Saturday, December 30, 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everybody..

This is usually the place to tell you what's going on in the Peak District, but it appears that the alps is the place to be just at the moment!

Having just been away for a week or so skiing, I can say that western alps are in desperate need of some fresh snow. However, the benefits for climbers are obvious, with easy approaches and descents to most routes in the Chamonix area. Rob Jarvis and Mark Thomas took advantage of the prevailing high pressure to climb both 'Fil a Plomb' and the 'Supercouloir'.

A day or two earlier Andy Houseman and Neil Brodie made the third British ascent of the highly respected route 'Omega' on the Petite Jorasses. This uber route from the late 90's only received a free ascent from a British team as recently as 2004.

At a similar time Dave Hollinger and Rich Cross also climbed the 'Raie des Fesse', a classic couloir on the north face of the Pic Sans Nom in the Ecrin.

In the Peak District there has been some more rain today with many of the more popular crags appearing to be quite wet. The lower venues such as Stoney Middleton will most likely be climbable..

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It has been fairly cold and clear for the last couple of days, with a good hard frost this morning. Unfortunately, this cold stable weather has created a bit of a temperature inversion in the Peak District, with many of the valley's being filled with fog.

The best climbing is currently to be found on the higher Eastern edges which at times have been out of the mist. Crags such as Stanage, Froggatt and Curbar are the best bet unless you fancy climbing in cold gloomy conditions.

The outlook suggests that this stable weather will continue for the next few days at least. Further away it appears that conditions are shaping up nicely in Scotland, with some weekend activity on Ben Nevis and the Northern Corries. James Edwards and Tim Blakemore recently made an ascent of 'Scorpion' on Carn Etchachan, while over on the west coast Ian Small and Blair Fyffe may well have made the second ascent of 'Strident Edge' VI,7.

New for this season James Edwards has started his conditions blog at which I am sure will turn out to be a really useful resource, particularly for conditions in the North West Highlands.

It's also quite good in Chamonix allegedly, with many of the classic goulottes being climbed. Picture: Neil Stevenson on the Voie Escarra, Aiguille du Chardonnet. Rob Jarvis made an ascent of 'Pinocchio' IV, 6+ on Mont Blanc du Tacul yesterday, describing it as "high quality". On the same day Jon Bracey and Nick Bullock also climbed 'Scotch on the Rocks', along with a new route on the Pointe Lachenal.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

There has been some torrential rain overnight in the Peak District, resulting in some very wet crags! However, the weather is much better today so fingers crossed that some of the more exposed venues dry out.

There will certainly some dry climbing to be found on the higher edges such as Stanage, Curbar and Froggatt for the keen. In fact Froggatt's slabs are probably the fastest drying bits of rock in the Peak along with the Burbage South boulders.

Yesterday, I was up at Rockcity Climbing Centre in Hull doing some training for visiting staff. It was certainly dry and warm in the wall...

High pressure is set to dominate the UK over the next week or so according to the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS). As such this will hopefully bring some fine blue sky bouldering days over the Christmas break..

And for those thinking of heading out continental ice climbing and experimenting with leashless tools, have a look at the video here..

Friday, December 08, 2006

The posts have been a bit thin on the ground due to Neil and myself visiting Chamonix for the last couple of weeks. Currently, it's fairly mild over the vast majority of France although some new snow is expected soon.

Back in the Peak District, the weather has been good out on the gritstone between the rain (allegedly). It certainly looks good just at the moment. The forecast is promising for the weekend with cold and dry weather expected. It might be a bit chilly on the exposed edges so the usual suspects of Rivelin, Lawrencefield, Birchen, and Cratcliffe might be a good bet..