Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lawrencefield Quarry and "The Works"....

Yesterday started dry and overcast so Dave, Jay and I decided to head to Lawrencefield Quarry.

Despite the rain threatening we were able to spend a reasonable amount of time leading on the 'Ginger Bread Slab' before abseiling back to the ground, an ideal opporunity to practice the use of a prussik.

With heavy rain coming in down the Hope Valley we beat a retreat to the Climbing Works in Sheffield for a bouldering session.  Dave is pictured here at Windgather earlier in the week.

Finally, we visited both Horseshoe Quarry and Yarncliffe Quarry today to try and put many of the weeks skills together.  Dave and Jay made good progress and I look forward to seeing them out on the crag locally....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leading at Froggatt Edge..

Dave, Jay and I decided to visit Froggatt Edge today with the aim of doing some leading on traditional protection.

We spent some time concentrating on gear placement and belay construction before launching up a couple of routes.  The crag was quiet today, and we managed to climb plenty of routes before rain threatened.

Luckily it was quite breezy today with a south westerly wind keeping the midges at bay.

It looks a bit damp tomorrow, but we are looking forward to building on these skills tomorrow..

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Windgather Rocks...

I joined Dave and Jay today for the first of five days of rock climbing based in the Peak District.

Having just returned from an extended trip to Europe where they had discovered sport climbing, Dave and Jay were keen to learn the ways of UK traditional climbing.

With heavy showers on the Eastern Edges this morning, we decided to escape to Windgather where we were able to climb plenty of easy grit routes while looking at belays and protection etc.  This will hopefully form a good basis from which to develop during the rest of the week....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

North Wales Multi Pitch with the Austrian Alpine Club (AAC)..

While I have been away in the Europe Andy Turner and Ruth Taylor have kindly stepped in to cover some work in the UK.  Last weekend was one such occasion - Andy climbing with members of the Austrian Alpine Club (UK section).

The aim was to develop skills for multi pitch climbing with the group visiting both Little Tryfan and the Moelwyns over two days.  Well done to everybody involved who all led some great pitches by the end of the weekend.

Sadly, Andy forgot his camera, the image above is an old shot of Little Tryfan..

Nadelhorn (4327m)..

With a good forecast for the rest of the week we were keen to try and do the Nadelgrat.

We made the punishing ascent to the Bordier Hutte and set off early the next morning.  Sadly, our plan soon had to change as we were faced with an unfrozen glacier and some very weak snow bridges(!)  The approach to the Dirrujoch was also in sub optimum condition and we opted not to join other parties here due to the stonefall risk.

Switching to "plan b" we headed to the windjoch and climbed the Nadelhorn and the Ulrichshorn before descending back to the hut. Graham Frost is pictured early in the morning during a brief drink stop on the glacier.

More information and pictures on Grahams Blog.

Rotgrat on the Alphubel (4206m)..

I have been over in Evolene, Switzerland for a week working with Graham Frost for Martin Moran Mountaineering.

We met up on Sunday in Martigny as some heavy showers came through - luckily we managed to dodge the worst and climb the nine pitch routes 'Les Saines' just up the road to Verbier.

After this brief warm up we decided to head up to the Taschhutte with the aim of climbing the Rotgrat, a long and varied ridge climbing to the summit of the Alphubel at 4206m.  This proved an excellent route with varied obstacles including narrow aretes, slabs, snow sections and some Valais "choss" pulling..

Chris is pictured high up on the summit tower, the full ridge of the Rotgrat stretching out behind.

Some more information and photos on Graham Frosts Blog.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


With a good forecast on Wednesday and Thursday the Martin Moran Mountaineering team decamped to Zermatt and made the approach to the Hornli Hutte.

Here we had one aim, an ascent of the Matterhorn via the Hornligrat. Steve and I set off just after 4am well positioned in the rush of headtorches making their way up the initial fixed ropes.  The ridge is quite snowy at the moment with crampons required well below the Solvay Hut.

The summer has been caracteristed by stormy and cool weather with north westerly winds and many routes are in snowy condition.  On Thursday, there were three teams on the North Face of the Matterhorn with more massing at the Hornli Hut.  Many of the other North Face routes in the Swiss Valais are in good condition e.g Lenspitze North Face, Dent Blanche North Face etc etc..

Grand Cornier..

I am over in the Val d'Herens at the moment working for Martin Moran Mountaineering in the pleasant Swiss village of Evolene.

Monday, was a cold and cloudly day but with an improving weather forecast we decided to head up to the Dent Blanche Bivouac Hut.  The following day, Hannah, Nicky, Graham, Alan, Steve and I set out on the South West Ridge of the Grand Cornier (3961m).  This attractive summit is often dwarfed by the Dent Blanche but is a great mountain with a remote feel. Steve is pictured on the narrow ridge (AD).

As we were descending we also saw Liz and Chris Bedford heading up to the hut to also climb the SW Ridge and after some shouting across the crevasses we carried on in opposite directions.  Close to completing the Alpine 4000m peaks, it appears they have dropped below the magic height to tick this one?!..

Friday, August 05, 2011

Grand Paradiso and Col Gran Neyron - Ovest...

I joined a KE Adventure Group on wednesday evening at the Vittorio Emanuele Hut.  Already, a few days into an Italian Peaks and Passes trip I joined them to climb the Grand Paradiso 4061m.

With changeable weather in Chamonix the summit was unsurprisingly busy and it took a while to negotiate the hordes before pulling onto the highest point and hugging the Madonna.

We descended to the well positioned Chabod Hut spending the night there.  The following morning we crossed the unlikely looking Col Gran Neyron-Ovest and the steep chains towards the Glacier del Gran Neyron Occidental (pictured).  This accessed a wild and unspoilt valley which we descended to Eaux Rousses..