Bus Stop

Spent a short part of the day up at Bus Stop, climbing Equinox or s0litice (who knows which is which?), and Gnat attack E1 and Massambula E2. All of which I led. I also threw a rope down Forsinain Motspur a F7c, again I quickly managed all the moves, although failed to link the whole route on a top-rope. Although I think that I should be able to redpoint the route within a few sessions.

My friends came up with a small collection of kids, to which I gave them a great example of how not to top-rope a route, by falling off a lot. I certainly didn’t make it look too fun, although I manged not to swear when I shinned myself on a small overlap.

I have to say that having climbed massambula first something like 15 years ago. I have notice changes over the years, imparticular the drainage line is gradually encroaching on the route making it necessary to climb a more direct line if you want to stay off the wet holds. Giving the route a rather surprising sting in the tail, which got me wondering whether it should be graded E3? What do you think?

Today also made me realise that many people seem to ‘waste’ there time on the newer easy ‘sport’ and the great classics of yesterday, of which Gnat Attack and Massambula where two of them. Now they have started to go back to nature, if we don’t keep climbing them and cleaning the moss and dirt off the holds that are used then I am sure the crag will look like the parts of the rippled slab that aren’t climbed on.

Hopefully the whole easy sport surge will lead in a year or so to a surge in the routes that made me start to love and push myself in the quarries. Rather than just people returning to Dali’s Hole trip after trip.

Indestructor Phone

Indestructor Phone
Indestructor Phone

My phone fell out of my pocket earlier today, given that my friend had to pay £150 to replace his iPhone screen replaced after it broke in his bag. I was absolutely amazed weh I first heard and then saw my phone fall from near the top of Down To Zero. It must have gone a good 20 metres, and had the luckiest bounce ever. As it didn’t even break apart, landed totally together, and was still on, whats more it still works, and barely a scratch on it!

Anyway I brought the phone for £15 new from O2, bargain. I have now named it the Indestructor Phone.

Slate Days

After work I had a short beaconeering session. The wall was back to the good old Sunday scene, with just a handful of people, meaning that we almost had the wall to ourselves. Although there was the owner of a website/business that has the tagline the ‘Snowdonia’s premiere outdoor activity provider’ or some such rubbish. Anyway, it was the first time I had ever heard of the company, I must get out more!

My arms felt sore this morning, so I took my time heading to the quaaries, where I was back in vivian quarry with my shunt or “Billy No Mates Belay Device”. I climbed or should I say ruined the onsight of two routes Love Minus Zero a Down to Zero, as a warm up, before I dropped my rope down the rather nastily named Menstrual Discharge a F8a+ near the dervish.

The good news was that none of the moves felt excessively reachy, bad news was that some of the moves were extremely hard, the crux being utterly desperate. It might just might be possible for me to climb it, although it won’t be a quick ascent, in fact working hard routes on a shunt I find it virtually impossible to tell whether I can climb a route or not. It has allowed me to make the shapes and link a few moves. We will have to see, I seem to have a growing number of hard projects, I might have to start actually trying them now!!!

Menstrual Discharge
Menstrual Discharge

Burn them!!!

I had a great weekend teaching Navigation Skills at Plas Y brenin, including an evening out night naving on the Saturday. Unfortunately the weather was too good to make the navigation hard, as we had miles and miles of visibility. Anyway it was on my way back from the centre at 9.30 saturday night that I saw not one group but two group of campers having campfires in the Pass.

Firstly I have to say the idea of dossing in the boulders isn’t new, but is mostly done by people trying to save a matter a pounds, the equivalent of two beers in most places for the want of not paying the local farmer to use his field. I think some of these ‘campers’ believe they are wild camping, which I have to say in my book means that you are out of sight of the main road, rather than pissing distance from it.

I usually turn a blind eye to campers down the pass, however the bonfires enraged me. They will ruin it for the people who are responsible, like the family who simply abandoned there tent last year. These idiots obviously think it is acceptable to burn the delicate soils within the National Park. My only revenge was to drive pass on my way to work and hammer on my horn to give these idiots an early wake up call. Although I did see the local woman walking up to charge them, and no doubt give them a bollocking, which would probably be more polite and more memorable than mine.

Anyway, maybe next time we should just burn their tents down, preferably without them in. Leaving a note about why I did it. An expensive lesson for them I know, but some people need some impact counselling on these things.

Ropework for the Mountain Leader

I spent a rather changable day at Pen Y Pass, with a small team from Plas Y Brenin on a refresher course for people working towards there Summer Mountain Leader Award. We concentrated on, you guessed it the ropework that is required for the award.

Basically this means that we look at what is required by the syllabus and make people choose the right anchors, tie into them with a rope and then belay someone down safely before they have to retreat down themselves. Pen Y Pass is a great little venue for this and doesn’t require moving too far from the car park to find all the terrain that we need.

We also looked at the Thompson Knot, various abseil methods and confidence roping. All this is done with just one rope, and by the end of the day, it feels like your head is one big knot. I am back there tomorrow to do a Navigation Skills course.

Project Hunting

The last couple of days I have been out on the slate looking for a local project to try and climb. My main problem is that whilst the hard slate sports route are great, and some of the move amazing, many have been ‘created’ for those a damn sight taller and often a lot strong than me.

As such so far I have eliminated Manic Strain, as some of the moves are just too long and hard for me<Ohhh Missus>. Similarly, Cwms The Dogfish, had a couple of moves that even when I got the hold I was aiming for my feet were off the holds I was planning to reach them from. The Dark Destroyer felt the same, although I believe that most of the really long reaches ended on a good crimp, so felt like I good actually jump through these reaches, although it is mighty sustained at the top.

I got on Tru Clip today, a route that i have flashed on a top-rope before, and for some reason, I could touch several of the moves. So I am now left with a very short list. I need to work the top crack on Gin Palace but that should hopefully go, as well as get back on Forinsain Motspur, and get a sequence that works for the bottom crux. Other than that I am planning on looking at Misogynist…., The Dark Half, Exocet and the sports route in the bottom of Twll Mawr.

I have borrow Hosey shunt, so I can work these routes without boring my belayers to death. Besides i have bruised finger tips, a strained big left toe and aches in muscles that I forgot I have, I must try harder.

Clogwyn Goch from the Sky

Summit of Snowdon - caked in Snow and Ice 7/3/2010
Summit of Snowdon - caked in Snow and Ice 7/3/2010

I recieved an email today whilst I was out trying to find a suitable hard sport route in the quarries to climb. Generally I seem to be to short to climb, them, although I have found one that I might be able to jump through the long reaches. Anyway, Doug Blair the senior engineer from Snowdon Mountain Railway had been out flying, and managed to take a couple of dramatic shots of Sno0wdon. These images are from Sunday, and there is still just as much bullet hard, icy snow up there.

One image show just hown much snow still remains at the summit, the other shows the serious nature of following the railway tracks down, The real danger area is where the railway track dips into the shadow just right of centre of the images. The cliff below is what people slip down, as the slope gets ever steeper, so once you start sliding the chances of stopping are virtually nill.

I suspect that ice will still be about on this section come the weekend, and after a spate of near-misses it would be a shame for anyone to come a cropper following the railway track down Snowdon. In fact unless nyou are equipped with ice axes and crampon, and know how to use them then the summit of Snowdon is probably a place you want to avoid for the time being.

The Treacherous Clogwyn Coch - Currently caked in bullet hard and extremely slippy ice.
The Treacherous Clogwyn Coch - Currently caked in bullet hard and extremely slippy ice.

Celebrity, Calmity and a Call Out

Who’d of thought that whilst I type this Kate <rubs legs> Silverton would be sat in Pete’s Eats talking about her three peaks challenge. She hasn’t had an easy ride though as along with Phil ‘Help the Heroes’ Packer, attempted to summit Ben Nevis, but were turned back by Blizzard Conditions and Thong deep snow. Then onto Scafell, before on day three topping out on Snowdon after spending a night out camping, in -12 degrees according to Kates report on the BBC. (Funny, wasn’t forecast the minus 12!)

The attempt has been made for Sport Relief, and for me the sound mountaineering decision the team made like turning back on Ben Nevis, as well as the equipment they took on Snowdon, has show great judgement from their team.

It was great to hear Kate’s reaction to the question, when asked did she need ice axe and crampons on the summit of snow. Her answer, was one of “Hell Yeah”, although on live TV she did rescue her common talk and give an answer more suited to a news reporter on the 6 o’clock news. Anyway, congratulations to them.

Hopefully a few people will see the piece and realise that they need to be properly equipped on this mountain. Unlike a family, yes I did say that right a family, and their dog that were plucked off Clogwyn Coch after they got themselves in a potentially life threatening situation. The RAF managed to rescue both parents, two teenage children and fido.

I had mentioned Clogwyn Coch after last weekends initial two call out. So far all incidents have ended well, with everyone being returned to safely this year. I can’t help feel that the longer this freeze stays the more likely someone is to die on this notorious stretch of the Snowdon Railway, that basically leads you by the hand like John Venebles to your death.

It is a shame that basically those that have died here probably didn’t know the risk they were actually taking. It is a debate that will run and run, as to how best a rescue team, police, snowdonia national park or anyone that has an interest in reducing mountain accidents and fatalities, just how do you reach people who seem to never take heed or read any safety information.

In the words of an old school instructor I once met, “Its the risks that you don’t know your taking that are going to kill you”. Unfortunately people just don’t seem to realise that following the railway track down just isn’t the most sensible idea during the snowy season.

Weekend Cragging

I spent the weekend not at LLAMFF but cragging. It was ashame the weather was so hgood otherwise I would have liked to see a few of the films. However with blue skies and dry rock it seemed criminal to sit indoor. So I spent Saturday in Vivian, climbing Last Tango, before attempting Gin Palace, I made it second go from the ground to the top of the chimney where the wet crack shut me down. I so want this route now, it did take nearly all my effort, as I was harbouring a hangover from the pub the night before.

I also had a quick play on Manic Strain, and remeber how hard it is for someone not the 6ft 6inchs of the first ascentionist who sculpted the route. So not going to get back on this little number. We then climb Never as Good as the first time, before I had to power nap in the sun whilst the rest of the team did Mentil Lentils and Psychotherapy.

The LLAMFF party was good, with Banda Cabana playing. I left at 1.30 am, in hope of getting some more climbing in due to the awesome forecast. So I headed out at 10am to the Rainbow Slab area and climbed Bella Lugosi is Dead and Pull My diasy. I spent the rest of the day, in and out of consciousness infront of the TV. Totally knackered after nine days of work and climbing, plus two party nights in a row. Tomorrow I will sleep!

Intro Rock and LLAMFF

This week I have been directing on a Intro to rock climbing week at Plas Y Brenin, the weather has been amazing. We went to a variety of sunny venues, and I worked with three of the Instructor Scheme, these guys have been hand picked by Plas Y Brenin to develop there instructional skills. So most of the week I was hanging out around them watching them teach, and giving them tips on how they can progress the students and different ways to use the venues dependent on what level the students are at and what they want to teach.

I finished work, and brought a ticket to the LLAMFF party on Saturday night, and then went straight to the pub, before having a curry with a few friends. It wasa  great evening, and when I went to the infamous Pub Quiz by Noel and George I was surprised to see my old friend Matt Perrier.

I didn’t get to the pub quiz, instead we caught up with Matt antics over the last few years as he has been living and working in Chamonix. He climbed 4 big routes last summer, including the American Direct on the Dru. As well as this winter descending at speed on a plank down some very serious gullys. Roll on the party!