Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NEW: Facebook Thursday..

In an attempt to give those of you who climb independently a bit of a head start I will soon be starting "Facebook Thursday".  I often shy away from directly recommending specific locations to climb in winter on my blog, preferring that people come to their own conclusions.

Oh course we all want to know where the best place to go at the weekend is, and not necessarily what's been done during the week!
This 2011 season I am going to post my recommended climbing location(s) on the JTM Facebook Page on a Thursday evening, all being well this should pop up in your newsfeed with some cheeky beta.  All you need to do is hit that "Like" button on the page to ensure that you get the updates.

Here is the link Facebook  It's just up to you to point the car in the right direction on a Friday night....

Starting on the 6th January...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Col du Grand St Bernard..

Mark WalkerTim Blakemore, Alison Culshaw and I decided to head out for a brief outing to the Col du Grand St Bernard on the Swiss/Italian border.

We skinned up to the Monastery at the col to be greeted by the head monk and offered shelter from the "Scottish" blizzard outside.  After a few cups of tea we tried to ski back down the hill but were largely prevented from making progress by the wind howling up the valley.

One of my more interesting days out recently..

Monday, December 13, 2010

Chamonix Skiing..

I arrived in Chamonix a couple of days ago with Mark Walker and Matt Stygall to join Alison Culshaw's Ski Performance for Mountaineers Course.

After a bit of a shake down day on the Grand Montets we started some fairly intensive coaching today both on and off piste.  Having done this course for a couple of years, I can thoroughly recommend it.  There are a few spaces still available for later in the year, so it might be worth perking yourself if you want to ski better...

As far as Chamonix ski conditions go there has been some rain to a high level followed by a refreeze giving some icy conditions in places.  It's not all bad though..

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Edale MRT Winter Skills part II..

I was again out with Matt, Paul, Dave and Brookie today, doing some winter skills training for Edale MRT.

The aim of the day was to put some of the previous skills into practice by covering a bit of ground.  With this in mind we kicked off in Winnats Pass negotiating some steep frozen ground.  We were also slightly surprised to see two separate cones of avalanche debris which had run out nearly to the road - full depth slides on the smooth grass.

From here we headed over to Mam Tor where there were a few teams making ascents of 'Y-Gully'.  Perhaps not a good choice just before midday on south facing slopes.  Our next stopping point of Back Tor is probably a much better option at the moment being in the shade.  Plenty of teams made exactly this choice climbing a variety of lines from I-III.

Further afield in Scotland Andy Turner and Kev Shields made the 2nd ascent of 'The Cathedral' X,11 on the Cobbler (Southern Highlands).  Andy had mentioned that he was going to give it a go, nice one getting that ticked.....

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Edale MRT Winter Skills...

With plenty of snow in the Peak District I have been out with Edale MRT today doing some winter skills.

We spent the day on Kinder Scout around the southern edges looking at axe and crampon work, basic snow pack stability and approaching a corniced edge (of which there were plenty!).

Grindsbrook and Crowden Brook are quite icy in the upper reaches but any climbable ice is often buried by fresh snow.  With a brief thaw over the weekend conditions on Kinder Downfall might be better early next week.  Looking over to Back Tor, the crag looked in reasonable condition being scoured by the northerly winds of recent days..

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Coup de Grace, Beinn an Dothaidh

Graham Stein and I teamed up this morning to head into Beinn an Dothaidh near the Bridge of Orchy.

As we left the car the temperature was registering -13 degrees with a biting easterly wind. Making for a cold feel to the crag we tried to keep moving by choosing 'Coup de Grace' V,7 having narrowly missed out on 'Ménage a Trois' (enjoyed by another pair from Edinburgh).

This excellent early season mixed venue was popular today as folk escaped the heavy snow further east.

Back in the Peak District there is a huge amount of snow - ideal for those ski descents that you have always wanted to do...

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