Monday, March 26, 2007

"Rhyme" Repeated..

Ben Nevis continues to be in excellent condition. It appears that on Saturday Ian Parnell and Viv Scott repeated the hardest route on Indicator Wall: 'Rhyme of the ancient mariner' VIII,7.

This modern test piece breaches the blankest section of slab with a tricky traverse from 'Stormy Petrel'. (Described by first ascentionist Blair Fyffe, as "a wee bit tricky"). However, it appears that on this recent repeat a new direct start was added.

With all this activity I wonder whether we will start to see some of "The Ben's" last great problems starting to fall, no doubt to keen folk who don't mind running the rope out!

Oh, and in the Peak, Leon and Tim made the mistake of going to Horseshoe Quarry...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Plastic ice and crisp grit..

Despite an overcast start to the day, the weather proved to be excellent in the Peak District today. It definately feels like spring and plenty of folk were out and about enjoying the crisp gritstone conditions.

Burbage South was particularly busy with lots of people bouldering in the valley. Burbage North, Stanage Edge, Froggatt, Cratcliffe and Curbar were also popular.

Further north in Fort William, local Guide Alan Kimber described the conditions on Ben Nevis as "awesome". Over the last few days many of the classic grade V and VI's have been climbed such as 'Orion Direct', 'Point Five', 'Hadrians Wall', and 'Sickle' etc. In addition, Blair and Tony also climbed the rarely formed 'Riders on the Storm' VI,5 and 'The Great Glen' VI,5 on the 23rd of March. Both these routes don't readily form, as they require a prolonged ice build up. However, both routes received a number of ascents in the 2000,2001 seasons establishing them as modern classics worthy of attention.

Not wanting to miss the fantastic late season conditions Blair Fyffe and Iain Small also repeated the uber classic 'Stormy Petrel' VII,6. This thin face classic again needs very specific conditions and has only seen a handful of ascents since Cuthbertson and Kane first breached the big blank slab in 1983.

For those keen to take advantage of the conditions on Ben Nevis, Andy Turner is available for private guiding and instruction over the next few weeks. For details please visit the JTM Website.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tom, Charlotte and myself went to Windgather Rocks today for an introduction to climbing outside. Despite being initially quite damp, the rock dried quickly in the stiff breeze giving some good climbing conditions.

There were many other parties at the crag soloing, leading and toproping routes despite it being slightly chilly. Elsewhere in the Peak there were plenty of people climbing at Horseshoe Quarry, Froggatt and Curbar.

Stoney Middleton's 'Windy Buttress' also looked to be in excellent condition from the road despite last night's rain. It looks like there may be more rain and possibly snow on the way tonight. Unfortunately, for Edale Mountain Rescue Team's aspirant members assessment it's going to be a cold night out on the northern moors. Unlucky..

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Unfortunately, the temperature has been fairly warm on the westcoast of Scotland. The freezing level was well above the summit of Ben Nevis today.

The snow level has retreated back into the corries, although one party did manage to climb 'Green Gully' later on in the day. There is likely to be plenty of ice left high up, and with cold conditions forecast, there should be a dramatic improvement next week...

Kyle, Jake and myself brushed up on some essential skills before diverting to the IceFactor indoor ice wall at Kinlochleven. This allowed us to try out a vast and varied collection of tools as part of the Snow and Rock Winter Test, organised by Adventure Unlimited.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Paul, Chris and myself were up in Stob Coire nan Lochain in Glen Coe yesterday. There is still plenty of snow in the corrie and most gullies are complete, sadly the freezing level was above the summits.

There were a few groups in the corrie with a couple of big teams climbing 'Dorsal Arete'. In the lean conditions loose rock can be a problem, and rock fall was noticed in this area.

Dave Hollinger also climbed 'Tower Ridge' on Ben Nevis describing conditions as good high up.

We were out as part of Snow and Rock's winter clothing and equipment test organised by Adventure Unlimited...

Friday, March 09, 2007

The weather has been quite unsettled here on the west coast of Scotland over the last couple of days. The freezing level has been up and down resulting in some good ice build up high on Ben Nevis. Hopefully some calmer weather will arrive next week so we can all make the most of it!

Dave Evans and myself headed up onto the Ben today, but changed plans at the last minute and climbed on Carn Dearg, lower on the mountain. 'Route One' VI,6 was in good condition giving some good (and engaging) mixed climbing up a narrow chimney system.

Yesterday (Thursday) Andy Turner and myself climbed 'Left Edge Route' V,5, followed by a short section of 'Rubicon Wall' VI,5. It was fairly wild and at least two teams backed off 'Point Five' due to excessive spindrift.

Fingers crossed for this ridge of high pressure that is forecast!....

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

International Meet Success..

The BMC International Meet finished at the weekend with some excellent climbing conditions on Ben Nevis. A number of new routes were climbed during the week, bringing the end to a successful few days.

These notable achievements are recorded in the BMC News at Ian Parnell also made the third ascent of 'Babylon' VIII,8 on No.3 Gully Buttress (pictured).

For more details and images from the meet check out the following links:

Ruth and myself were out on Kinder Scout today for some navigation practice. Although windy, it has been a fine day with clear blue skies for the most part.

Despite last night's heavy rain, Stanage (pictured) and Burbage North were totally dry due to the strong wind. Plenty of folk were out climbing at these venues, and I would imagine that the rest of the Eastern Edges are in similar condition.

Tomorrow (Wednesday), is forecast to be another fine day in the Hope Valley. For those able to nip out mid week there should be plenty of climbing to be done. In addition to the Eastern Edges, any other crags exposed to the wind will also be fine e.g. Stoney Middleton, Horseshoe Quarry, High Tor, Wild Cat, Black Rocks and Cratcliffe to name a few worth checking out!...