Category Archives: North Wales

Day 2, Teaching climbing

Yesterday Mike, Kelly and myself met with a sunny day ahead of us.  We headed up to Tryfan to climb one of the scrambles up to the summit starting on Heather terrace but with the sun still shining Kelly wasn’t comfortable with the ground that we were covering.  So after digging deep she made the sensible decision to turn round and try the North ridge.  After having a good go at some of the scrambling sections on the ridge she still wasn’t completely comfortable but keen to carry on up, but with time ticking on it was best to head down.

We then headed over to Little Tryfan and myself and Mike climbed Crack 4 (Diff) in the middle of the face, where Mike found the climbing easier but wasn’t so sure about the hanging belay half way up.  He was getting the hang of taking gear out and belaying and climbing well.  At the top he rigged a belay and we ab’ed off leaving the rope up.  We then climbed Central Slab Route (VDiff), a different type of route that went up the face of the slab rather than a crack line, so finding holds is a little trickier and balance is more important.  At another hanging belay Mike did well trusting the gear and belaying me up even though he was a bit unsure.  We then topped out at our last ab site and attached the ropes together and ab’ed off again, then pulled the ropes down.

A good few days introduction to climbing and lucky with the dry weather.

Ogwen Valley

Today I was with Kelly and Mike keen for some climbing.  We headed to the Idwal slabs first, went through how to tie in, flake a rope, take out gear and how to belay.  Then as we were getting kit on a really heavy snow shower covered everything for about 30 minutes.  Luckily it stopped by the time I started up Faith (Vdiff), but everything was covered in snow.  So with freezing rock and hands Kelly started up, but the winter conditions were unexpected and so after a good fight getting half way up the pitch she headed down.  I then changed my belay into an ab for me and headed down as well.

Both Kelly and Mike had brought new shoes and were wearing them for the first time so we spent some time at the bottom of the crag going through movement skills and seeing what you can stand on with climbing shoes on.

For lunch we headed down the road to Milestone buttress.  I headed up Rowen Tree (Diff) and brought Kelly up. Who although really scared she climbed very well and made it to the belay, Mike then flew up and did well taking out the gear.  Kelly then ab’ed down followed by Mike, who then came back up via a harder variation on the left edge of the slab.

Still keen Mike and I then climbed Pulpit route (Diff).  With the first 2 pitches being slabby Mike did well, getting used to belaying a leader, tying into the belay and sorting out the gear and the belay.  The 3rd chimney pitch is a struggle at the best of times but Mike did well getting up it and then through the ‘window’ at the top.  With a final short arete to finish we topped out.  Just 2 ab’s to get back down and we were at the bottom.

A good day but both Kelly and Mike understandably looked tired by the end.

Scrambling and Rescues

Today I headed into the Ogwen Valley and scrambled up the grade 3 of Tryfan Bach (little Tryfan) with good views across to the mountains but understandably very polished being behind a campsite and next to the main road.  I then headed round to Milestone buttress and spent the afternoon practicing rescues on my rucksack.

I went through escaping the belay system and descending down to the second, ascending back up and setting up an unassisted hoist.  I then went through setting up an assisted hoist and then an unassisted hoist without escaping the system.  Finally before my fingers got too cold and before I got any more strange looks from people walking up the path I went through a counter-balance abseil to then eventually descend with the second to the floor or to another belay stance.

A productive day and feeling refreshed before the next 2 days of climbing with Kelly and Mike.

Tremadog, North Wales

I have been in north Wales since Tuesday getting some climbing done to kick start my season.  Due to a dodgy forecast in the mountains myself and Lena stuck around Eric’s cafe opposite Craig Bwlech y Moch, which is in no bad position.

On the Tuesday we headed to Craig y Gesail on a cold and overcast day wondering what we were going to get done.  We first headed up Princess a VS 4b which is a good climb if a little over grown with trees.  We then headed onto The Chateau which was quite loose, green and bold so we ab’ed off after the first pitch.  To salvage the day we headed up the VDiff of Bramble buttress moving together and placing runners between us.  A sluggish start to the season for me, but a start.

On Wednesday we headed across the road and headed up Oberon and then Rienetta a VS 4C with a one move wonder second pitch traverse and then a really good steep corner pitch to finish.  A really good route and the sun is now shining.  After we scrambled up the first 2 pitches Christmas Curry, we then geared up and put climbing shoes on and headed round to Grotto, but after heading up 5 meters with no gear in sight and a blank slab above I decided to down climb off a wobbly spike back to the belay.  We then continued up the classic of Micah Eliminate where Lena lead the bold, delicate traverse pitch to top out.

Yesterday we headed along the road to Craig Pant Ifan and climbed Poor Man’s Peuterey a really good climb that gets you in some bold positions.  After, we headed up Pear tree Variation an eliminate up the side of the previous route but none the less a good route with an ab off.  To end the day we headed back to Craig Bwlech y Moch and went up Oakover a really good corner first pitch and then a bold slab traverse and arete climb for the second.

Today myself and Lena headed to Milestone Buttress in the Ogwen valley.  We arrived and wondered up the 5 minutes to the crag and realized that even though it was sunny the crag was in the shade and it was freezing.  We headed up Pulpit route a Vdiff but a good outing, trying to keep warm.  A good climb but very polished with an awkward chimney pitch.  Unfortunately the weather then closed in and the rain started so we headed to the cafe at Capel Curig.

Unfortunately no pictures as my camera decided to break Sunday evening.

Day 8 MIA training

Today was the last full day.  We headed to the Isle of Anglesey, just south of South stack.  We were tasked with setting up a traverse clip line and a Tyrolean traverse across the sea.  A while later we were zipping across the sea and traversing round the cliffs on the clip line.  After lunch we soloed down to sea level and headed round, knowing that if we slipped we would be dipping into our spear set of clothes.  To finish off the traverse we set up a Tyrolean traverse by tying off one end round a block and body belaying on the other side of the gap.  Everyone got across by the commando lying on the rope technique and stayed dry.  All in all a good end to the technical section of the course. 

Tomorrow is the last day and is focusing upon teaching navigation skills at the mountain leader standard.

Day 6/7 MIA training

The last two days have been spent focusing upon scrambling techniques.  We started yesterday by refreshing ML rope work techniques below Dinas Cromlech and then headed up Castle gully past the crag using short pitches.  On the top of the crag we went through taking chest coils and short roping 1 person over rocky ground and tested the holding strength of various techniques. 

We then headed over to the top of Carreg Wastad and short roped people down the broken ground round the crag.  At the end of the day we went through the techniques of having two people to short rope.  The rain then started to fall so we headed back to the centre and went for a boulder in the wall and after dinner went through  a few rescues.

Today we headed to Idwall slabs and headed up Idwall staircase using short pitches and direct belays through to slings and Italian hitches.  Towards the top of the slabs we short roped our way up the broken ground to the top.  After lunch we then undertook the propersitionof short roping people down steep ground.  This I found took a lot more judgement in choosing the right position to belay and the correct length of the short pitch.

We then  had an evening session on rigging a static line in preparation for our adventure day tomorrow at the sea cliffs.  With the weather still holding we went for a boulder in Llanberis pass at the Cromlech boulders before the light faded and we couldn’t see the foot holds.

Day 5 MIA training

Half way through the course and still managing a cooked breakfast and 2 pieces of cake a day.  Today was improvised rescues day at Tremadog.  We started off the day by climbing Striptease.  A good 5a 1st pitch and I ‘couldn’t get past the crux’ so other Dave had to set up an assisted hoist to get me over and then carry on belaying me the rest of the pitch.  I then lead off on the 4c pitch and set up a belay and awaited my problems.  1st of all Dave couldn’t undo his crab on the belay, which was simply solved by threading the rope through the knot back to his harness.  Dave then climbed the wrong way round the tree in the middle of the pitch, so I had to drop a rope down to lower him before putting him back on belay to continue with the route.

We then went through counter-balance abseils and setting up an unassisted hoist.  After dinner we went back into the practice wall and ran through another way of setting up a counterbalance ab, how to pass a knot after you have started lowering and a counterbalance ab with an intermediate belay and then lowering again, which was made harder by the fire alarm going off but we were a bit tied up.

All in all a good day.