Central Ice Fall Direct

..the Easter North Wales winter treats continue!

Mid week came the big tick of the winter. Teaming up with John Orr and Luke Brooks we made an (possibly the third of the year? ) ascent of Central Ice Fall direct VI 6 on Craig y Rhaeadr,  this was a route I won't forget in a while.

Llanberis Pass catching the morning rays

Craig Y Rhaeadr wearing it's winter blanket

Luke took the first pitch which is usually quite thin but this year it surprisingly took descent screws almost all the way up

Luke on P1

Luke on P1
I took the middle pitch which was long (45m!) and sustained. Luckily all the ice climbing I did in Cogne paid off and I didn't get (too!) pumped. Even so I felt pretty worked at the top. The hanging belay below the final icicle was not a particularly good place to try and recover. Hanging off a couple of screws and a detached pillar getting sprayed by ice water was not particularly comfy! However I can confirm that under such conditions cream eggs taste amazing!

Me on P2
With a bit of trepidation John Orr swung out onto the hanging ice pillar, climbing delicately and not placing any screws in the pillar itself John cruised his way up onto easy ground at the top.

We were all smiling all the way back to the car. Even though I was inspired by Caff and the Man of The Pass challenge we opted for the lazy option of a late morning coffee! It felt amazing to have been climbing world class ice 10 min from my house with only a 20 min walk in. If only conditions like this would stay all winter!

Happy Boys!

After a day of rest and catching up on work I headed out for a spin on the road bike with Ryan who's training to cycle to Switzerland in the summer as part of Team Peddle to raise money for a good cause. I suggested a loop up from the A5 over Ysbyty Ifan thinking that we would start from Betws. The response I got from Ryan was "sounds great, shall we start from mine or yours?"! This turned out to be be my longest cycle yet, a 90Km round trip, great fun. The road over the top was amazing, smooth tarmac and warm sun with a bit of snow on the side.

The top!

Smooth tarmac and warm sunshine..happy days

Extreme road biking...sketchy descent down into Penmachno

Dropping down into Penmachno was still pretty snowy on the road which made the descent rather sketchy!

The adventures keep on coming: I'm currently writing this post out on a 38ft sail boat in the Irish sea. With less than 12hrs notice I got a call from my friend Jade who had been called on last minute to deliver a boat from Liverpool to Pwllheli. So here we are cruising along, 8hrs in and with no land in sight. In another 10hrs time we should get to Pwllheli, it's going to be a long night!...fingers crossed for plain sailing.

Update: we made it! It took almost exactly 24hrs of continues motor sailing (sadly much wind was lacking). A full-on experience but not one that I shall be keen to repeat regularly. Unless it was for climbing in Greenland maybe?! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsVl_rzkcx0

The smallest bit of sun breaks through! 
23hrs later...not far to go!

One £65K toy successfully delivered...phew!

Easter 2013...Alps?..no, North Wales!

North Wales has been amazing for the past couple weeks, I've been having to remind myself that I'm not living in the Alps!

Since coming back from Italy I've been busy moving house. Things are starting to settle down now. I'm very much enjoying living closer to the mountains.

All the craziness of late started a couple of weeks ago with some wild weather and heavy snowfall. This resulted in Llanberis Pass being closed for almost a week, amazing considering the time of year. I almost got caught out driving back home after a late bar shift at Plas Y Brenin. Amazingly we managed to slide though some seriously large wind blown drifts, some of which were up over the bonnet of the car!

Descending Llanberis pass at 1am...Amazing we slid through!

A few 100m lower altitude in Beris there was no snow at all.

Biking up a couple of days later the pass was still shut to traffic

The pass opened and the sun came out just in time for the Easter Bank holiday weekend. My new spare room and converted attic office were filled with psyched friends super keen to get out in the mountains!

With Team Savage reunited (plus girlfriends) we missioned it up to Clogwyn Y Garnedd on the North Face of Snowdon. The sunny weather and deep snow gave the day an alpine feel. It was great to be back on Clogwyn Y Garnedd 7 years after I climbed Central Trinity with my dad as my first winter route. Amy and I opted for Right Hand Trinity which turned out to be quite tricky. Even though there was plenty of snow about the route itself was rather thin. There was good snow ice in places but the tricky sections were mainly mixed climbing with a bit of frozen turf. We topped out to more sunny alpine like vistas and crowds of people with variable levels of equiptness!

Snowdon looking like a Himalayan peak!

Our lines..thanks to Tom Skelhon for the topo! 

Amy on RH Trinity
The amazing thing about this time of year is the variety of activities which can be done, all in good conditions. I was inspired by Bryn William's great helmet cam video taking this to the max! On the bank holiday Sunday we opted for a day of sunny bouldering at Porth Ysgo. The highlight for me was ticking The Incredible Shaking Man from sit down start, an Ysgo classic, a tough V7. Totally fantastic problem. It lived up the the name, a considerable amount of body tension was required! It was great to blast around the boulders repeating stunning classics such as Popcorn Party

Me on Popcorn Party V6

Amy on the Perrin's Crack

The real treat was yet come!....to be continued...

Finnish Fame

Two years ago in May 2011 (doesn't time fly!) I was one of the UK hosts on the BMC International Meet in Llanberis. See the blog post I wrote at the time.

One of the international guests who I had the enjoyment of showing around North Wales inbetween the rain showers was Perttu Ollila from Finland. After the meet Perttu wrote a nice article on his trip to North Wales for a Finnish climbing magazine using the photos I took. He sent me a copy of the magazine, I re-discovered it while shifting through paper work while moving here. I thought the article was worth scanning in, even if you can't understand Finnish it's got some nice photos...even though I say so myself! 

Perttu on Comes the Dervish E3 5c

Luke Brooks on Aardvark E2 5c

Perttu on Pull my Daisy E2 5c