Posts tagged Ogwen
A week in Wales
After wrapping up in the Alps for the summer I decided to head straight to North Wales for an annual 'working holiday' there.  I had a few reasons to go.  See important people, do some work, climb some routes and hopefully climb a particular line I have been hoping to do for a long time.  The way it worked out, I did about 80% of that...the particular line will have to wait!

Crags don't get much better than this

After arriving back I teamed up with my regular client Sean.  We have had a trip to Wales in the past and managed to escape the weather but this time luck wasn't on our side.  A forecast nobody really wanted to be out in, so as we had the option we chose to go to the Beacon Climbing wall which served its purpose.

Thumbs up for greasy, tech big boot climbing!
Sean happy to be high
 Our second day wasnt much better.  Anyway, we got stuck in.  On a previous trip we climbed Original Route on Idwal Slabs but this time we opted for the harder Hope.  I had only done this in dry conditions so it was great to seek it out while it was soaking.  It went fine, our big boots did the job, however I do remember having to do quite a few strenuous moves to advance up.  A strong effort by Sean to dispatch this.

Katya, an IML, gets stuck into rock climbing
Rope shortened, Katya leads to the rain
After this followed a spot of personal climbing, surfing and catching up with friends.  Before I knew it, I was back out working with Katya and Aide.  We have done heaps in the past, mostly in winter so this time they were keen to advance their skills rock climbing.  So day one they swung leads on Original Route on the slabs (in the rain) in their big boots, put alpine skills into practice to scramble off which was packed with some good laughs and piss taking as we always do...and obviously some technical input! ;)
First time on the sea cliffs...Check out the power pants!

Aid negotiating the crux of Lighthouse Arete
Day two they were sold on some sea cliff climbing.  So an early start saw us abseiling into Castle Helen before anyone else had turned up.  I led them up Light House Arete, Rap and Pel before we shifted over to Holyhead Mountain so they could do some more leading before we called it a day.  As this seemed like the last day of nice weather, my mate John drove out at warp speed to meet me after work so we could stretch the arms and do a couple of pitches in the fading light.  A mint day.
Hanging out at the seaside
A rare shot of Aid smiling and not swearing.  A classic Aid quote 'Put my foot up there?? Im not a f#@king gymnast!'

My last day, I was climbing on the Orme with the Evans.  It was a multi activity day.  Sport climbing, Trad climbing, bouldering, falling off and good craic.  I do quite like Wales...I always feel like moving there when I'm on my working holidays there.  Maybe one day.  Anyway...back to Scotland...hopefully in time for an Indian Summer!
Summer in Wales and BMG Summer Test
It has been a great summer for me and all the hard work has paid off.  I spent the 4 weeks after India, in the mountains of Snowdonia.  I was climbing, mountaineering and getting to know the place as best I could.  My final week there I was assessed as part of the IFMGA Guide Scheme and happy to report that I passed this first step.  A massive thanks goes out to my clients I had this season, all the other candidates on the scheme and all my climbing partners and those willing to come out on the wettest of days.  Couldn't have done it without you!  Now I can look forward to the winter aspect of the British Guides Scheme, another training course followed by a 6 day assessment!  Is it winter yet?

Great weather in Ogwen

Dave on Gambit Climb

Dave on Tryfan

Dave doing his thing

Client Sean scrambling in Ogwen

Evening cragging on the Slate quarries

Evening cragging on the Great Orme

More routes at Gogarth

Essential post climbing analysis

BMG assessor Graham Ettle at Gogarth

Sunshine and sea at Gogarth

Jack leading on the Guides assesment

Evening cragging

My teaching day on my guides test (Photo credit:Steve Long)

ML refresher Day 2
Today I took the Group into Ogwen and the aim of the day was to refresh the rope work side of things.  We started off with anchor selection and then introduced the rope and how to attach it to the anchors and create a safe system for ascending or descending walkers.  We looked at confidence roping as well as moving a group over steep ground looking at spotting and group management.  We covered descents with and with out the rope and chatted about river crossings, their hazards and effective ways of approaching them.  Unfortunately it rained on Murdoch and I as we were gearing up at the bottom of SS Special so we bailed and I went for a little explore around the slate quarries.
ML Refresher and sending

Today was my first day back at Plas Y Brenin and I was working on a Mountain Leader Refresher course.  With my group of 4 we walked out from the centre and over the tops into Ogwen covering many aspects of navigation that the group need to be able to navigate well in varying conditions.  We looked at micro and macro navigation, use of different scales of maps, relocation and basic leadership skills.  It was a nice dry day with a nice breeze.  After work I went up to Dinas Cromlech with Keith and Murdoch as Keith wanted to climb Right Wall (E5 6a).  I didn't want to second it as I want to lead it soon so I climbed Left Wall (E2 5c) and Cemetry Gates (E1 5b).  Thanks for letting me on your ropes random climbers!  I was able to get some great shots of Keith!
Alpine day in Ogwen

Today I took Ben back to Ogwen as it gave us an opportunity to cover lots of technical terrain and link up lots of scrambles.  In fact we hardly did any uphill walking, only scrambling and climbing!  Ben was keen to look at moving efficiently over technical terrain and learn about the transition between rock climbing and scrambling and how to use the rope appropriately.  We started off on North-West Face Route (Grade 2 *) and then moved onto the continuation wall on Idwal Staircase (Grade 2 **).  To move over this terrain we were mainly moving together, sometime pitching short tricky moves but reached Seniors Ridge quite quickly.  From here we moved over to Cneifion Arête (Grade 3 ***) where I led two pitches to start and then we moved together to the top with Ben leading all the way.  Still with plenty of time left we picked up the False Gribin ridge (Grade 1 *) and then dropped of the side to pick up the bottom of Dolmain Ridge (Grade 3 ***).  I led the whole of the route taking Ben through some interesting terrain and looking at different ways of protecting ourselves whilst keeping movement efficient.  We topped out in good time so we finished off by soloing down Bristly Ridge (Grade 1 ***).  A great day with lots of mileage.  Finished off the day with 3 routes in the slate quarries with Dave Evans before running away from the midges.
Back in Wales

Today I was back in Snowdonia and out with Ben who was keen for some mileage.  The aim of our two days out was to do plenty of multi pitch climbing and scrambling and looking at the transition between the two, useful for Ben's future alpine trip.  We headed on to Idwal Slabs and started off on Ordinary Route (D) where I started off leading then Ben taking over for a bit, looking at belays, rope management and ways of using systems more efficiently.  We then carried on up onto Lazarus (S) and then onto Continuation Crack (HVS 5a) which was brilliant little route.  After all of this we headed back down to the base, climbed up two pitches and looked at multi-pitch abseil descents, how it can be done safely and efficiently.  Finally to finish I guided Ben up Hope (VD) and we decended off the left via the scrambling decent and back to the car for 5.  This evening I met up with John, Caff and Calum for a wee boulder at the Gravestones then onto the Cromlech boulders.