Beaconeering Session

After a day of sport climbing on the Slate, I had to head into Bangor for some mind bending lesson on Database’s. I want to add some small app to my ‘How to Climb Harder’ site, and I think I know what I need to know, so I am having some lessons. I have to say that it is quite conceptually challenging, but I learnt alot in two hours, and as the guy teaching me is a Computor Sciences student it even had some structure, which helps, as my research has been quiet chaotic.

Anyway, after that I had a roast dinner and a freinds, then went bouldering up the Beacon. I felt quite tired after my efforts on Cig-Arete, but still managed a couple of problems I hadn’t done before, including a White, although its fairly soft for the grade. My Elbow seems OK, just need to warm up very well, be

Cig-Arete near miss

I got up early today, as I have my first programming lesson in Bangor at 2pm, but this morning we headed out on the Slate to a route that I last played on with Jack Geldard, and pretty much got the sequence.

Today I did the route clean on my second top-rope, my instant reaction was ‘Shit, I am going to have to lead it!’. So I pulled the ropes and went for it on lead. It felt really good, and I made my way up the arete, past the first crux, made the deadpoint to the mono pocket, and set up for the last hard move.

As I threw for the cornflake hold, everything felt on, and as I caught it the slight reduction of weight on my foot, meant that it popped off. I was gutted the route is basically easy after this move.

In my frustration, I pulled the ropes and went for it straight away. Mistake, I should have just d0gged to the top, lowered off and rested. Sadly in my second attempt I nearly reach my previous high point.

All in all a good morning climbing, as a near miss on F7b is one of my recent climbing high points, as I am not much of a sport climber. I have only climbed this grade once before, when I onsighted a route of that grade when DWS in Lulworth many years ago. Still the route is there for the taking. So watch this space!

Human Sheep!

I spent the day doing the security on steep ground day on a ML training for Andy Newton. Had a great day out in Ogwen, the weather was superb, and the group were awesome. However the day was one where we picked up a few human sheep.

It is something that Ogwen is quite renowned for, in that a tourist see’s you leave the path, and assumes you are following an ‘easier’ route to the top or back down. So decide that rather than follow the massive obvious path they’ll follow you instead. This happened twice today, and on both occasions, I tried to politely explain that we weren’t really going near a summit, just taking in steep ground.

The first ground replied, ‘Everywhere’s a Path’, so I apologised for what I said, and just pointed out this scree slope leads to nowhere near a summit, and let them pass. An hour later they were below the upper cliffs of Glyder Fawr, and rather than move right along the base they decided to take them on.

At this point I had to move off, as I really didn’t want to get involved in what I can only imagine was an epic ascent. Some people just scream punter, and two army water bottles on a army cammo belt, meant that they had death by misadventure written all over there chosen route. However despite my attempts to dissuade them they seem determined, so we headed round the corner away from the potential carnage.

Then on our way down, we headed to the top of Gribin Facet, and another lone walker, who had missed the path that is the size of a small road, decided instead to follow us down to the top of the climbers descent gully. At this point I pointed here towards the path, and we descended the gully. This particular sheep, was much more receptive, probably due to her being a her, and more open to suggestion.

The first all male group seemed to think they knew better. Anyway, I hope they all got down OK. I can remember once it was a Pea Souper on the summit of Glyder Fawr, and I was heading to Y Gribin with a ML group, so we stopped to do some micro-nav across the plateaus. After 300m my team of 6 had grown to 12. Something that at that point I wasn’t too bothered about, but as we stopped again to take another bearing, one of these sheep, actually butted into my lesson.

Asking whether I could hurry up, as they were getting cold. I snapped at this point, and told them that if they couldn’t navigate themselves off a mountain they had no reason to be there, and that we weren’t take the path down, and maybe they should wind there neck in or pay everyone in my group £20 because they have paid good money for me to teach, whereas, you have paid nothing and just expected to follow us down, because you are incompetent, and can’t get yourself off a mountain, that you probably followed someone else up. Suffice to say he stepped back, and continued to follow at a distance.

It does bug me though, when I am working that other hill users end up following you like lost sheep. Five or so years ago I would have said nothing, but nowadays it has become such a common occurence that I try to point out there inadequancies there and then. I am thinking of getting some cards printed, so I can hand them out to my unwanted flock.

It is difficult though, as if you don’t let people follow you and they have a accident then am I to blame? Personally I have to say no, they have chosen there own path, and they chose to follow others where perhaps they shouldn’t. Whilst I totally disagree with policing the mountains, the incompetency I see so regularly when I am out, makes me quicken my step and get out of sight of them as soon as possible.

Anyway, that’s my little rant over with, there were many more people out in the hills enjoying them safely, sadly today I seemed to be an idiot magnet! I be interested to here if anyone else has had sheep problems and how you dealt with them.

Route Setting & Beaconeering

Despite my gammy elbow, I went to the wall today to do some route setting, or rather set one route, a very long and sustain traverse of the whole bouldering wall. I had to look after my elbow, by using mostly a power drill for setting, and fortunately someone had been kind enough to remove all the holds for me, so all I had to do was slap them on.

I hope it is well received, I managed to find most of the loose holds when I was checking it, as I was ejected off on several moves. It is probably like 6 F6a’s in a row, and feels like F6c maybe. Before the traverse has started and finished by the stairs down to the bouldering wall. I changed that, so you start by doing a load of vertical traversing, and finish via a crescendo of harder moves at the end of the cave.

I managed to get home for a couple of hours before heading back up to the wall for a bouldering session, elbow held out OK, got an orange I hadn’t done before ticked, as well as a few other Blacks. I also spent a few minutes ticking off the problems I have done on my aggregate sheet, as I hadn’t done so since the first week, which is probably why I was near the bottom of the leader-board!

Anyway, I am hoping the arm stays OK, as I tried a little harder than I probably should have. Its too easy to get over enthusiastic at the wall. I only have a slight strain quad from too wide a bridge to add to the list of wall related aches and pains.

The Stacks Trip

South Stack Overview


I have for many years wanted to do the infamous South Stack to North Stack trip via the sea. This would usually require the use of a sea kayak, however I have finally done the trip, but in a speed boat. I have to say it is the way to do it, and I can’t recommend the trip enough.

I was doing some work for RockFax, tough work but someone had to do it! I took hundreds of pictures of the cliffs, and even got a couple of some people climbing. One team on Right-Hand Red Walls and the other on Dream…

It was a cracking day with an almost mill pond sea and blue skies. We were against the clock as there was cloud forecast to encroach on the area in the afternoon, which was the time we needed to be there to get the right light on the cliff. I have put up a couple of Low res images of the overview shots. You’ll have to wait until the new RockFax guide to North Wales to comes out to see the rest of the shots.

I was taken round by an old colleague from the Conway Centre Brian, who now runs a powerboat company out of Rhosneiger. He not only runs courses on how to drive boats, but will take you on your very own tour of the cliff of Gogarth for a very reasonable price, on his 150hp rib. I can’t recommend him enough, or the trip, seeing the cliffs from the sea is something to behold, and not having to sit in a Sea Kayak, made it really enjoyable.

You can find out more about total outdoors rhosneigr on his website.

Main Cliff Overview

Slate and Roadbiking

I had a quiet weekend, I went out on the Slate on Saturday, a lovely day, but the climbs we wanted to do were seeping. We did managed to do another good route neither Llion or I had done before. It was a E2 5c, although you’ll struggle to find a 5c move on it, to the right of The Dark Half. There was also a great looking E2 to the right of that, a Joe Brown route from the late 1980’s, sadly it was sopping wet, but looks incredible, a great hand jamming section through a roof.

Had a house warming party, which I totally crumbled at, was so knackered I put myself to bed early.

The next day I went on a 24 mile road bike circuit with some friends, had my first road bike experience, and my first SPD experience, after hearing of lots of friends falling off left, right and centre I was a bit worried, as it happened it was all fine. Glad to have given the bike back though, at £1000 a pop for a bike, I won’t be buying one anytime soon.

Quiet Few Weeks

Well I have had a very quiet few weeks, work has dried up for the winter, and I am praying and dancing for the Snow and Winter season to start in the hope that some work will crop up with some winter guiding and instructing.

Other than that I have been putting my time to as best use as possible. So that has revolved around working on the Gogarth section for Rockfax. Which I have finished provisionally, although still waiting to get out on a speed boat to take some pictures of the sea cliffs. After that it hopefully shouldn’t take too long to bring everything together.

I have also been immersed in code of the HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL and JAVASCRIPT variety. Its making my head hurt, I have no idea how people do it. I guess by total lack of ability in languages that trying to learn more than one language at a time is just asking for trouble. I have resorted to trying to find a tutor as I think I have reach a plateau! So if you want to earn a few quid a week and understand that collection of abbrevations above then please get in contact.

Other than that I have been taking it easy up at the climbing wall, and its only been easy routes for me. Trying to keep below F6a, due to my elbow, which seems to be getting better. I am almost scare to try hard at the moment, as I don’t want to make another step backwards. Thats why I haven’t been posting very much.