Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lead Climbing for the MMC..

Ian Hey was out today with members of the Marylebone Mountaineering Club keen to brush up on the skills for Leading.

They visited Burbage North looking at gear and belay systems, on what became a good autumnal day. More details at Ian's Blog.

Unfortunately, the weather looks wet and windy for tomorrow so it might make for some challenging leads..

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mountain Leader Training..

Days Four and Five: The last couple of days have been spent on a mobile expedition traversing the Langdale Pikes to Great End, followed by a camp in Eskdale.

Here, we spent some time practicing night navigation on the tarn studded hillside above Green Hole. There were at least two other ML Training or Assessment parties in the vicinity, given away by small clusters of headtorches.

Having successfully navigated back to the tents, it was time to fire up the stove for a brew (pictured). For the Scottish weather watchers have a look at

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mountain Leader Training..

Day Two: Yesterday was spent at Castle Naze on Coombs Moss, looking at the security in steep ground elements of the ML Syllabus.

Despite being exposed to a fresh westerly wind it was relatively mild at the crag, with some sunny spells. Kinder Scout remained shrouded in a think layer of cloud on it's western upslopes.

Day Three: Today is the start of a two night expedition in the Lake District allowing us to apply many of the skills learnt in recent days.

Although mild at the moment, it appears that things could be about to change with strong northerly winds early next week.

At this time of year that most likely means colder temperatures and the possibility of snow for the scottish highlands.....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mountain Leader Training..

Day 1: This week I am Directing a Mountain Leader Training course for White Hall Centre in Derbyshire.

Today, Al, Mark, Kevin, Alex and I crossed the western side of Kinder Scout with the aim of looking at the essential strategies and skills of Mountain Navigation.

The visibility was variable with low cloud over about 300m for most of the day - ideal conditions for navigation practice. Despite this thick cloud on the western side of the Peak District, I suspect that it was more broken to the east giving good conditions on the Eastern Edges..

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Peak District Navigation..

Darren Saxton was also out yesterday with Richard and Edward doing a day of Mountain Navigation on Kinder Scout.

They spent the majority of the day looking at the essential skills of navigation including contour interpretation - perhaps the hardest but most useful.

More details on Darren's blog at

Turbo SPA in North Wales..

This weekend is a busy one in the outdoor calendar with the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM), Snowdon Marathon and the slightly more sedentary Mountain Leader Training Association (MLTA) conference.

Peak Mountain Training are offering two CPD workshops: Turbo SPA and coaching navigation. Neil Johnson and I were out yesterday with the 'Turbo SPA' group in some wild weather. Despite this, we covered many interesting ways that folk could use their SPA to the max...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Derby University at Birchen..

Birchen Edge was the venue of choice today for the students of Derby University.

The day was spent with climbing pairs leading independantly under the guidance of Dave Hollinger, Mike Gray and myself.

Despite some heavy showers everybody managed some good leads. Sadly, the weather for the weekend looks unsettled...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Derby University at the Roaches and Froggatt..

I have spent the last couple of days out with students from Derby University's outdoor courses.

Monday consisted of a visit to the Roaches in Staffordshire to look at ropework for Mountain Leaders. Here we covered a variety of simple ropework systems that will be applied to classic mountain terrain in Snowdonia at later date.

Tuesday, was centred around single pitch ropework at Froggatt.

Despite the good weather of recent days Tuesday was foul, following the arrival of a slow moving front. It looks like the weather could become a little more unsettled and showery but the gritstone edges will remain a good option.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Climbing in Langdale..

Haglofs day five: Martin and Craig joined me today to brush up on some advanced ropework.

We decided to visit Raven Crag in Langdale, which was getting plenty of sunshine today despite the sun being low in the sky.

Over the course of the day we managed to look at various belay set ups, as well as revising escaping the system and associated advanced techniques.

Back in the Peak District the weather looks great for the weekend, ideal grit conditions..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scrambling in Langdale..

Haglofs day four: Adam and Shaun joined me today for some scrambling in Langdale. They were keen to get some scrambling mileage along with some summits.

Starting at Stickle Barn we gained height quickly, following the broken buttresses of Pike Howe (2) up to Harrison Stickle.

Here we climbed the South Central Buttress of Harrison Stickle (3) which deposited us neatly at the summit.

From here a quick walk took us to the top of Jack's Rake (1) for an interesting scrambling descent.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climbing and Scrambling in Langdale..

Haglofs day three: Al, Steve and I have spent the day linking some interesting climbs and scrambles in Langdale.

Despite the misty and humid conditions we made a quick ascent of 'Middlefell Buttress' Diff, before scrambling up the hillside to Harrison Stickle.

Here some more scrambling took us to the summit, where a quick trot over the plateau allowed us to touch the top of Pavey Ark.

To finish we opted to descend the classic 'Jack's Rake' finishing the day with a quick pint in Stickle Barn..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Climbing in Langdale..

Steven, Paul and I decided to head to Langdale today on the second of five Haglofs training days.

With good weather we climbed the 'Original Route' S before nipping round to do the classic 'Middlefell Buttress' Diff.

Following this we spent a bit of time reviewing the equipment used during the day...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Scrambling on Dow Crag..

This week I am based in the Lake District working on the Haglofs gear testing week along with Berwyn Evans and the team from G2.

Today, Drew and Phil (from Outside in Hathersage) joined me for a scrambling day, but more importantly got the opportunity to test some of the latest Haglofs clothing and equipment.

With good weather prevailing we made ascents of two Grade 3 scrambles on Dow Crags 'B' Buttress.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Stanage Edge..

It's been a great day out in the Peak this afternoon, with clear skies and cool conditions - ideal for the grit.

Tom Stewart and I decided to head to Stanage Edge, where we were joined by Dave Hollinger. We managed a quick session climbing/thrutching up 'Providence' E1 5c, 'The Dangler' E2 5c and 'The Tippler' E1 5b, punctuated by a bit of "banter". Essential when somebody is struggling up a wide jamming roof crack!

November's Climb Magazine has also recently hit the shops, and it's well worth having a look at Adam Longs account of James McHaffie and Ben Bransby's ascent of 'The Voie Petit' on the Grand Capucin. This is no mean feet with F8b climbing at altitude. Also this month is a Haglofs Advertorial of their excellent Spitz Jacket, check it out here - Haglofs Advertorial.

Monday, October 05, 2009

British Mountain Guides Summer Test..

Apologies for the lack of updates. I have been away for the week on the British Guides Summer Test in North Wales with James Edwards, Terry Ralphs and Richard Mansfield.

It's been a week of changeable weather with sunshine and torrential showers, with some strong winds thrown in for good measure.

Despite the autumnal conditions we visited Gogarth, Tremadog, traversed the Glyders and did some damp climbing along the way. Back in the Peak District it felt cool and crisp this morning - ideal conditions for the grit..