A day at Tremadog

Well I was was working again today, although not sure I would call it ‘work’ as such. In fact one of my clients asks what I did for my real job! Well surprise, surprise this is my ‘real’ job. Anyway I was working with three members of the Ceunant Moutnaineering Club, who had both myself and Andy Newton booked for some instruction/coaching.

What I did with my guys was a bit of an MOT in reality, they were doing things totally fine, so I gave them a few energy saving tips, but essentially they could all place gear and make a belay safely. So what they honestly need is the opportunity to practice. This has been highlighted by my study where the elite engage in climbing activity far more frequently than recreational climbers.
We ticked off a few of the usual routes, BoBo slab to start followed by Obleron and then with an hour left to spare we nipped up Christmas Curry. I managed to drop, well my belay plate unclipped itself when one of my guys flaked there rope out, that’s my story so I am sticking to it. So there a DMM V-twim at the bottom of Chrimbo Cuzza.
We climb until 5 which was nice as the weather held out, a rare occurrence not to be heading back to tea and medals at the institution. As a result my sugar levels are really low. 
This evening Rob Greenwood came round to collect some Big Wall gear for Sam the tree man. People often ask if I worry about loan out gear. My guess is that I don’t having loaned a cam 1.5 to a total stranger yesterday to climb the Dervish and sent Sam away with a Haul bag, Portaledge and other big wall hardware. Although I have to say the Portaledge actually belongs to Kevin Thaw. He loaned me it a few years back. However he has turned down efforts for me to return it, as such I feel that with such pedigree, the ledge deserves to be up there on the wall as much as possible.
It has had more holidays that me. I think it has achieve new routes in Alaska and Patagonia since I ‘borrowed’ it. As well as the odd trip to Yosemite and elsewhere. Hopefully I’ll get it all back for my trip back to Yosemite next September!

Last Minute Push for Participants

I received a phone call from the Beacon today, unfortunately they have to remove my problems for a competition next week, as such I have to finish data collection for my thesis by Thursday night. If you are available to be a participant then please contact me on my mobile 07872565225.

I would like to take this oppotunity to thank the beacon climbing centre for all the support they have given this project, in terms of letting me use the facility and basically occupy one of there wall for four months. 
Anyhow I am super keen to get as many people through in the next few days as possible. 

Climbing Fitness

I have just put a post up over on my coaching blog, I seem to spend too much time blogging about life at the moment, however when I eventually finish my thesis, the Slate guide and the how to climb harder book I hope to concentrate on both a bit more. Especially now that the BMC has finally recognised and endorsed the setting up of a parallel system of coaching awards.

It has been a long hard path that took over three years to get to a decision, however at the last National Council meeting all objections were noted and most seemed to have been overridden. The future is here, well not here but definitely on its way, it might seem like a dot on the horizon, but at least they can see land.

There was a good article by Martin Chester in Summit that I picked up today, along with a few more of my pictures on Mountain Rescue, that accompany another Ed Douglas article on the future of Mountain Rescue. Anyway I have to get back to number crunching and all that. Hope you enjoy the coaching article, it is mainly the links that take you to the really detail of the training body and mind.

Thesis Work

For the last few days I have been a world of number crunching for my thesis, I have a couple more people to test, but I am starting to look at the main analysis, as well as checking that the experimental manipulation are valid. I have to say that it looks good at the moment, as there seems to be a degree of significance in the effects that we were looking for.

Of interest to climber is the difference between the Elite and recreational climbers, as the main difference appears to be the amount of participation in both climbing and bouldering. With the Elite participating more than twice a week on average, whilst the recreational climbers only climb up to twice a week.
My average grade of the recreational climber was E2/F6c, whilst the Elite weighed in at E5/F7c+. I will no doubt post up the results when I get them, although I might have to explain them a little. I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Gwynedd Councils Anti-Tourism Plan: PYG Parking Continued

Nant Peris Park and Ride, overflowing into the road on Saturday and 5.30pm! it was full by 8.30am. Not my finest photo!

Well, what can i say. This weekend was carnage at the Pen Y Grwryd, after the council decided to reduce the amount of roadside parking around the area the inevitable has happen. The parking problem has simple moved further down the road. A road that gets narrower, so in essence was virtually reduced to a single lane. It took an age returning from Tremadog, to make the last 500 metres to PYG. 

Having arrived at the junction there is a road work as present, apparently to supply electricity to a proposed Pay and Display metre. I think the council must have brought a job lot of them as they seem to be putting them everywhere. Now whats really funny is that the “illegal” parking will not doubt continue. Given that this weekend was not during the busy summer holidays yet parking was still at a premium, just makes me think what it would have been like if the summer had actually been nice.

The Traffic and Road Side Park sprawling down Nant Gwynant, thanks to the council blocking the roadside parking.
The last Pay and Display metre to be put up in that valley, at the bottom of the Watkin Path, was torn up and found half a mile away. Apparently the police question the whole village! Imaginative work guys.
Now for those that might not agree with me, the other option for people visiting the area is the designated Park and ride that is in Nant Peris. Unfortunately this was full at 8.30am on Saturday. So basically there is a totally inadequate system for parking in the area for Snowdon. Yet the Council responsible still keeps reducing the number still further.
People will do what one Tourist reported to me, which was just accept that they are going to get a parking fine and park right outside Pen Y Pass. With four people in a car they paid £7 each. given that it is £3 per person for the park and ride, plus the few quid for parking, and the inconvenience of waiting for the bus. they felt fine about the fine! 
If I was a militant kind of a guy, i would suggest that a few people head over there with a few shovels and dig the bump away that stops people parking, or of course find a friend with a digger to do a midnight excavation!

One lane traffic due to Roadside Parking, but where else were they going to Park, everybody deserves the chance to enjoy Snowdonia National Park, but unless they are provided with appropriate parking, what is the solution?

Lead Climb Coaching

Well its been a great weekend, due to the parking issues in the Pass we had to get a drop off to the Crouchan on a beautiful morning. I had my guys lead the first pitch of Spectre for a warm up, then I shot up Phantom Rib so they could lead that. What an awesome route, that is. I forgot how exposed and nice the ‘rib’ is.

After that we headed over to Brant direct, i ran up Brant to fix a rope to work of my students bridged and jammed his way to victory. With time to spare and the crag starting to fill up with people who had walked in from the CC hut or Nant Peris, we finally went up Nea, as the other pair of students had where leading it, so we had a rope already fixed which saved time.
A great weekend weather, and looking at the forecast, after a brief damp patch on Tuesday another High Pressure is coming in. So get your racks out, the summer is finally here. Fortunately the kids are back at school.
I would have got some photos but i left my £2000 camera in the staff room!! Had to phone the centre to have it put somewhere safe after I got to the crag and realised my stupidity!

Lead Climb Coaching: Today in Pictures!

Spiders Web draped in dew

As predicted today was amazing weather wise, I nearly missed it because I apparently need to go back to the manual for my phone and learn to set the alarm so it actually goes off at 7am, rather than goes off silently! Hope the pictures show just how great my day has been!

Snowdon from Plas Y Brenin this morning

Owain (O-whine) on Obleron

Owain on Obleron

Owain belays on top of Obleron

The team Topping out on Obleron

Owain tackles the first pitch of Yogi

Owain reaches for the rock four placement

Yogi – again

The Double Wammy

Pete Robins seconding me (a rare occurence, as I use him and caff as extreme rock guides) on Release From Treatment E6 Rainbow Slab. Incidentally on the same day that the photos were taken of me on the route by Ian Parnell for Pete’s Slate article.

Well, I ran into Jack G today whilst I was out with my friends kids, collecting more kids from the local school. Don’t us climbers know how to have fun. Anyway, it is a form of release from the real world for me, a chance to throw stones in the lake, watch the train, enjoy the sunshine and of course play on the swings!

Anyway, Jack mentioned that I have a contents page picture in CLIMB magazine this month, now given that I was very surprised to get an entire article, as well as the cover shot in Climber, it was a total double wammy for me to hear that CLIMB had chosen one of my images. It was a surprise as I hadn’t given them any images for months. I think it is the image above but I haven’t seen the magazine yet, as I went straight from the playground to a friends to go for a little bike ride.

That little bike ride was a little bit longer than I was expecting, we basically cycled for 2 hours along a sustrans cycle path from Cearnarfon to Portmadog, we decided to turn around when we saw the sun starting to get really close to setting and a sign that said cricceth 4 miles. Totally goosed now, but made up. What a few days, with the sun coming out finally, its seems that we are now well and truly into the post-monsoon season in North Wales, as summer seems to have arrived.

Can’t wait to be at work tomorrow, Lead Climb Coaching at PYB, if the weather holds up like it has the last couple of days it will be an amazing weekend!

Onsight – In fright

Mark Reeves about to blow it on Private Smells!

So there I was stood on a good hold, looking back at the last bolt in the distance. I thought about the climbing I had to commit to to get that first bolt clipped, and here I am again, to my right is another good foot hold to get on, but the rock over seems totally committing. Like the first move, I knew I could clip from that hold once stood up, but looking back again the swing looks like it will be painful, as the slabs is cut off right below my feet.

I go back and forth trying to build up the courage to commit to the next move, each time I back off. I step up again just to check the holds, and accidentally check too well and my foot pops of the hold I was happily stood on, I am now committed to the rock-over. Shit, I have come on holiday by mistake again!

Lovely Summers Evening

Standing up I clip the bolt with the sort of relief you only get from those pseudo life and death moments. Stood on my little haven of safety I have a choice, head left bold to a bolt miles away or teeter further up to another bolt, harder but the bolt is closer. The guidebook was safely on book shelf, so there is no reading which is the easier line. One way is E5 the other E4.
I haven’t been climbing very much, but had just climbed the Madness E1 and One Step Beyond E3. I was hoping to climb the E4, but my desperation for another bolt lead me unbeknown at the time up the E5. As I battled the Simon and Michelle shouted encouragement, but the higher up I got the more my resolve dwindle. I eventually fell off after making a real gripper clipper of a bolt. My foot popping off a surprising polished hold for such an esoteric route.
I tried to man up a couple of times, but my mojo eluded me, I headed down happy to be alive, so if you want a free DMM carabiner it is hanging on the last bolt on Private Smells. Which apparently has some 6b climbing on it!

Simon Lake on One Step Beyond

Climber Article

Well for those that weren’t reading my blog when i went stateside on holiday earlier this year then there is a rather fine (if I do say so myself) article on mine and Llion’s road trip across the states. I hope you enjoy the read. If you go back in the archives may/june, you will find more info, photos and stories from our amazing trip.

Really chuffed that I got the double whammy of a full article and cover shot! I have appeared on covers before, but for a photographer there is no greater prize than getting an image you have taken onto the cover of a Climbing Magazine.
Anyway it is in shops now!