Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Woodhouse Soloing

As christmas approaches I limited to the odd bit of bouldering in between family duties, and with just over a week before my pilgrimage north for 3 months this is only fair.

Above: Entering the crux of Nervous Shakedown (Steeper than the pic suggests and a shame the colours are rubbish).

I had to be quite dedicated today and ab the routes first to brush the snow off them. Luckily, it is so cold that the rock was dry underneath. The first route I soloed was Minotaur E3 6a (only 5c really), which is the only route I had not climbed at Woodhouse. I then did Interface E2 6a. This has quite a tricky boulder problem start, then 5c to the top. To finish I did a few laps on Nervous Shakedown E4/5 6b**. This is the hardest of the routes at Woodhouse, but short at only 8m, so packed in. I had never soloed this before, so got rid of the rope and whipped up this one more time to finish. A cool couple of hours.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Ben Nevis Weekend

This weekend I have been running a Ben Nevis Walking course for Maximum Adventure. Saturday we headed up on to Aonach Mor to cover some skills and get the guys prepered for the Ben on Sunday. The snow conditions were perfect for practising step kick, cramponing and sliding around. We added in skills as we journied around to the Nid with the veiw of heading up onto the top. Unfortunately after covering loads of skills and getting halfway up the Nid Ridge Mike's crampon fell apart. I could not fix it there and then, so we headed down and back round to the station to review the day. Timings worked out ok in the end.

Yesterday We walked up the Ben in stunning weather (not the Norm), to bask in the sun and take in the veiws.

Both days we came across areas of wind slab, but saturdays was more concerning as it was on the scoured aspects. There were pocket collected in dips and drainage features due to cross loading. This should be kept in mind when out and about over the coming week.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Above: Charlotte Rampling V5

After checking the weather for the next coulpe of days in Scotland, I decided to delay heading up until tomorrow and spend a bit more time with the wife. This gave me the chance to go to the Bridestones for an hour or so this afternoon before coffee and cake in Hebden Bridge.

Above: falling from top move of Pointless

There was 1 problem I had teied before on a warmish day this year that I got close to, but struggled to use a poor smear for the crux last move. Today howevet, the temp was perfect. After a quick warm up, I got straight on it and came off the last move. Another go and close again, but the smear was a bit damp. A quick brush, another go, and sent. Pointless V8, Result! A few more problems and we went for coffee quite content with a good hours work.

Below: Approaching last last couple of hard moves

Below: Latching the Top!!

Monday, 13 December 2010

BLGC Staff Training

Today I have been working with staff at Bolton Lads and Girls Club on the climbing wall. The training was site specific so the can teach leading to those club members that are ready to the next step. It was quite a full day. looking at a wide range on methods to teach Clipping, Belaying, taking falls and the risks that come with this. The day was mostly practical, but some time was dedicated to procedures and risk assessments as well. A worth while day.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Irish Winter

Had a report from Ireland about the early winter action. Thanks Colm.

Hi Adam, Hope alls well with you. Been drooling over the Welsh pics on the blog this morning..they look fantastic!!

Luckily, i've been fairly quiet in the last week so have gotten out a couple of times with some lads from Cork (unfortunately Dave was stuck in Dublin with bad roads and lots of work!).

Last wednesday we took a trip to the Comeraghs in the Southeast...a very small range of hills but with four amazing coums (corries). There has been very little climbing recorded in winter here and there are literally hundreds of lines to be done so we were hoping to put up a new route or two. Unfortunately when we got to our objective (a 400m gully in one of the coums -looks about a IV ish) after much faffing about we realised it was too late so we took an easier and shorter line close by. It was probably a III overall as there were a few mixed bits on it. Nice day out but we were a bit disappointed we didnt get the gully done. I think i need about two weeks off!!

On sunday i went with the same lads to climb the Lick on Corran Tuathail (The Reeks- South West). I did this with Dave last year - its a 350/400m G III snow/ice route on the NE face and its a brilliant day out. We started late but made progress quickly and topped out at sunset with some amazing views... On tuesday, the lads took me to a crag they found last year called the Ice Monster. Its in the Comeraghs aswell (Southeast). A beautiful, wide icefall with we reckon about at least ten good routes from GIII to infinity! We found the ice was a wee bit thin on a couple of the lines we were hoping to do, so we climbed a line that the lads put up in January that had well formed ice the whole way up. A lovely GIII two-pitcher with loads of variety. Had some fun abseiling down the crag after looking at possible lines....great day and not another person in sight! The possibilities here are endless once we get the conditions. There has been reports from Donegal too of amazing conditions and again not a soul in sight. Unfortunately we're due a thaw in the next couple of days so that'll probably wipe a lot of it out but another cold spell forecast next week so hopefully that'll do the trick. I have myself primed to take a few days off if its good next week and Dave is champing at the bit to get down so hopefully we'll have some more sport and a bit more news for you then...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

More Welsh Classics

Above: Catrin leading Pitch 1

Matt and I walked in to look at a route in Ogwen that is not in that often, but unfortunately it was not quite there. So we walked out and drove up the road to go into Idwal. As we walked in with our coffees, the psyche was a little low. After a bit of debate about what to do and looking at things that were thin, Catrin and Niaomi turned up having climbed the Ramp. We decided on a social ascent of South Gully. This is very stepped out, but still offers good climbing. a quick ascent and out for tea and medals.
Below: Matt on Pitch 2

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Welsh Cold Climbs Classic

Above: Me pitch 1 and Below Matt following

Today Matt and I walked into the Black Ladders with a few ideas in mind as usual. We were both a bit tired after yesterday's running about, so we opted for the easier option of Western Gully*** V/VI, 6 (there is still a little debate). This climbs the 300m+ gully up the middle of the crag. We soloed up the first 150m of easy ground to reach the first of the hard pitches. Grade 3 in the old guide (for snow and ice), but a good IV, 5 in the new which is about right. We then climbed the direct out of the cave which gave a fantastic pitch of technical 6 climbing, with some strenuous chimneying. The crux slab on the 3rd pitch was pretty straight forward tech 6 balancy climbing with a tuff exit to easy ground. One more grade 4 pitch took us to a long slog up easy ground to finish. A stunning veiw at the top and we meet up with friends who had climbed Gallipoli for the walk out. There are plenty of routes to go at up there.

Above and Below: Matt on pitch 2

Below: Me on pitch 3
Below: Matt on the final graded pitch

Bel.ow: Dave, Matt, Jon, Sally and Me.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Classic Welsh Ice

Above: Me leading pitch 1

Today Matt and I walked up to Craid Y Rhaeadr to vae a look at Central Icefall Direct VI, 6***. This massive Icefall links 2 impressive pillers up the centre of the 100m wall. Having never climbed a winter routes in Wales, I was mega psyched to tick this one and be the first ones up. I led off up the first steep grade 5.5 pitch, which offered sustained climbing for 30m. Matt then dispatched the second pitch swiftly. This 35m grade 6 pitch offered some outstanding steep climbing up the central piller in an outstanding position. The crux of the route today was the final piller/icicle. This gave some extremely steep climbing, which was overhanging to start and very pumpy. Although there were good placements to be had, The way it had formed made it very hard for the feet. Thankfully, this only lasted for around 4m. A truely amazing route. Another team was starting as we came back down.

Above and Below: Matt Leading pitch 2

Below: Me following pitch 2

Above: Me on pitch 3

We walked out and headed for Ogwen hoping to find the Devil's Appendix in. Despite the massive amount of ice around, it still had not touched down. With every route having teams on it, we headed for the Sting. Graded IV/V in the old guide, Baggy suggested that it could be worth VI,6. It does not come in that often, but was looking pretty fat as we walked up, with a team picking their way up it. After hanging around the bottom for a while and armed with Mark Walker's suggested grade of VI, Matt started off. The ice was a bit brittle and shandleery (if that's a word or even spent right), steep and quite sustained. We both thought that it was well worth VI, 6.

A great day, 2 routes in 2 valleys.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Lancashire Ice Take 2

Above: Short fall on Green's Clough forming well. I managed to climb the right hand side onto the icicle today.

Having a bit of free time today, and having had to cancel climbing tomorrow with Martin in the lakes, I was keen to check out a few more places locally to see if there where any other nice bits of ice to climb. I went back to Ratten Clough which I climbed on Monday to see how the lower fall was coming along. This is still a while away, but could form if the weather continues for another week or so. There were 5 teams on the top fall of Ratten clough when I walked up. This is now fatter and more solid than Monday, and is taking screws from those that would prefer to lead it (as the teams today). I quickly nipped up this and walked across the moor to the top fall of Green's Clough marked on the map. Unfortunatley, this stream is a bit more sheltered and not freezing as quickly. Also, the upper falls are more like boulder problems in hieght. There where the odd climbable bits, but another week or so is needed to freeze properly. The lower falls in this clough are the better ones. I was also rewarded for my efforts today with a surprisingly nice ice curtain on one of the sides of the Clough. This had formed from icicles combining down a seepage line out of the ground. It was about 6m ish high and vertical for 2/3 of its length. I think it would take protection on the left hand line I climbed up the wider section. The right hand side was very narrow, but could be protected by the odd screw or Bulldog. Both lines around Grade IV,5 ish (this is a guess, my grading is rubbish).

Above: 6m Ice Curtain, Good climbing but scary exits.