Creag Meggy Ridge Line

Yesterday before the Ice Factor we got the group from Llandrillo College to plan a route, up to the Window on Creag Meggy, then back along the ridge to the car. Today we got them to carry out the walk. So we slapped up to the corrie, and cramponed up to make it up the slope into the Window. Another chance for the group to put into practice their winter skills, that we taught them on Monday.

Despite Liz assuring me that the group we slow, they managed a rapid pace up to the window, and then along the ridge. Navigating their way back along. Just before the final peak we found a great little crease in the snow, where two snowholes were rapidally collapsing. We then got the group to cut two snow bollards, very large ones in the current conditions, before we got them to practice abseiling down over the edge of the small edge formed by the wind hollow.

It was interesting, as something I have learnt over the past few years is that cutting snow, is more like attacking it. So at one point I had to point out to the group I was with that they needed to cut the snow and not tickle it, and to get their hands in to scoop out all the loose snow they had cut out. Although I think, well I know the group were starting to tire by this stage. After that little skills session we ticked the last peak, before making the long descent to the car.

Everyone did really well, and I think all of the group fell asleep on the drive back to the supermarket in Fort William. Which wasn’t surprising, as the group had been on the go since 6am. An absolutely stirling effort put in by everyone on the hill, it was probably the biggest hill day of their lifes, and there first experience of a proper winter hill day.

I have to go now as we have another planning session for tomorrow at 9pm!

Ice Factor: One Big Freezer

Well, today we had booked into the Ice Factor with The Conway Centre and Llandrillo College so took the group for their first Ice Climb in the massive freezer there. Really good, the group loved it, and I had a swing of axes as well, although mostly hooking on well used placements. It reminded me of doing an ice route in Cwm Idwal after a busy weekend!

Spent some time introducing foot work, and swinging and axe at low level, before moving onto top roping. Trying to get some of the group to not try and bury their axes(well actually my axes) to the hilt, and to try and look twice before moving an axe or a kicking there next step. By the end most of them had got much better, and they were all well and truly pumped.

Anyway off to the central area, and Crearg Meagaidh tomorrow, ot see what we can see.


Glencoe and The White Corries Today

Managed to beat the wind and rain, and slogged up to the white corries today. The chaitlift was closed, so after the first hour of pain, we reach some snow, and then headed a little higher to do some walking with and axe kicking steps. After that we worked on the groups ice axe arrest and we all got truly soaked, a definite ‘Too the Underpants’ day.

The group did really well, as they are all just youngish students from Llandrillo College, who are up for four days with The Conway Centre. I have been lucky enough for the Conway Centre to let me come up and have a group to teach as a volunterr, as I need days to register on my MIC, although looking at the forecast, and conditions I think it will have to wait until next year now.

The conditons were sub-optimal in terms of conditions, and I really feel for the White Corries and other ski areas in Scotland, as there is a real lack of snow compared to last season, that with the economic down turn can only be compounding the lack of conditions fit for skiing.

It is due to get colder on thursday, but it has been plus ten at 1000 metres for most of the week, with driving rain, the white stuff is disappearing rapidally. Although there was enough for our needs and we even managed to get some cramponing in, although strictly we probably didn’t need to, although it was really good to get them to put them on with their gloves on and get used to walking in them, just incase we managed to find some more snow.

We are planning on heading to the Ice Factor tomorrow, to introduce the team to some Ice Climbing. I have to say, it seems these guys are on an awesome course. If only we had this when I was a younger, although probably would have never gone to university!

New Sports Climbing Course: N Wales and Portland

Katie Forrester enjoying sports climbing at La Boheme, F7b, Lower Pen Trwyn, Llandudno. North Wales Limestone

In case you haven’t managed to download my new courses brochure, I will be highlighting a few of the new courses I am offering over the coming year on this blog over the next few days/weeks. The first is Sports Climbing Courses, which after the veritable explosion of easy to moderate bolted routes in North Wales seemed like a great course to offer. This Sports Climbing Course is aimed at indoor climbers who want to start climbing outside, but perhaps don’t want to get into trad climbing.

These courses will help you bridge the gap between indoor sports climbing and outdoor sports climbing, on a two or five day course. In North Wales we now have around 10 really good beginner sports climbing crags, which vary from Slate to Limestone and slabs to walls.

When thinking about this course based in Wales, I remember my first forays into climbing was on the cliffs of Swanage and Portland. As such I remembered that this is an ideal venue for this course, as it is not only closer to many of the bigger urban population centres where indoor sports climbing is a growing past-time, but the climbing and the weather are also stunning.

There are dates arranged for these course (see the brochure!), however if you are keen for a Beginners or Intermediate Sports Climbing Course in Portland or North Wales, then please get in contact if and we’ll are more than happy to see what we can arrange for you.

The course involves using a guidebook to find the crag and routes, safeguarding a climber to the first bolt by spotting or using a clip stick, belaying a leader, clipping safely and efficently and threading lower off. We will also introduce you to practicing a route for the redpoint ascent, and generally help you make the transisition from indoor to outdoors.

Route Setting at the Beacon

Well, I headed to the wall, last night and had a good session, managed to get through the crux again of the woodie traverse, but still no send. Still enjoying the process of working it, well I get one try a session then I am knackered, and then go onto do some stamina circuits on other problems.

Today, I headed back up there for some hang time. I spent about 5 hours hanging in my harness stripping five routes and setting two. It is always hard setting for comps, as the grades matter. As such I set a F6a+, maybe just a small plus think superscript +. I also set a F5b/c, I feel both are pleasant routes, which are sustained rather than too cruxy.

Anyway, I wish all the youngsters luck in the competition this week. I have to pack tomorrow for 6 days in Scotland. Not sure how long I am up there for, as I wanted to do my MIC training but it looks like there are no conditions left on the East coast, plus I have not got my registration back from the MLT yet.

Might have to head to the wall for one final session on the woodie before I head north!

Snowdonia Mountain Guides Brochure PDF

Hi, I have been bust putting together a little brochure with all the courses we are offering over at Snowdonia Mountain Guides. I will put a link on the website soon, but for now you can download the PDF here.

The Brochure covers all the courses we have coming up over the next few months, right through to the Autumn of 2013. If you use social media and have friends who climb or mountaineer who’d be interested in seeing our Brochure please help us market this brochure by re-tweeting this tweet, or sharing the link to the PDF with your friends on Facebook.


Smart Climbing Course

Smart Climbing is a small coaching business based in North Wales. Becci, who runs the courses, comes from the instructing from a psychological based, and uses a technique referred as Mindfulness on her courses.

This year she also has Lucy Creamer and Katy Forrester, doing some more usual movement coaching, and Victoria Howell doing some Yoga. The course is very popualr, and is a interesting holistic look at improving your climbing, I thought some of you guys might be interested in finding out more.

Full details, can be found here.

How To Big Wall Course – March 20th-21st

Just incase there is anyone out there who’d like to come along on a How To Big Wall course, I am running a course on the 20th and 21st March. I have a couple of people on the course already, but have room for a couple more on the course.

The cost is £150 per person, and more details can be found here. Contact me via here or Snowdonia Mountain Guides.

A Long Time Coming

Me on the Incredible Shaking Man stand up start, a truly awesome piece of balance and power.

Surviving the winter in Wales is often joked about by the local’s as a true test of resilience in the face of row after row of Atlantic fronts, and week after week of rain and wet rock. Whilst last year we were treated to a lovely winter of snow and ice, this year normal service as resumed. Don’t et me wrong there has been the odd day of blue sky and sunshine, however tying that in with climbing partners can be tricky.


Llion, Katie and I have seemed to be driven indoor more and more often this winter, often as it was going to give a better days climbing, rather than freezing in a damp conditions managing a route before it either rains or we get too cold to climb.

I was in Scotland on Thursday and Friday, and contemplated staying up there for a winter route after. However the weather up there was awful, and Llion suggested that Porth Ysgo on Sunday would be dry, so on Friday Night started heading down, and finished my journey on Saturday, before resting up readying myself for some Ysgo action.

For once it seemed like a lie in, as we headed off at 9.30, with a light dusting of snow everywhere. On the drive down that magical warmth giving orb in the sky, also know as the sun, but rarely viewed in Llanberis over the winter. As the skies clear through Pwllheli, the feeling that today for the first time in months the day was going to be great.

We had tried Porth Ysgo just before Christmas, and ended up shopping in Abersoch for presents, whilst a river flowed down the high street. Today, though the sun warm the face and the heart as we descend down to the boulder beach.

A few warm up problems and I had a pop at Truth sitdown, failed, but at least I was reach just not hanging the hold today. Skin nil rock 1, on this. Then on th=o the Higg Scar sit down start, flashed and slowly remembering how to use our feet on rock and not plastic. The Incredible Shaking Man stand went quickly, I think I did it third throw, then Llion, and then Katie. We also did that lovely arête to its right.

The arête and wall on Brave Sir Noel block, and then onto Brian Spray, did the traverse, managed to do Brian Spray after losing more skin, then the slopey one round the corner first go. The problems were being dispatched with the ruthless efficiency, as we started to flow, and the feeling of shaking hands with old friends as we stuck hold after hold.

The Ysgo Crack disappeared, and then onto Fast Cars, a campus move too far for us today, but Popcorn Party sit down start was flashed by Llion and I, before another rapid ascent of Jawbreaker. Then the realization that we had run out of rock, so we head to the made in Heaven block, flash and backtrack along the beach, with tired arms and trashed skin. The rat gorged itself on gabbro and was content to sit in the sun and let the sun warm the face, as Llion attempted one last problem.

On the way back we stopped at the new café Grug, which is between Porth Ysgo and the main abersoch to pwllheli road. A great day out and one that seems to have been a long time coming, however all that training in the wall, has paid off, problems seemed easier than the last time I was there!

Severed Hand! I don't know why but I simply love this abstract of a problem we were trying.
Me making a Flash of Popcorn Party, such a lovely problem and a pleasant surprise for me!
Me loving Jaw Breaker, one of the must do problems at Porth Ysgo
Llion high up on The Porth Ysgo Crack
Llion on the Incredible Shakin Man

Scottish winter mountaineering

Had a great couple of days out with two Irish guys. Soubhan and column(sorry for misspelling your names). We did some winter skill refreshers on Thursday and the guys lead nc gully on stob corrie nan loch an today.

I was working for Irish adventures. Been great two days although bit of a rush getting up here on Thursday.

Not looking forward to the long drive back. Hanging out with some friends this evening at pyb Scotland.