You know you are a ______ when….

I have been busy the last few days as there has been a good ground swell. I am start to think I am more a surfer than a climber. Several reasons lead me to conclude this, the first off I was first in and last out surfing the other day and it was half decent. Secondly I am out so much that some of the locals have start to recognise me and some have deem me fit enough to talk to.

I know everyones idea of surfing is easy going hyper friendly people. Don’t get me wrong they are generally just that, but I guess like an unknown climber coming into a climbing wall with all the big boys and girls training. There is a degree of earning respect among you peers, whether that be ability, effort or just being a nice person.

Whilst I am no surfing god by any stretch of the imagination I am also not to bad apparently. Having only been surfing since October which doesn’t seem that long ago, I have to remind myself I have pretty much surfed every surfable day since. All those days out in knee high surf or mush when no one else was about trying to work on my take offs, lefts and rights as I devised my own effective practice regime seems to have paid off as I am regularly leaving the sea having had more than one good wave a day and that after all is what it is about. One wave that makes you wanna paddle right back out for more.

So anyway my thought was both for climbing and surfing, how do you know you are one or the other? So I have devised a little game that I invite you to add to.

You know you’re a surfer when…

  1. There are more wet pants in your car than in your wardrobe.
  2. There is more sand in your bath than on the beach.
  3. You actively encourage depressions coming in from atlantic.
  4. You have multiple surf predictions sites, beach webcams and weather sites cached in you internet browser. (I actually think I shutdown the rhosniegr webcam as I click refresh so much last week!)
  5. You have discussions over fin configuration.

You Know you are a climber when…

  1. You have more rock shoes than normal shoes.
  2. You bookshelf is essentially made up of climbing guidebooks to obscure places.
  3. You have more than 200m of rope around the house, some of which you wouldn’t tie a dog to.
  4. You have the rainfall radar cached on your internet browser
  5. You have discussion about routes that require miming the crux sequence.

Please add to if you think there are other telltale signs you are a climber or a surfer.

Human Factors in Avalanche Assessment

Just put together a short article on Human Factors that cloud our judgement when assessing avalanches. It is a great overview of how even if you know what and how you are meant to assess risk in avalanche terrain, that we can skip even the most basic steps.

It is sometimes call heuristics, if you haven’t got a clue about avalanche assessment then, I’d suggest having a look at a couple of articles on UKC, or even better buying my book A Mountaineers Guide to Avalanche. Links to iPad and Kindle version are over in the right sidebar.

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 15.32.30 – A site to promote UK Coaches

I have been tinkering with a website I bought a while back, which aims to promote UK based climbing coaches. The site primarily links climbing coaches to climbing walls. So if someone searches a wall on our climbing walls database then it will highlight which independent coaches operate from that wall.

The site came out of the realisation that promoting an online business is never easy and lots of people want to charge you a fortune for that mythical search engine optimisation. What you needed are links to your site from related sites. This is where we see helping out.

To register on the site, you need to prove you are a coach by one of the four ways that the HSE deems suitable to show competence .

  1. NGB Qualification (Coaching Award, etc…)
  2. Equivalent Qualification (MCA, Coach Processes Cousre)
  3. In-house Qualification
  4. Experience – Highly experience climber

What we are looking for are coaches with more than a standard NGB qualification (CWA,SPA or MIA), we are only accepting those who has done some continuing professional development aimed specifically at improving their coaching. When you visit the site you’ll see what types of CPD we recognise. Were also accept that some of the best coaches are those that operate at an elite level and have learnt their craft through coaching themselves to perform to the highest standards.

Anyway if you are a coach we are currently opening up the site to allow coaches to register and build profiles.

Free Coaching For Young Climbers

Snowdonia Mountain Guides head coach Mark Reeves has a lot of free time over the winter months and would like to offer some free coaching for young climbers at the Beacon Climbing Centre. So if you know a climber(s) who were disappointed not to make it into the local climbing academy, but you think has the potential to climb well then please put there parents in contact so we can chat about what we can do to help.

The offer only extends to the coaching, the climbing centre admission charges still apply (about £5 a session).



It seemed too cold for outside climbing today so I headed to the wall with a friend, unfortunately I restrained my intercostal muscle so could hardly climb, so belayed instead.

For some reason I then thought it would be a good idea to head over to the island and see if tomorrow swell had arrived early. It hadn’t but I headed out anyway for a paddle on the board. It was a lovely evening gentle off shore breeze, a passing shower gave me a perfect end to end double rainbow for a few minutes as I played about in knee high ripples. The sun then disappeared behind a squall and lit it up with a beautiful golden glow. Two fantastic skyscapes that unless I had been a total loon and gone out for a float around I’d have missed.

It is the real contrast from climbing where typical half the sky is obscured by a large cliff. Out at sea the horizon goes on forever. Fingers crossed that tomorrow there’ll be white horses charge over that same horizon!

Great Day Guiding on the Slate


I had one of my regular clients up for a days climbing today, and he decided that he fancied a day on the slate. So I picked him up at PYB where he was staying and drove him over. The day was not looking very promising and the crags were still a little damp. We headed up to Looning the Tube Area.

We started by a trip down memory lane for me, where I climbed Sad Man Whose Sane, UBL and Deceptive Dyke. All routes I did the first ascent of back in around 2007 and haven’t climbed them in a long time. The first rotue was very damp but it looked like it would clear, the second route was damp when I lead it but then like magic the rock dried off in the blink of an eye.

I then suggested that Simon try and second Looning the Tube, so I ran round so that there there wasn’t a problem with pendulums and threw a rope down. Si was close to maximum on this route but managed it by the skin of his teeth. We then did steps of glory and walked acorss the quarry to Never Neverland and climbed a greta route Titan.

After which Si’s feet were a little sore so I suggested we nip up and do a quick circuit of Lost Worlds before heading home. Suffice to say we had a great day and knock out loads of product. It was nice to touch real rock for the first time in a month and feel like you’re shaking hands with old friends again.

Anyway Si bought a copy of North Wales Climbs and currently has the only signed copy. I did tell him they are worth less when signed but he was having none of it. He also seemed made up that he actually appears in the guide in one of the many action shots. I guess I forget that this is a big deal for lots of climbers. Having been on the cover of at least two guidebook and appeared in magazines and other books. I guess I am quite blaise about it.







For Sale: MacBook Pro

I have had a spare MacBook Pro for a few years was really handy when working on the guidebook to know even if there were techy issues I’d have no down time. The specs are:

Mid 2010 MacBook Pro

2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo

Nvidia GeForce 320M 256MB

4GB Ram

OS Mavericks

It also has a variety of software installed on it. I am open to sensible offers on this computer, although I would prefer you pick it up. The computor has a few knocks from travel but works fine. The charging cable will need replacing soon, although works fine. If your interested I can post you some photos.

Contact me through the blog and I’ll get back to you.


Surf, DIY, body repair and Bouldering at the Indy

Well a productive few days. To start I have painted all the glossy areas on the landing and bathroom. As well as painted the stairs, strange I know but will save me putting carpet down for the time being. The paint was prep work for the flooring I am laying in the bathroom and landing.

Since bouldering last at the beacon, I have had a bad shoulder. One to many awkward gastons seems to have cause me a problem. So I managed to get an appointment with a friend who runs aromatherapy-massage-llanberis for a quick treatment. Seems to have worked wonders as I also had an evening out surfing on Tuesday, it was about knee high but its all good practice, I was working on my lefts as they are a weakness.

I went straight from the beach to Indy Wall. As Jon who I surfed some killer waves at Hell’s Mouth over the weekend had recommended I come over for the DJ night at the wall. I have to say it totally rocks. There was a good few problems had and some strong people out.

I couldn’t help feeling old though amongst what were mostly students. I remember being one of them nearly twenty years ago now. Still its good to know that I am still keeping up with generation now. There were some great problems to be climbed as well and it was good to catch up with a few friendly faces I haven’t seen in a while mainly because I am saving my pennies by avoiding the pub.

Anyhow, I started on the underfloor heating upstairs today and after getting the underlay down I thought I’d see what Cable Bay was like. As it was strong SW winds which seem to drive a good swell in even though its onshore. I arrived and the tide was out but it was set to be coming in and after about 30 minutes some locals got in so I followed. It was really good, probably up to shoulder high breaking right which is my strong side. So had a good wave count and a few charges down the line before returning to start the jigsaw puzzle that is laying floor round a toilet and a sink.

I also received my copy of North Wales Climbs, but I’ll write something on that tomorrow.



Adidas Outdoor Gear Reviews: Terrex Solo Traxion Shoes


I actually went out an bought a pair of these. With my own hard cash. Why? Well I went to a shoe that had 5.10, Scarpa and LaSportiva approach shoes. As such I think they had all the major players covered. Whilst I love 5.10 shoes I hate the fact that if like myself you wear them day in day out they quickly start to wear through as the super stick soft rubber is in reality too soft for day to day wear.

So I then went on price and wanted to buy one of the shoes shown below. The new Adidas approach shoe. However despite the shop only having them in stock for about two weeks they already only had a limited stock as they had pretty much sold out. Instead I managed to find a pair in last seasons colour.

These are a great pair of shoes, well made and they seem already to be less prone to wear on the sole. I just hope that Adidas give options in the future as they bought 5.10 and there are rumours that these shoes will come with a stealth rubber sole. Which I think will be great however, I fear they will wear and to be honest the grip on these traxion sole seems fine. It is better than the old pair of trail running shoes I had. The sole has a small tread on the base of the foot, but round the edge of the toe it is more in keeping with a rick shoe. Meaning they are idea for trick approaches.

I have also managed a couple of runs in these shoes, which to be honest isn’t there main function. They held up better than I did given that it had been 2 years since my last foray in trail running.

Unfortunately it looks near on impossible to find these in the UK at the moment, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on these in the future.


Adidas Outdoor Gear Reviews: Men’s Terrex Soft Shells


Adidas has also sent me a combination of windproof clothing in the form of Men’s Terrex Summer Alpine Pants and Men’s TERREX Hybrid Primaloft Jacket. Both of these are made primarily of a close weave material that is windproof and hard wearing.

I have been wearing these a lot when working as, they are great in anything but warm weather. If it is going to be cold I have added a layer of thermals. As such I think this is why this combination of soft shell are so good as they are a key part of a good layering system that will see me through to the winter season.

My one criticism, which is really a fashionista thing, which if you know me and my lack of idea of fashion then the irony is strong. My problem is, if I wear the top and bottoms together I look like I should be on the training ground for Newcastle United. Comments made by friends and colleagues when I had the matching top and bottoms on was primarily ‘chavvy’. I think this could be avoided if the top and bottoms weren’t black, which seems a standard colour for outdoor soft shells. Although there are other colours out there, just not in this model.


On the other hand I had the top on at my local climbing wall when I was warming up and one guy who was a big fan of the adidas brand (He was decked out in there more street wear clothing) loved it and wanted to know where he could get the top from. I guess it is something of a statement though, as the 3 stripe brand of Adidas is a strong one, and whilst many of us outdoor types might not be into the athletic image of our sport. We probably need to accept that there are a growing number that are.

At the end of the day, for me the proof is in the pudding, or did this clothing actually work for me when I was working outdoors. The answer is an emphatic yes and despite worries about my appearance, the ‘athlete’ in me will be seen at the crags of North Wales until they fall apart which based on the wear and tear seems like it might be some time yet.

Check out more adidas outdoor.