Sunday, January 28, 2007

Simon, Steve, Julia and myself headed to Sam's new bouldering wall in Sheffield today. 'The Climbing Works' is definately worth a visit, being the biggest wall of its type around at the moment. Visit

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's been a windy day out in the Peak District today. Izzy and myself headed up onto Kinder Scout to have a wander around. Most of the snow has melted just leaving some larger drifts of very soft snow.

The westerly winds have been quite strong making it hard going high on the plateau, although there were still plenty of people out and about.

The eastern edges are largely free of snow although there is quite a lot of water about. The good news is that the strong westerly wind should dry the edges quickly. People were out and about at Stanage and Burbage North today although it looked bitterly cold. Venues such as Rivelin, Cratcliffe, Lawrencefield, Stoney Middleton and Beeston Tor are probably a good bet in the conditions.

Further a field, Dan and Bene climbed 'Glover's Chimney' III,4 on Ben Nevis today reporting good conditions.

With high pressure dominating throught the next week the weather should be good for climbing in the Peak District.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ritchie struggled through waist deep snow today to look at the downfall - a few wet icy smears but nothing on the main fall. He ended up to the right (looking at fall) and climbed an open gully which was holding good, deep ice (over rocks) with lots of frozen turf for extra placements! Approx. 20 -30m, Scottish Grd II/III and may have been 'Arpeggio gully'. A brilliant clear blue sky on the plateau!

Over towards Stanage there was still plenty of snow. The road from Ringinglow past Burbage North hasn't been cleared, making for interesting driving conditions to say the least. 4x4's and those with snow chains are at a definate advantage, other teams were seen walking in from near Ringinglow!

In addition, news from La Grave... "Lots of heavy snow on Tues 23rd Jan covering over most of the nth and sth valley walls of the Romanche valley in La Grave. No cascades in any sort of condition below the La Grave area in the guide. In La Grave the classic 'Le Pylone' was seeing quite a few ascents but was visibily getting thin as our time in La Grave wore on. The route 'La Colere du ciel' was the best bet with a very thin first pitch but superb ice on the last 3 pitches.

Fournel was much more reliable and noticably colder. We climbed 2 routes - the best being 'Les nains des ravines' (300m IV/4). Plenty in condition higher up the valley.

At the Col du Lauteret (Combe de Laurichard) we struggled through deep snow to climb the short and easy 'Bleu' (30m II/3) - raquettes made the going much easier on the approach!" Thanks Ritchie

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another fine, but cold day in the Peak today. The forecast for Wednesday suggests that the northerly wind will remain, bringing further sleet and snow showers through the day (although there is some uncertainty).

It was bitterly cold today in Millers Dale, although there were plenty of folk out and about. I was able to have a look up into Preistcliffe Quarry but it looked very dry (it sometimes forms nice smears of ice).

There has also been some flooding in Stoney Middleton, following a dam burst at a nearby quarry. Currently the A623 is closed, but the main crag outside the village is unaffected.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Peak District has seen a couple of inches of snow over night, resulting in the closure of the trans pennine routes for a few hours.

It's set to be cold for the next few days, with northerly winds into the weekend and a wintery feel (photo of Coombs Moss and Kinder Scout).

The exposed gritstone edges will certainly be bitterly cold at the moment, but the friction will no doubt be excellent. For the keen, the snow might be handy, softening the landing, for those gritstone chop routes! The slightly lower crags of Froggatt, Curbar, Birchen, Baslow and Gardoms appear to be free of snow..

Away from the edges, it might be worth checking out Wildboar Clough or Blackden Brook for an icy scramble (take your crampons and an axe)..

Further north, Andy Turner and Dave Hollinger climbed the classic test piece 'Unicorn' VIII,8 in Stob Coire nan Lochain, Glencoe. They reported good conditions..

Friday, January 19, 2007

The weather in the Peak District has been savage, to say the least, over the last few days. Heavy rain and strong winds battered most areas, keeping most folk confined to the climbing walls.

However, there have been a few bright spells now and then, allowing a few recent repeats of hard grit classics such as 'Equilibrium' (E10) etc.. Dan and myself were out at Stoney Middleton on wednesday, and the crag was in good condition despite a couple of isolated wet weaps.

It looks like the weekend is going to be mixed with good weather on Saturday and showers on Sunday. It is still set to remain windy, which is good news for fast drying gritstone.

Further a field in Scotland, the last few days have seen some good breaks in the weather on the west coast. Associate instructors Andy Turner and Dave Hollinger were quick to take advantage of this with an ascent of 'Cornicopia' VII,9 on Ben Nevis. Not content with one modern classic, they visited the West Face of Aonach Beag to make the first winter ascent of 'Stalking Horse' at VI,7.

The outlook for next week suggests that a large High Pressure system will block recent mild westerlies and pull down cold air from the north. This is likely to bring freezing temperatures to much of the UK, and snowfall to many areas. Check out and

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Andy Turner and myself spent the weekend over in Fort William trying to make the most of the early season conditions. Despite a promising forecast, the freezing level remained close to summit height.

Sadly, this means that torrential rain has stripped back the snow level to all but the highest corries. Having said that, there is still a surprising amount of snow on the higher peaks and all that is required is a decent freeze. I don't think I have seen the hills quite as wet for a few years which bodes well for future ice development!

On Saturday, we took a walk up Ben Nevis but soon turned around. A four man team from Plas Y Brenin stuck it out for a while longer only to find 'North Gully' in very soggy condition. Sunday, saw very similar conditions with heavy rain showers during our walk around the Mamores.

Fingers crossed for a freeze.. The medium range forecast suggests that colder weather may well be on the way at last; check out:

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Over in the Cairngorms the last few days have been fairly mild. Thursday and Friday saw the freezing level above the summits, resulting in a rapidly retreating snow pack. However, the clear nights have refrozen the snow in many places resulting in solid neve. Some teams were seen on 'Fiacaill Couloir' and in 'Y Gully" in Corrie an Lochain.

Things have improved on the west coast on Saturday. Mike Brownlow and Nick Carter made an ascent of 'Sidewinder' on Trident Buttress, Ben Nevis. This area is quick to come into condition and relatively high on the mountain. This summer HVS may have seen an ascent before?

Nearby Mike Pescod and Donald King climbed 'Slab Climb' VI,7, which is rapidly gaining a reputation as a modern nevis classic.

Back in the Peak District there have been some showers and its been bitterly cold out on the grit. Some keen climbers still managed to brave the conditions. It looks like similar conditions this week, with showers and drier spells.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sandy Patterson and Chris Plant spent the day in the northern corries of the Cairngorms today. They climbed 'Western Rib' (II/III), which after clearing away the fresh snow was great, although the wind on the top pitch made life a little more interesting! Chris reported that the new snow needs some consolidation, teams being out on 'The Runnel', 'Patey's Route', and 'Goat Track Gulley'.

It looks like the next few days are due to be stormy with a few freeze / thaw cycles. This should consolidate the snow in the gullies, and will certainly aid conditions on the higher mountains on the west coast.

In the Peak District occassional showers have forced people to grab the odd bit of bouldering, or routes on the grit. However, the more sheltered limestone venues such as Stoney Middleton, and Wild Cat in Matlock have also seen some traffic.