A Baking Day

Stevie won’t be impressed, as I have managed to get as many bad things into two cakes as humanly possible. In total I have used five bars of chocolate, two packets of digestive biscuits, one and a half slabs of butter, a good half bag of sugar, and a splash of treacle. Hopefully I have made one edible pudding for dinner tonight.

Pudding one is a Chocolate Banoffee Pie with Cream, (oops forgot all the cream!) however most of the toffee has been clean from the fridge after it leaked out the bottom of the cake tin!! So in back up is Chocolate Brownie. Neither of which are going to help me get up an 8a!

A,U,O,D,F,C,K,E – observations from the edge

9 out of 10 people saw the obvious
9 out of 10 people saw the obvious

I have been out and about and found a few things worthy of bringing to your attention. I saw this linked on UKC, thaanks whoever popped that one up! Priceless!

Back Country Pooing for Generation X
Back Country Pooing for Generation X

I was made aware of this product by a person on an ML training course, I am not sure if Apple have taken legal action for breaching the copyright of there iPod, although they music/video player is pretty poo for digging a poo pit.Not as funny as my friends rucsac!

The Backdoor from Camp!
The Backdoor from Camp!

I really think that the Italian outdoor equipment manufacturer need to employ someone English when they come to naming there products, as I am not too sure whether they realised the pun they made when they name the Backdoor rucsac by Camp.

Snowdonia Rock Climbing Courses

Learning to Lead Climb Week 10th -14th May 2010

This course is design to teach you the essential skills and techniques required to lead on traditional leader placed protection in the UK, and beyond. During the week we will cover movement technique on rock, placing runners, making belays, reading guidebook, and the tactics for efficient lead climbing.

Cost £500 – Non-residential only. 1 to 2 ratio

Performance Rock Climbing Coaching Week 24th – 28th May 2010

This course is for people who have already been lead climbing, and have reach a plateaux and need to find a way to move through the grades. Ideally you will have led severe graded climbs or harder, and during the week we will look at finding your weaknesses and choosing routes that will help you to develop your tactics, technique, confidence and become a more efficient climber.

Cost £500 – Non-residential only. 1 to 2 ratio

The Complete Climber Weekend Workshop 29th – 30th May 2010

This weekend workshop looks at developing all aspect of your climbing through series of workshops that on the Saturday will help you to develop the technical skills of good footwork, balance and body position, along with some ropework. The Sunday look at developing the mental skills that climbers require for success.

Cost £150 – Non-residential only. 1 to 6 Ratio

Big Wall Climbing Workshop 17th – 18th April 2010

Learn the essential skills and techniques for big wall climbing, in places like Yosemite.


Private Guiding and Coaching – Throughout 2010

As well as set course we also run private guiding and instruction. These course can last any length of time and can include any number of routes like the Gogarth classic, Dream of White Horses or the iconic British sea stack The Old Man of Hoy. Alternatively you might want to have a personal coach on your next European sports climbing holiday. What these day will get you is straight to the heart of some of the best routes in North Wales and beyond, whilst at the same time learning how to climb harder and safer than ever before.

About Snowdonia Mountain Guides

Snowdonia Mountain Guides is run by Mark Reeves, a qualified Mountaineering instructor with over 10 years experience of teaching rock climbing in Snowdonia. As well as the Mountain Instructor Award, Mark has also attended several courses aimed at his continual professional development, including the BMC Fundementals and LTAD2: Learning to Training Workshops, The Plas Y Brenin Coaching Processes for Mountain Instructors Course, and most recently complete a Two Year Part-time Msc in Applied Sport Science, looking at the physiological and psychological demands of performance rock climbing and effective way to coach climbing. In the past five years as well as these academic and practical coaching courses, Mark has acriued hundreds of days experience of teaching rock climbing at various level for Plas Y Brenin, as well as performed to a very high standard on Rock, leading up to E5.

Writing a Cheque you just can’t Cash

After an appaulling afternoon watching the rain come down, and spot of cooking, it was my meatballs again. I went round to Jack ‘UKC’ Geldards house leaving party, for a few ales. A great night, but when the Tequila was brought out I knew it was going to be a bad one.

I left, well I don’t actually remember, but this morning I felt like I had written a cheque my body could cash. As it was meant to rain it didn’t seem a problem until now when the sky is currently blue.

Mental Block or Wrong Shaped Body?

I went out towards the coast this morning, in an effort to avoid the wall of hate that was bringing rain and misery with it. The tide was low at 9.30 so we got to Llandudno for 10am with the aim of doing a few routes before the tide forced a retreat. So as a warm up we headed down the far end of the crag for the F5+ and F6a’s.

Now I find that compared to every other sport crag I have visited this crag is sandbag central especially on the easier routes. The F5+ feels like a good 6a to me and the F6a feels like it should have a plus after it, it probably does, but I forgot the guidebook, so I had to go by two majorly flawed judgements, firstly the look of the route, and secondly and even more unreliable my memory.

Anyway it looks like we started on Golden Pond F5+, then moved onto Skin Game F6a+, before moving onto Skin Deep F6a+, which looking up looked very steep and intimidating, however, as you start to climb you realise that all the tiny holds you have grasped in the previous routes have somehow morph into hidden monster jugs. The route is more stunning than I remember, but it has been several years.

The tide was at our heels by this point so I decided to try a route that I have never ever been successful on. At only 6b, when I have failed on it before I have gone onto flash The Pink Pinkie Snuffs It F7a and Night Glue F7a+. I felt warmed up and confident, and wasn’t even pumped when I reach the move onto the head wall that has alluded me . At which point I flailed about for a few minutes desperately trying to fanthom out the move to a distant hold, and then I gave up.

I guess I have a serious psychological block on this route, or my body simply doesn’t fit the holds! In the past the I might have taken a serious knock of confidence, however I know my height can be and issue on some routes, or that’s my excuse!!!

Big Walling Course

Setting you up for Yosemite!
Setting you up for Yosemite!

I have just set up the following dates for a Big Walling Course, which will operate at a maximum of 1 to 4 ratio. The course will be based in and around Llanberis on the weekend of the 17th & 18th April.

The course is designed to set you up with all the basic big walling skills, so you can go out and tackle giant routes like the Nose of El Cap or the Regular Route on Half Dome. The course will cost £150 per person, and is non-residential. If you would like to find out more than please visit Snowdonia Mountain Guides or contact me via this website.

Lead Climb Coaching

With a rather soggy weekend up here in Snowdonia, it was an interesting time to be running a Lead Climb Coaching weekend for Plas Y Brenin. There were a couple of options, a. Take the group out in the rain or b. Be inventive in a climbing wall.

On saturday I went for option a. hoping that the forecast would bring a dry Sunday, when we could put all the wall work together. So headed for the Beacon, as there were a few climbing courses and group bookings using the Brenin Wall. My plan was to cover balance, body position, footwork, finding rest and climbing various features.

It went really well, and I used several things I have develop for my book as well as a few things that I have picked up on the  various coaching courses I have attended, as well as a few of the more psychological tricks of developing confidence and choosing an appropriate goal. The day went really well, and it was great to see the clients starting to apply some of the movement stuff on the lead in the wall.

It was interesting to have two people, and a blank sheet to see what they wanted to learn, and what it was possible to cover in an indoor wall. The two clients seemed to revel in all these new skills and techniques. What was really interesting was many of the exercises you can do for yourself once you have been shown them.

What it meant was the next day, when it was dry at Tremadog I could get them both on the lead on a nice easy route, and getting them to put into context the lessons we had learnt from the wall. My clients climbed Bobo and Oberon, whilst I jumared alongside them coaching there gear placements and tactical approach to the climb.

After those rotues we only had a couple of hours left, which wouldn’t leave enough time for them to climb another route, so I took over leading and went down to Yogi, which had about 6 people spread all over it. Backup plan b was the slab of Rio, so I ran up it thinking we could probably get up Yogi afterwards. In the five mintues I took to get from the bottom to the top of the route, a wall of hate had appeared behind me, and the rock was rapidly getting wet, so we abseiled off and headed to Eric’s for Tea and Medals.

I have another Lead Climb Coaching for the Brenin in a couple of weeks time I just hope that the weather improves, by then, in fact i hope it improve very quickly as I am off all week!

Rising Stars

I went to a little known crag near Fedr Fawr today, with my lithuanian Friends, for a spot of sports climbing. I had never climbed there before but there were a few routes with stars and in the F6 area. Which would have been great for the group I was with. I had heard that some of the rotues were a bit loose, but that the bolting was OK.

I have to say that generally the climbing was great, although you need some climbing wall guns on the two F6a(+) warm ups. As they are seriously steep for climbing outdoors but the holds are serious big There were some good lobs of some off the cruxes when a few of the team tried to redpoint the routes after working them on lead.

A few of the team ran up the F6b’s and F6b+, then went onto redpoint a F6c+ which was very technical. One of the team also tried the F7b at the crag. Despite the climbing being OK, there were a few too many stars given at this venue, and whilst it was nice to go there and be paid for it. I am not sure I will be heading back there in a hurry. For a handful of pleasant six’s then it is well worth the visit if you don’t fancy the Ormes.

Mad as a Box of Frogs

Had an ace day doing a mini assessment of a group of lithuanian climbers today at Plas Y Brenin, these guys have spent a month in total seeing what things we do when we instruct, and learning skills in the Climbing Wall award and Single Pitch Award syllabus, as well as ticking some of the classic routes in the area. So today we saw what they have learnt.

Interestingly the high point of their country would be the equivalent of the Cromlech boulders. They do have climbing wall though, and kids clubs just like we do in the UK. Whilst some were waiting to rig the abseil tower I got onto the subject of Lithuanian sayings. My two favourites where “the fifth leg on a dog”, which describes someone who isn’t participating in the team or task, and “If your afraid of wolfs don’t go into the forest”, which means if your scared of something then avoid it. I share the concept of someone being “Mad as a Box of Frog”.

When I arrived home I found a BMC summit magazine, and thought that’s good they have sent me a magazine, and I am not even a member anymore, then I remember I joined half price last year with a direct debit. Shit, I knew I forgot to cancel something, but I guess I will have to go to more meetings and get more free food to earn back my pennies. I guess the direct debit membership deal has work on me, and probably will again next year!!!

Training Evening

Spent the day not doing very much other than admin type things. Inparticular dropping a CD full of images off at the publisher who is currently working on the layout of the book. I went up to the wall in the evening for another training session.

Again I still feel fit, and just need to keep my current level, although with the amount of outside climbing I have managed to get in recently, means that I might well be able to improve rather than hold ground.

I also saw that Joe Browns have the new DMM Dragon Cam in stock. Personally I am a fan of the old single axle cams, although I might have to try these lovely looking cams. I should point out that I have a complete set of DMM 4CU’s, and really get on well with them, so I won’t be rushing out to spend my money on any new gear, no matter how good they are.

The DMM Dragon Cam
The DMM Dragon Cam