Wales finest ice climb... says the Welsh Winter Climbs guide book. It did not disappoint.

Yesterday I climbed the Devils Appendix IV with Steve Long and Calum Muskett. What a route, by far the best and hardest ice I've ever climbed.

The super steep 1st pitch
Calum lead the very steep 1st pitch. Apparently the way it formed this year gave a more sustained pitch.   It defiantly felt hard to me!

Me leading the 2nd pitch. Thanks to Steve for the photo
I lead the 2nd pitch, and Steve with a modified Thompson knot as a harness lead the final pitch. The final pitch goes to the left of the ice cave in the photo above, climbing the hollow ice on the edge of the cave was pretty spooky. 

Its always good to get out of the house on Boxing Day!

Happy Christmas!

My dad and I escaped for a few hours this morning to do a quick ascent of The Ramp (II/III) in Idwal. Fun little route with a great belay stance. Cwm Idwal was a very social place, plenty of keen locals out enjoying the conditions.

Here's a short video..with bonus story telling narration from my dad!

Llyn Gwynant with a snowy hat

Happy Christmas to everyone.

Pen Y Gwryd Snowboarding

Another fresh dump of powder on Tue night gave some awesome snowboarding conditions.

Trystan, Meical and myself walked up the slope behind Pen Y Gwryd. Breaking trail was hard work in the deep snow!

Reaching our high point..over an hour of walking for a couple min of descent 

Trystan ripping it up

The decent was a little challenging in the soft powder

Silly pay and display parking not getting much use!

A cold and confused chicken...they refuse to come out and walk in the snow!

Hylldrem bouldering, always a sun-trap

Merry Christmas everyone! 

The Big Snow

North Wales like most of the country has recently has a large dump of snow. I spent four days over the weekend snowed in at a very alpine looking PYB in Capel Curig. Probably one of the best places to be snowed in; plenty of food, a bar and a ski slope!

The winter scene outside PYB on Saturday morning

Lucky walkers about to head out into winter wonderland

Saturday was spent shovelling snow to clear the track down the car park and extract my van! Good training for Scotland. 
Van extraction success..check out my new pop-top roof!
When I finally decided the roads were good enough to drive home, this was what the road down to Nant Gwynant looked like:

The road home

After a sketchy journey home I decided to try and fit some snow chains we have had laying about. They just about fitted onto Amy's lovely little red car.

Snow chains in action
Having not driven with chains before I am very impressed. Good traction even on icy snow! I'm playing to safe, I haven't ventured over 20mph.

The big melt and drytooling

Warm temperatures over the weekend have melted most of the snow very quickly. I hadn't been in the mountains (or even out of the house) for a couple of days! Iv been working on the openenergymonitor  project with Trystan Lea. With my friend David coming over from Manchester and dying to get out we walked into the Ladders on Saturday after a leisurely start. With the warm temperate we were not too hopeful, I was shocked to see how bare the cliff looked. A few meting icy streaks remained. We retired to the indoor bouldering wall. Now the cold temperatures has returned it will be interesting to see what's climable. Gullys will probably be the best bet for a while.

Mmm.. where did all the snow go?

Soggy walk 

Today we went drytooling at White Goods, a better venue that Millstone! I had never been there before for done much dry tooling. Its great fun! ...and a proper pumpy workout! We did Adams M5 then moved onto Pears M7 before I dogged my way up Jazz M8. I'm psyched to get training and come back and a some of the harder routes. We all finished the day with our front teeth and face intact..bonus!

White Goods

Jade on Pears M7

Andy Turner, Nick Bullock and Rob Greenwood were there showing us how its done

Andy Turner firing up Tumble in the Jungle and amazing looking M9

The Screen

Iv been suffering from a winter cold for the last couple of days, possibly going to the pub might have been the cause! Yesterday I had to let my partner down and sleep for most of the day, rubbish! Today I was determined not to miss out on the good winter conditions. Even though was not feeling fighting fit I headed up to Idwal with Andy Barker for some ice fun with minimal walking.

Cwm Idwal is looking fantastic, most of the ice routes are in condition. The crouds were not so fantastic; I couldn't believe the number of people out ice climbing mid-week! 

After a relaxed start (I was still pretty ill!) we got in queue for The Screen IV 4. Two pretty cool but short pitches of solid but slightly brittle ice. The route was significantly easier since so many people had previously climbed it, hacking out ledges. 

Andy on the 2nd pitch of The Screen

After the route we climbed a few short icy steps up into the dark cleft of the Devils Kitchen. A very atmospheric place. The ice at the back of the kitchen looked like it was nearly in condition (for the bold).
In The Devils Kitchen

I have since seen on my facebook feed that is has been climbed a few days ago! Definitely a very inspiring route. 

Also today my dad went for a walk over the Glyders, here is a rather fine photo that he took: 

Decending the Glydrau 

Snowboarding Moelwyn Mawr

Yesterday Trystan, Haf, Gwil and myself went in the search of snow. It probably wasn't the best day to go snowboarding, there had been a bit of a melt on Friday. Nonetheless Trystan who is always an optimist when it comes to snowboarding persuaded me to carry a board up the Moelwyn.

Friendly snow dog!

In fact the snow on the summit ridge was fantastic! Quite short lived but great fun in late afternoon sunshine.

Pillar Chimney on Clogwyn Ddu

Wow the winter season is really kicking off! Iv just returned from climbing Pillar Chimney on Clogwyn Ddu in Cwn Cneifion with chimney fetish man Dave Morse and pyb top man Martin Doyle.

The route is given V 5/6, the crux of the route is a very awkward chimney behind a big pillar (hence the name!). The chimney didn't have any ice in it like the guidebook suggests, but it didn't stop Dave who flew up it on the lead.Word of advice: don't climb the chimney wearing a will be desperate and you will rip you jacket!

Contemplating the chimney 

Awkward chimney topout 

Martin starting the 3rd pitch 

Hard water ice and turf on the 3rd pitch..this route has everything! 

On the walk in we had time to inspect the ice routes forming in Idwal. Lots of ice is visible, very exciting for November! Routes like The Ramp, South Gully and Idwal Stream have all had several ascents already. The top pitch of the Appendix is looking good but the bottom pillar needs a bit more forming.

Winter Wonderland