Winter Mountaineering Weekend

Oli climbing Central Trinity - Snowdon
Oli climbing Central Trinity - Snowdon

I had some old friends up from Bournemouth this weekend, I used to take them out on the hills many years ago when I was first qualifying as an instructor. They came up to do some scrambling but with the snow on the hills we went winter climbing instead.

On saturday, we went to do Sinister Gully, but the snow seemed a little weird at the bottom so we opted for the Parson’s Nose. Which I have done many times in summer but never in winter. As a winter route its just as good and has some great short technical problems. We check the snow at the top of the gully we wanted to climb and it was much better.

David climbing Central Trinity - Snowdon
David climbing Central Trinity - Snowdon

We descended down Crib Y Drysgl and bum slid down from Blwch Coch. I cooked a lovely mexican meal that evening and got a few more friends over, and tried not to over indulge.

Today we head up to the Trinity face where it was much colder, and snow was better. We headed up Central Trinity, and I got my friend to rope together and lead it. They moved together until they wanted a belay and then taught them T-Axe belays and they climbed 4 pitches to the top. Where I showed them a stomper belay, before heading back down to Pen Y Pass.

I got the feeling that they really enjoyed there weekend.

Mark’s Mountain Flapjack

Well a rest day meant I had time to explore cooking some flapjack. I had been give a basic recipe, but decided to spice it up a little. The rough recipe was

Bring to the Boil – 250g Butter (about one block, save some for greasing the baking tin), 250g Brown Sugar, 300g Treacle, 50g Black Treacle, 4tsp cocoa powder.

Add 150g of dessicated coconut, and 500g of oats, and mix well.

Put in a well greased non-stick tin and cook for 20 to 30 minutes at Gas Mk 4.

Allow to cool, and then do battle with the tin, to get the lovely chocolate and coconut flapjack out. (It might be better to use some grease proof paper, but its not something that I have usually!). Once out, cut up and try not to eat all of it before you head out into the mountains. You will also need a panel beater to re-shape the baking tray!

Anyway looking forward to using my bespoke hill food this weekend.

If you have any recipes for me, I am super keen on my cooking at the moment, off to cook a nice curry now for tea!

Get Well Soon

I heard yesterday that a colleague of mine and fellow freelancer had a serious fall whilst what sounds like soloing on Ben Nevis on Wednesday. Whilst i haven’t got the whole story (BBC) it sounds like he fell a considerable distance off the Ben.

It was really quite surreal as I was watching the news the night before I found out and saw a man been rushed from the Helicopter to the Ambulance in Fort William. The speed of the transfer had impressed me, and the sense of urgency in the teams eyes, made me think that the situation was serious. Little did I know it was someone I knew.

I wish him well, as i imagine he will need all his strength and determination to pull through such an ordeal. As it happened on the Ben, I suspect that some the people we both work with may well have been on the mountain and possibly on the scene when it happened, and my thoughts go out to them as well. Trauma is a hard thing to deal with and it has been a costly winter in Scotland so far.

I was turned down for a job last year because I lack winter qualifications, based on the back of this season, I am not sure I will be pursuing those winter awards despite what it means for my employability. In fact I am not sure I will ever go to Scotland in winter again, it just seems way to serious for me. Wales seems to have all I need, and somehow feels less serious.

If you read this I wish you a speedy recovery, and look forward to some tea and cakes back at the office one day.

The Rock Archivist

I have ranted on here in the past about the Mountain Heritage Trust, and how they have seemed to take the BMC, and in a way the members of the BMC’s money and not really given much back to climbers in return. After I blogged on this a while back I was contacted by someone who knew of Phil Kelly’s project to put on line as many new routes books as possible online.

The site is called the Rock Archivist and what he has achieved in his own time and at his own expense is a simply wonderful. A site that has a total wealth of climbing history. The actual pages of several key new routes book from around the UK. As well as some great personal accounts and photos from various sources.

The news of the site was announced today on UKC, and I have to say it will hopefully turn into a great new resource for anyone who wants to look at the history of our great sport. What I really hope is that the people who are involved with teh Mountain Heritage Trust look at what can be achieved, and use the £15000 a year of BMC members money to put those archive materials they have online.

The site at the moment is just egtting going. I know Phil has a few things planned, inparticular a search facility, and seeing that the route name, area and ascentionist are all stored in a database linked to the appropriate page(s). It will really set the site on fire for looking at specific routes or climbers. At the moment though the site almost invites you to browse, and just explore some of these historic books.

Castell Helen afternoon

Beware out there!
Beware out there!

Spent this afternoon at Castell Helen, running up Light House Arete Direct and the top pitch of Rap, both VS. The weather wasn’t too good the sun that was shining when we left Llanberis was gone by the time we arrived at the crag. On the crag the wind wasn’t too bad, and you could really feel the warmth in the breeze compared to the more recent knifing northerlies.

It was great to get to Gogarth so early in the year, my climbing partner found the atmosphere rather more exciting than a normal cliff. Considering it was her first sea cliff experience, it is not surprising that it felt rather exposed. The sea was fairly lively, although not as bad as i have seen, when I had to belay 40 ft above the usual belay niche because of the waves.

A great afternoon out though.


Twelve Bottles of wine and a roll of Duck tape

My day started early, as I had to drive to rochdale to attend a BMC coaching workshop. I quickly hit a problem when my van refused to start, as the battery has been destroyed by the cold weather. So after calling the AA out they eventually got it started with a separate battery. Although in the process nearly broke the imobiliser, and as I discovered on the return journey, they also managed to unplug my windscreen wipers, not a good thing to discover in a snow storm on the motorway. Fortunately, I managed to plug it back in and get going.

The workshop was ace, and I am looking forward to the twelve or more bottles of wine I need to drink to get all the corks I need, as well as the gaffa tape I need to ‘Change the Medium’. I will write more on the workshop over on my coaching blog.

My drive back was exciting as it was snowing heavily on the A55 around Llandudno, so much so I had to phone up a friend in Llanberis and get a weather report, as I feared it was going to be deep by the time I got there. No such luck, as it was just sleet in the village.

Vivian Quarry Day

Looking out from the top of Last Tango in Paris - E1

Spent another day ticking more routes in Vivian Quarry, climbing Psychotherapy within 24 hours of the last time I climbed it. This time it was in the sun, and out of the wind, which made vivian quarry a top venue choice for today.

We also climbed Last Tango in Paris, Comes the Dervish and The Madness.

Sarah following Last Tango in Paris - E1
Sarah following Last Tango in Paris - E1
Last Tango in Paris
Last Tango in Paris
Psychotherapy - E2
Psychotherapy - E2
The Awesome Comes the Dervish - E3
The Awesome Comes the Dervish - E3


Well, after having watched Eastenders Live 25th Anniversary on Friday (How awesome was that!), I went on to get rather drunk after finishing a 7 day stint of work. The weather on Saturday was meant to be poor, so we opted to go climbing on Sunday instead. So Saturday revolved around seeing my friend and there kids in the morning, before cooking some tiffin, a chocolate cake and a Shepherds Pie to fill up said friends. A couple of beers again, and I was ready for bed at about nine o’clock, a very poor show, but after a week of night nav and camping I was shattered.

Sunday morning I had left the house by 9am, Llion and I had an ambitious plan for a days cragging, however the sun didn’t appear to dry off the crags around LLanberis, so we headed to the coast, and saw a promise of some sun towards Llandudno.

We climbed seven routes at Castle Inn before heading to Penmean Head, unfortunately the sun hadn’t quite come one the crag so, Llion manage two route there, I only seconded one, as it was too cold in the shade, and the clouds seemed to have won the battle, we then came back to Vivain Quarry and climbed Mental Lentils and Psycholtherapy.

So despite a cold day we manage a fair few routes. 10/11 in total.

Anyway I had a few funny images I had taken on my phone over the last week or so. However there is a problem because A, I can’t find the lead that plugs phone into computor, and B, The bluetooth connection seems to be screwed.

Team Lithuainia

Well I have been useless the last couple of days. Recovering from the 6 days work on an Mountain Leader Training Course, I then had another surprise day work on a climbing course for Lithuainian Instructors. It was a great day and after a terrifying drive through snow that appeared from nowhere. As my colleague said for a moment it was literally puking snow.

Did a fair amount of climbing for myself when at Indy Wall, we did some ace bouldering, and having not been there for months it was like a bunch of new problems, and all were excellent as ever. I managed to climb a couple of V6 and one V7 in very quick time, and failed just short of the finishing jugs on a V8. So I felt rather strong.

ML Training: Days 4,5 & 6

Well the last three days of the ML training course went by, including my two day mini break and over night camp. Which wasn’t as bad as expected as not only did it cloud over, but also my five season Mammut/Adjunalak sleeping bag really did the deed in keeping me toasty warm.

I was expecting a day off tomorrow, but it looks like I will have to head into work again, as someone is off sick at PYB, so I get to teach climbing to some lithuains. A friend has reliably informed that Labas in hello in their tongue. Although probably means something rude!

Went to the climbing wall this evening and was climbing well despite feeling exhausted. I was doing circuits again. Which is getting to be a joke with a few friends who know we are all training for Yosemite and big walling by going bouldering!

Anyway Pete Robins turned up at the wall, which felt like Wayne Ronney turning up to your Sunday Knock around with your mates (not that he isn’t a mate). He is still on fire after Liquid Ambar. He is ridiculously strong, and great fun as ever to be burnt off by.

One day, hopefully not to far away, I will unleash my beacon power endurance onto real sports climbing and see if all the effort has paid off, and turn that 8a dream into a reality.

I have been collect stories in the papers, and funny pictures that have amused me over the last week, hopefully I will get round to putting them up if I can find five minutes to do so. Although I just want my own bed at the moment, so Nos Da (Good Night) as they say in Wales.