Dafarch, Anglesey - Rock Climbing

Fisherman's Friend, HS classic Gogarth South Esoterica!

It has been cold, and showery in Snowdonia the last few days, even a new dusting of snow on the Carneddau! I have been doing some sport climbing on the a55 crags yesterday, Dyserth crags are worth a look if your near St Asaph. Today heavy rain in the morning followed by sunshine and warmth at Holyhead. Kath and I had a look at a little crag called Porth y Garan, then went to seek out Fisherman's Friend at Porth Dafarch, very good, a little jem! The headed to Castell Ellen and climbed Rap - a good afternoon.

Monday, 16 April 2012

16-04-12, Pembroke - Rock Climbing

Pembroke Peaks!
 I have had a hectic couple of weeks since leaving Scotland. A few days work for Snowdonia Outdoor Adventure with Family, Friends and School groups. Mainly Rock Climbing and Gorge Walking, the weather has been cold and wintry, with snow still on the mountains in very small patches. I have had a long weekend in Pembroke climbing with Kath. Saturday was very wet, but cleared up late afternoon allowing us to get a few routes done. Sunday was ace ticking classic routes on range east, a few teams out but not busy! The bird ban has been lifted on Mowing Word so we went there today and climbed the classic Deidre Sud and a few quality gems on the right hand side of the crag.
Riders on the Storm, Classic.

More Riders on the Storm, Stennis Head, Pembroke.

Bludgeon, Stennis Head, Pembroke

The Curver, Mowing Word. Good route, probably often overlooked.

Friday, 30 March 2012

30-03-12, Agag's Groove, Buachaille Etive Mor, Glen Coe - Scottish Rock Climbing

The top of Crowberry Ridge.
 I have spent the last few days cragging, locally near Grantown and slightly less locally near Aberdeen, on some glorious granite sea cliffs, worth a shifty, check out the NE Outcrops guide! Today I was out with Stephen and Andy again, day 2 of their winter climbing course. Last time we were getting involved with some icy cave action on Gardyloo Gully, since then its been scorchio, and I suggested that it would be rude not to go rock climbing in the mountains! Agag's Groove, VD on Rannoch Wall, Buachaille Etive Mor was the route, and what a fine route it is. 4 Pitches of great steep, exposed and sustained (by VD standards) climbing. We thought about abseiling down to climb January Jigsaw also, but seen as we were on a tight schedule and the sun came out with blue skies, we scrambled the rest of Crowberry ridge to the summit. Quality!

Pitch 3 of Agag's Groove, Rannoch Wall

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

27-03-12, The Needle, Shelterstone, Cairngorms - Scottish Rock Climbing

The mighty, Shelterstone Crag.
More classic rock routes on the mountain crags of Scotland. Today The Needle on Shelterstone. This route is a blast from start to finish, it certainly lived up to the hype! The whole crag is seriously impressive, good quality granite all the way up 250m or so. I can't wait to get back there! There was another team here today, all bone dry and not really that cold in the shade either. A few teams were climbing on Stag Rocks and Hells Lum which are in the sun nearly all day, a few teams also climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda.

The Needle, halfway up.

The Needle final crack pitch.

Loch Avon.


Hells Lum, drying out - it is in the sun for most of the day!

Monday, 26 March 2012

25-03-12, Hammer/Trapeze, Glen Etive, Glen Coe - Scottish Rock Climbing

Hammer, Etive Slabs. The cheeky bold scoop followed by the sublime lay back corner crack.
The high pressure is firmly over us in Scotland and most probably the rest of the UK. Its halfway through March but the Mountain crags are in primo rock climbing condition! If you have work on this week, don't go, unless your crag is the office. Visit Mountain Expertise for more on this. I have had a great weekend with Francis climbing on the West. Hammer on Etive Slabs on Saturday - a most excellent lay back crack line, with some cheeky forays onto the bold slabs occasionally to heighten the senses! Sunday it was up to the west face of Aonach Dubh. We had hoped to climb The Big Top but there was already a team on it with another getting ready. We climbed Trapeze, which was brilliant - 4 pitches the last 3 giving good quality sensational climbing sometimes exposed and pumpy. The crag is dry and was very warm in the shade, the sun catches it in the afternoon.

Ben Starav, Glen Etive.

Best footpath in Scotland? The Rhyolite Romp, under west face of Aonach Dubh.

Awesome situation on The Big Top.

Trapeze, Aonach Dubh, Glen Coe - the 3rd slab pitch.

The Big Top, Aonach Dubh, Glen Coe - last pitch.

Funky Rhyolite.

Friday, 23 March 2012

23-03-12, Ardverikie Wall, Central Highlands - Scottish Rock Climbing

Ardverikie Wall, HS 4b, Scottish Mega route!
Another day in this prime Scottish rock climbing season of mid March! This time another 4 star must do classic; which has been on my hit list for quite awhile - Ardverikie Wall HS 4b 185m. Katie and I had a leisurely 11:30 start from the car park lay by, fine weather throughout the day, a slight occasional breeze, but nothing to complain about. The route was ace, 5 very good pitches on immaculate rock, ranging from vertical jugs, to delicate slabs, very interesting to climb. The guidebook claims it to be the best route of its grade in the country and I have to agree!

Up the pillar of rock just right if centre.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

22-03-12, Magic Crack, Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairngorms - Scottish Rock Climbing

Coire an t-Sneachda
 I have spent the last couple of days wandering in the very hot and dry Cairngorm hills. The sun has been very enjoyable. Crags are dry, Hells Lum is soaking wet with the continuously dripping snow patch above it, Stag Rocks obviously dry, Coire an t-Sneachda very dry, as looked Shelterstone if a little shady! The Ptarmigan are starting to change colour. Today Katie and I went to Coire an t-Sneachda to climb the classy Magic Crack. It did not disappoint absolute class! **** all the way, the top pitch was sublime, very similar to Regular Route on Fairview Dome in Toloumne Meadows, California, and that is regarded as 1 of the 50 best climbs in North America! The sun was on the face from midday as well, a pleasant summer ascent in March - ridiculous! After that we climbed Fingers Ridge with the slightly wandering direct start. Again enjoyable. Some fairy loose jenga style blocks when you bust out to join the original line with winter scratches everywhere; to be honest it probably would make a better winter route. The Magic Crack however probably a better rock route. Hopefully this glorious weather is going to hang around for some more mountain cragging.
Katie cruising the very fine final finger crack of Magic Crack.

**** Magic Crack, HVS 5a, Coire an t-Sneachda.

Fingers Ridge.