Monday, April 30, 2007

Peak District Fire Risk..

It appears that the Peak District National Park Authority is to close most of the open access moorland in the Peak District due to fire risk.

This has happened in past years, although climbing has been largely unaffected as the majority of crags can be accessed by public rights of way. In any case, The British Mountaineering Council website will be worth monitoring for updated information.

The weather has been particularly fine for the last few days, with a stiff breeze. With these combined factors any minor fires are likely to spread fast resulting in the closure.

BMC News: http://83.231.159.41/bmcnews/NewsItem.aspx?id=1647

Friday, April 27, 2007

Excellent Gritstone Conditions..

Having just arrived home from Chamonix it is clear that the "cragging" season in the Peak District is in full swing. The weather has been very good over the last couple of weeks and is set to be fine into next week.

As such, plenty of folk have been out and about enjoying the gritstone edges particularly as it is now light well into the evening.

We are still taking bookings for spring and summer rock climbing and May looks to be a busy time of year for us again. On the left Catherine is pictured on a recent 'Resin to Rock' course based in the Peak District. In addition, Martin, Richard and Chris also completed a Single Pitch Award Training Course over the duration of last weekend.

Aiguille Sans Nom: North Face

Dave Hollinger, Toby Keep and myself finished our trip to Chamonix with an ascent of the North Face of the Aiguille Sans Nom.

Starting up the rock buttress of the Brown-Patey line (often known as the British Route) we climbed to a bivouac allowing us to complete the upper icy/mixed section early in the morning. In the end, we climbed the Marsigny-Mohr variation in the upper section of the face descending via the Sans Nom couloir. Dave Hollinger is pictured here climbing towards the upper section of the face.

Summer is definately on the way in the european alps with the snowline retreating rapidly..

Sunday, April 22, 2007

North Face of the Eiger..

The last couple of weeks have been characterised by a stable high pressure system here in the western alps. This has been great news for those of us who are still out here on an extended holiday.

Earlier in the week, Toby Keep and myself climbed the 'Lagarde Couloir Direct' on the North Face of Les Droites in Chamonix. The route was in excellent condition with good snow ice (neve) everywhere, allowing a comfortable ascent in a day.

Following this, Nick Wallis and myself headed over to Switzerland to climb the North Face of the Eiger. Again the route is in excellent condition, with good neve allowing steady progress on the easier sections. Taking two days we climbed to "Death Bivouac", climbing to the summit on the second day. Nick is pictured above traversing towards the "Hinterstoisser Traverse".

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I have been in the alps for the last couple of weeks enjoying the good weather and fresh snow. As such posts have been a bit thin on the ground. Andy Turner has been busy though, climbing 'Green Gully' IV,4 on Ben Nevis with Lucy and Nile earlier in the month.

It appears that the Scottish winter season has finally finished and folk are making the most of the good spring conditions in the Peak District. Here in the alps there was excellent powder conditions for off piste skiing in La Thuile (Vallee d'Aosta) early in April. Last week Dave, Hannah, Mark, Des and myself headed down to the Vanoise region for a few days ski touring.

Although a bit icy in the morning, there was some good spring snow to be skied later in the day if you were on the right aspect slopes.

In Chamonix the climbing conditions are generally good with fairly mild temperatures. Routes such as the 'Supercouloir', and 'Legarde Couloir' have seen a number ascents recently. In addition Toby Keep and partner climbed the '1938 Route' on the North Face of the Eiger. This still highly respected classic has seen quite a few ascents recently suggesting that it's in good icy condition.