Friday, 29 April 2011

Mysterious Rain in the NW 28/04/11-29/04/11

With another amazing weather forecast I was massively psyched to head up to Reiff for a couple of days with Greg, Neil and Niall. We decided to head to the far north coast of Reiff to Leaning Block Cliffs as Greg had his eye on a few things and Neil also wanted to climb there. We made it there for about 2pm after driving up from Edinburgh.

The location is amazing and the routes, whilst short, are also very impressive. We made the most of the afternoon and I climbed some good routes with Greg before getting on Waigwa which Niall and Neil had thoroughly recommended. I was pretty psyched to get the onsight as it was a good battle, great to be pushing myself again and going through the mental battle that is trad climbing near your limit! Greg then made a sterling effort on The Quickening before some mysterious rain stopped play and we had to head back to the car and to find a camping spot.

After some more unfortunate mysterious rain throughout the night we decided not to risk walking back in to Leaning Block area and so instead headed to Ardmair. Niall and I managed to get two great routes in; Gravity's Rainbow and the amazing Le Petamine which I was again pleased to onsight, and managed to climb in much better style than the previous battle yesterday! Unfortunately the non-mystery rain then started and everything was soaked within five minutes. We packed up shop and headed down to Creag Dubh (my favourite crag!) where Greg started up some burly line near Oui Oui before deciding he was too tired and not mentally psyched so traversed off to give a nice little 30m pitch of about HVS before we abbed off and
headed back down to Edinburgh.

A short but very worthwhile trip with some great routes and really good company.

Monday, 25 April 2011

This is Sparta (n Slab)! 25/04/11

With a glorious weather forecast I couldn't resist getting out to the Slabs again. Sean, Sophie and I headed up and made the walk in, not 100% sure if they would be dry but fortunately they were and we made a leisurely ascent of Spartan Slab which was great fun, an awesome route. It was a bit weird not to be feeling much exposure, whether this was feeling comfortable on the route or just having climbed in some exposed places this year I don't know! A fantastic day anyway. Maybe time to squeeze in a couple more routes before cranking out some revision!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A visit to Applecross 16/04/11-17/04/11

Over the weekend I headed up to Applecross with my Dad, Brother, and 3 of my Dad's friends on the motorbikes. I met everyone at Lochearnhead as I had been staying at Sarah's and then we headed on up to the Green Welly stop at Tyndrum, through Glencoe to Fort William, up to Loch Cluanie, passed Eilan Donan Castle and towards Kyle of Lochalsh, round Loch Carron and over the Bealach nah Ba road into Applecross.

The scenery and roads were, as you would imagine, stunning. And we even had mostly dry weather to boot!

After a great fish and chips in the Applecross pub we headed back to the fixed campsite shed things where we were staying which turned out to be really nice.

On Sunday after a good cooked breakfast we reversed our route after driving round the Applecross peninsula and headed back down the road for Edinburgh.

It was a fun weekend and I think everyone had a great time enjoying dry, swooping tarmac!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Welsh Trip 08/04/11-14/04/11

With an amazing forecast Neil, Sophie and I drove down to Keswick on Friday morning after squeezing three people's kit for biking, climbing and camping into one car. We arrived in Keswick and after dumping the bikes and tents we headed off to Shepherd's Crag to get some climbing in.

The crag was quite busy with the glorious sun but we managed to get three quality routes done;Ardus, Adam and Eve. All three were good fun and it was good to get back into the trad mindset of working things out and staying relaxed, or trying to anyway! After this short session we headed back to Whinlatter where we had been for some "snowbiking" in December. The trail fully lived up to expectations this time and we did a truncated loop of the best bits which was amazing fun. A great first day and hopefully this weather continues for the rest of the trip.

After sorting ourselves out on Saturday we were able to get to Wales to make the afternoon climbing. We wasted no time in ticking some classic mountain routes as they were dry and the sun was shining. We headed to Clogwyn y Grochan and started up Spectre which was home to an awesome off-width on the last pitch which gave some good sport. After a quick bite to eat we headed over to the other end of the crag and Neil led up a HVS/E1 called Wind which was relatively short but really nice climbing with some fun moves. To finish the day we headed up Phantom Rib and finished in the dark to keep the interest up! Another great day ticking off some Welsh classics.

Sunday again dawned beautifully so we headed up towards Dinas Mot. Llanberis Pass was extremely busy however and so we couldn't get parked and ended up driving back to the campsite before walking up to the crag. Again there were people climbing but we didn't have to wait about and headed up West Rib which was a great route with a really nice second pitch. After abbing off we headed up Diagonal which is another classic, I got the final pitch which was a nice corner crack system which was great to get back into the swing of things as I'm definitely not as strong or relaxed as I was at the end of last summer (to be expected really), but climbing much better than at the beginning of last summer which is an improvement. To finish the evening off we headed to Vivian slate quarry and Neil led up Mental Lentil which I then stripped. Slate was
weird to climb on! Not sure if I liked it or not...good to experience anyway!

On Monday we awoke to some heavy cloud and it was much colder than previous days so we decided to head to the coast to see if the weather was better there. I was pretty nervous about climbing at Gogarth as it has a massive reputation but having two hours to kill in the cafe when we arrived meant I could settle down somewhat. We headed to Castell Helen and stood at the top trying to decide if it was too cold or not. Thankfully we decided to abb in; the atmosphere was amazing and our first route Lighthouse Arete Direct also proved amazing; jug hauling out over the crashing sea! After some lunch we abbed back to the belay ledge and Neil led off up Blanco/Poseidon link up which goes through some impressive scenery. This was one of the best routes at the grade that I've been on, the route was just absolutely amazing with biffer jugs everywhere! An absolute classic! To finish the day we headed to Holyhead Mountain and Sophie led up Black and Tan, Neil took photos and I cleaned the route before we headed back to Llanberis.

Tuesday again was slightly cloudy, cold and wet in Llanberis so we headed back to Castell Helen as I was psyched to get on Rap which was supposed to be high in the grade and brilliant. Again I was a bit nervous as we approached but as we abbed in all nerves went and the psyche started to build massively, it's such an inspiring place to be! I led up the route with no real difficulties but it was possibly the best pitch I have ever led, well up there anyway and arriving on the mid-way ledge I had a huge grin on my face. Having had my fun we then headed across to Wen Zawn where Neil was keen to get on Britomartis and I thought I would shoot some photographs. The route looked awesome from above but turned out to be quite traversey (especially as the tide was too high to do the low level traverse so Neil had to traverse in through Vend-t) so I ended up climbing back up the ab line whilst Sophie seconded. Another amazing day. Gogarth is possibly the best place I have climbed at; no loose rock at all, atmosphere but not atmosfear, long routes...everything you could want!

Feeling somewhat tired on Wednesday I guess we were all slightly glad it was chucking it down when we woke up. We decided to pack up and see what the weather did whilst we went for an xc ride. The weather (and bike trail) ended up getting worse and worse and we were going to head back up north but we decided to risk staying another day in case the weather improved, saying as we were all the way down there anyway.

On Thursday we headed to Tremadog to try and avoid the weather. We managed to squeeze in Mesach before the rain hit and we started to bail homeward bound. After speaking to some of the guys in Betws y Coed we decided to risk a look at the Marin trail for the afternoon and to everyone's surprise it turned out to be incredible! Again we did a truncated loop of the last three descents and they turned out to be mentally fast and generally gnarly. I ended up well and truly on my head in a pretty impressive over the bars maneuver but thankfully avoided all injury! I decided to chill out after that and took some photos of Neil before we squeezed into the car and made the journey back to Edinburgh.

It was an amazing trip and we ticked loads of classic routes and had a blast biking too. I can't wait to get back to Wales later in the season for some more quality routes.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

03/04/11 Rain

Today I headed up towards Glen Clova again but this time to get on some trad. Unfortunately as we geared up at the bottom of Upper Doonie the rain started and didn't have signs of letting up. As a back up plan we headed to Kirrie Hill which turned out to be a great little venue, much better than I was expecting, certainly if you want to climb 6a-6b+. It was great to salvage the day and get some mileage in.