Posts tagged Plas Y Brenin
Autumn catch up
It has been a wee while since I have had a sit down to write a wee update, which is great as it has been such an action packed few weeks.  I guess the brilliant weather has helped.  Fortunately I haven't had to travel around too much as the rock has been dry and work has been local.  A couple of visits to Brin Rock and Tunnel Wall helped kick of Sport Climbing season, given that I haven't had a great summer of rock climbing, I felt I was doing ok.  Really enjoyed the routes I tried.  Really pleased to climb Uncertain Emotions in Glencoe after a couple of visits.  I also made the most of some nice days with cragging at Creag Dubh, bouldering at the Skeleton Boulder in Glen Nevis and mountain biking at Wolftrax  before work kicked in.  I have just finished my 3rd week working at the Joint Services Mountain Training Centre in Ballachulish (the military version of Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge).  I have been working on a host of instructor training courses, two weeks of rock climbing instructor training and assessments and a week of Mountain Leader Training.  We visited a whole host of single pitch climbing venues, some with a lengthy drives but worth it for the dry rock and the climbing.  Its been great working Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, feels like a 'real job' with time to spare and weekends to catch up with folk.  With an upcoming trip away sport climbing on the Greek Island of Kalymnos I have been trying hard to build some fitness to get the most of the trip.  So a few trips to Ratho (best indoor wall in Scotland...if not the UK!) and mid week bouldering have been doing the trick.  This week I am working on Mountain Leader Assessment so will be out on the hills for the week which will be great, before flying out at the weekend.   I'm hoping that when I return at the start of December I will be straight into winter climbing so watch this space.
Brin (Zed Buttress) with Mhairi and Murdoch


Good views in Glen Nevis (above Skeleton Boulder)

Creag Dubh...beaut day!

Kingussie Rock training

Group abseil

Setting up climbing at Glen Nevis

Team at Kingussie

Where is the Loch?

Inversion on the Buachaille

Mountain Leader ropework

Walking out of the Buachaille

Good navigation training in Glencoe

Dream team loving learning new skills

Training at Dave Mac's wall
Battle up the Buachaille
Today I was back out the the Cotswold team.  More testing of the Mountain Equipment gear and we tested it well.  We faught strong winds and driving snow.  We avoided Coire an Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mor like the plague and took the ridge to the right.  We made the right choice as the cornice was huge and it was loaded with fresh wind blown snow.  I'll be keeping away form that for a while!
Team on the summit
ML Training
My final week at Plas y Brenin didn't go quite as planned, I was meant to be working on a Private Rock course but unfortunately my clients didn't turn, apparently they were stranded in Australia... Lucky them.  So instead I was moved on to an Mountain Leader Training course.  On Tuesday I took a group out locally from the centre and covered all aspects of using a rope in a emergency situations, looking at how to select suitable anchors, attach to them, safe guard groups as well as looking at confidence roping and all aspects of descending   On the Wednesday and Thursday I took the group on a mini expedition around Snowdon.  We were hit with pretty foul weather throughout, the thunder and lightening storms were very exciting and fortunately didn't strike any of my team down.  The foul weather continued into the night and made our night navigation exercise great fun and very realistic.  With a pretty wet week I only managed to get to the Beacon Climbing Centre for a session and went and climbed Cockblock (E5 6a) with Murdoch on the Tuesday after work.  Tomorrow I'll be heading back up North.
Rock intro week

This week I have been direction a Getting Started rock climbing course for Plas y Brenin. Again we had some mixed weather but managed to avoid overusing the climbing wall. We visited Fach Wen, Rhoscolyn, Tremadog, Clogwyn yr Oen (Moelwyns) and the Slate quarries. It was a great week with a great bunch of people. I was climbing with Jenny and Beeshman who both did put everything they had into the week which meant we got lots of climbing done and had a great laugh. Hopefully see them both again soon! Unfortunately I didn't get any photos with my camera as Beeshman wanted photos on his camera. After work I managed to get out to the Cromlech boulders a couple of times with Kenny and Donald, hit the Slate quarries and climbed Goose Creatures (E3 5c) and then Swan Hunter (E4 6b) and had a training session in the bouldering wall and had an evening in the Pass on SS Special (E2 5c), Brant Direct (HVS 5a) and a top rope on Cockblock (E5 6a). A good week, just could do with a good spell of weather now!
Climb Hard week
Just finished a week with climbers who have been wanting to push their grade as well as their skills set.  We had a fairly mixed week of weather, but managed to make the most of it and cover plenty of skills for the team to go home and practice with.  Due to damp conditions we spent a bit of time at the wall, which allowed us to cover movement techniques, rope work and introduced specific training programmes to the team.  For the last 4 days, we visited Tremadog, Castle Inn quarry and the Beacon.
Climb Harder

Today is the first day of the Climb Harder course I'm directing at Plas Y Brenin and unfortunately it was quite damp.  We managed to get 3 routes in early on in the day and then we headed back to the centre for some coaching in the bouldering wall and on some routes.  After tea and cakes we went out and went over belay construction.  Hope its dryer tomorrow!
Summer Mountain Leader Assesment
Over the last couple of days I have been working in Wales assessing some candidates for the Summer Mountain Leader. An interesting transition from lots of winter climbing to walking around with the sun above us and talking alot about flowers and rocks. We camped out 2 nights around Snowdon, did two sessions of night nav and back down to the cafe for a bacon sandwich. Well done to all the candidates who all passed. It was good to be back in Wales working for Plas Y Brenin but now heading back up to Scotland to have someone assessing me!
Clogwyn y Grochan
Today we had blue skies and chilly winds. We headed up to 'the Grochan' for a little bit of mileage. We started on Brant Direct (HVS 5a), Kaisergebirger Wall (HVS 5a), SS Special (E2 5c), Mural (E4 6a) and did Brant direct again when Dan turned up at the crag. It was very cold today, fortunately none of us were hanging around, quickly up a route then down for the next one. Eventually the wind picked up and we retreated back for warm drinks and toast. After a while we heading back up Llanberis Pass and bouldered for an hour before getting rained/wind'ed/cold'ed off! Great to be back on the rock again. The next 3 days I'm off on a mini-break assessing a Mountain Leader Assessment for Plas Y Brenin.
Big walk
Today Plas Y Brenin were running the Big Acoustic Walk so I took a team up Snowdon. I've not much to say about today other then it was absolutely perfect weather, a cloudless sky, wall to wall sunshine and a nice cool breeze. Obviously being a Saturday we weren't alone on the mountain, it seemed like everyone wanted the view we got. The team made it up and down in a great time which meant time for tea and cake in the cafe before heading back for drinks in the bar and live music. Unfortunately I could join in as I have to drive up to Ambleside.
Mountain Leader Training
This week I was working for 4 days on a Mountain Leader Training. On Monday the group and I spent the day mainly inside covering areas of the syllabus which are covered best in a classroom. In the afternoon after the torrential rain had eased, we went outside and we introduced the group to the rope work which they will need to learn for their assessment. We covered the basics on the grounds of the centre so on Tuesday we were able to get cracking on with putting it into context and practicing lots of skills. On Monday Dave and I took the group river crossing on the upper parts of the Nantygwryd. Tuesday we went out and spent most of the day looking at rope work around the Ricks and Rack and came in to get prepared for expedition. Wednesday and Thursday we walked from Ogwen up and over Creigiau Gleision and camped by Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir and walked back to the centre on the final day. Weather was pretty bad all week but cleared up just as we got back to Plas y Brenin! Good effort to all the team who kept on smiling in the worst weather!