Winter Mountaineering Course - Scotland


ROCK CLIMBING - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 to 4 days),
SNOWDONIA (3 to 5 days)

NAVIGATION Courses - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 or 2 days)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Prayer Flags; Hot Chocolate; but a Sad Day

We met at Esquires Coffee shop (opens at 8.00 so a great meeting place) before heading into the Langdale valleys.
Richard and Pav didn't want to do anything too hard so it was OK to bring Pip, hill & home companion since 2001 in Colorado, for a the walk.

Pip - a companion from Colorado 2001
 We headed up Stickle Ghyl and on the way climbed a few short waterfalls - beware, they're greener and slippyer than I've ever seen them. And carried on up the stream bed, rock hopping like the children we are inside.

We stopped for lunch on top of Pavey Ark before heading over to Pike O Stickle where to our surprise there are some Prayer Flags.
It's nice having this splash of colour on a Lakeland summit but I hope it's temporary and not the start of a trend. I hope whoever put them up has taken them down to save them for another time in the future.

And so back down for some brief "retail therapy" before returning to the start at Esquires.

A very sad end to the day. Later in the evening whilst I was sitting at the computer with Pip sleeping nearby, this friend, companion and confidant awoke suddenly and died. I think of a heart atttack.
I miss her.
Pip - 2001 to 17.10.10 - Rip

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Scrambling in Wales

OK - I admit to being "computer challenged" and that I'd rather be outside than working on a keyboard or website. But Dan found me via my website and got a group of friends together for a fun 2-days scrambling in Wales.

We met Friday night at the Bryn Tyrch - fantastic food, so good that I think there are now 6 blokes from London way who recon there's nowhere else worth eating in Snowdonia.
I'll have to get them to Petes Eats another time

Although Dan had only booked me they sounded an adventurous bunch and would benefit from a ratio of 3:1, so Andy T joined me.
On Tryfan's Adam (or is it Eve?)
Day 1 - Tryfan East Face. We navigated up Heather Terrace before selecting a route from the scrambles guide book. After practicing with ropes we headed up the scramble to join Tryfan's North Ridge near the summit. The teams learned fast and were soon ascending steep ground, in some cases up to Grade 3 / Diff. Then we headed over the top, past Adam & Eve, before heading down, and another meal at the Bryn Tyrch!

Day 2 - after a long discussion the night before in the Bryn Tyrch we headed off to Idwal Slabs and Ordinary Route (Diff). The teams led themselves, with Andy and I soloing alongside placing protection and building the belays.  
Tiny yellow & orange dots are my team taking the steep route
A gread "lads weekend" and an extreemly impressive result from 6 novice scrambler/climbers.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Cotswold Outdoors - Staff activities

In my "other life" I'm a gear person, previously for Petzl's UK company, and now for Lowe Alpine.
Imagine having a job where you can indulge your gear-freak tendancies and learn the intimate ins and outs of a product? And even sometimes test to destruction (yup, a hammer is often involved). Yipee.
This week I've been in Snowdonia scrambling, breaking kit, tugging ropes, demonstrating the use of technical climbing kit, and informing a load of shop staff on the intricasies of Lowe Alpine backpacks.
The retail shop Cotswold have been expanding across the UK and now have 50+ stores. This week they brought together a person from almost every store to do some on-the-hill activities, as well as indoors close and detailed training.
Katie & Roger on The Cannon

Scrambling on Tryfan North ridge
We were asked, for the second year, to do special backpack training and also provide a day of scrambling. To get the groups to a more manageable size there were 3 of us; Andy Cave; Andy Turner; and me.
Roger - stepping across Adam & Eve - mega drop!
Fantastic days, great people, and well done Cotswold for their staff training.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

First Aid course

Damp weather in Wales for a REC Mountain First Aid course which included;
  • tying a casualties boots together before asking him to hop off the mountain
  • Wrapping a casualty in baco foil before considering whether gas mark 5 is the same as 190 degrees in a fan oven.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

4x4 Off Road in the National Parks

OFF-road enthusiasts claim they are being persecuted and forced off the hills after a landmark High Court ruling. An appeal in London has decreed that 4x4s should be banned from an iconic Lakeland route after a legal battle which has rumbled on for five years.

There's a survey being done on the access for 4x4 off-road vehicles in the Lakes District, and currently 79% of people say off-road vehicles should be allowed on green lanes in national parks.

I'm in favour of everyone enjoying their activities in a responsible way, but if the 4x4 lobby appear to have overwhelming (eg 79%) approval for this type of access then there is potential for this to be used as a stick by irresponsible users claiming they have general acceptance of this type of use.

Organized activities and responsible use is good, but indescriminate careless abuse is not. Please get voting.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Trowbarrow - Learning to Lead

Laura wanted to lead something a bit harder today so she rigged up a 3-point abseil with a retrievable rope and we placed nuts and cams on abseil.

She then led Coral Sea - VS 4c. A rather polished mid-grade limestone route in the wonderful sun-catching Trowbarrow quarry.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Scrambling with Berghaus staff

The gear company Berghaus give their staff a chance to regularly get out on outdoor activities.

Today Richard I were working for John White and took 7 Berghaus staff scrambling.

Across on Helvellyn another (sizable) group went up Striding Edge and down Swirral Edge.

The Berghaus staff came from everywhere; including head office, Customer Services, marketing, and  from the London shop where 2 of them work in the Covent Garden store.

 They were very competent and quick

Monday, 16 August 2010

Lead Climbing on Mountain Routes

Richard is back for his 4th summer in the Lakes with his family. Whilst here he takes the opportunity,  after a week, to have some "personal time" to climb with me. We've climbed for a total of 5~6 weekends and explored a lot of different places.
This weekend we visited 5 crags, climbed 22-pitches on routes from Diff to Hard Severe; gathered 17 'quality stars'; did 2 abseils; 'ticked' Classic Rock; had some very nice walking; and it was sunny!
Crossing Ash Tree Ledge
Saturday 14th - we climbed Middlefell Buttress Diff  75m 3-stars on Raven Crag. This route makes a very pleasant warm up ascent towards Gimmer Crag. Whilst it might not be as fast as the plod up the paths it is much more fun.
Richard and Steve Stoat at the bottom of A,B,E etc routes
At Gimmer we climbed Ash Tree Slabs VD+ 48m 3-stars, a lovely route that's in "Classic Rock". Next we headed over to "A" Route HS 75m 3-stars, a climb which finished by the block and chain at the top. A long abseil took us withing inches of Richard's pack on Ash Tree Ledge. We kept out harnesses on for the next short abseil down to the South East face of Gimmer to continue across to the walking path and on down to the car at Old Dungeon Ghyl pub.
Total for the day; 11-pitches of climbing, 9-stars, and 2 abseils

Sunday 15th - after a lot of thought we settled on a mountain day with the minimum of driving/walking time before starting climbing. Our first crag was Upper Scout - Route 1 VD+ 50m 3-stars.

Upper Scout - Richard & lady from Leeds Alpine Club,
Next we headed uphill and across into White Ghyll and The Slabs Route 1 Sev 69m 3-stars. It was so sunny and warm we were glad the route was still in the shade, but we topped out to strong sunlight and a storm of flying ants so thick we soon had them all over us (note to self - shorts aren't great when the insects are flying).
Richard leading on White Ghyll
A dash from the top of White Ghyll and a nice walk took us over to Pavey Ark aiming for Crescent Slabs but we decided the dripping dampness and grass wasn't as appealing as Stoat's Crack HS 112m 2-stars. I climbed SC a few weeks ago and it was wonderfully clean and pleasant, but in the meantime we've had a lot of rain; it was still damp and the soil and vegitation has increased, and to add to that a swarm of midges came out (note about shorts again!). Wildlife should be supported, but I'd prefer they didn't feed off my blood! We dashed for the top where a breeze got rid of the midges and had a very pleasant walk back down to the New Dungeon Ghyll pub.
Total for the day; 11-pitches of climbing, 8-stars, and a nice walk.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Family Mountain Days

Sue is back for the 3rd adventure.... first it was "Scotland in Winter" with her husband & friends who have been clients for many years; then a "Girls fun day" this spring; and now a 2 day "family fun" trip with Ian and their 17 and 20 year old sons.
Ian & Sue climbing at Kendal Wall
We started the night before at Kendal Climbing wall so Sue's son Andrew could chat with my daughter (who's at Welbeck DSFC) about similar career ideas they have.

Thursday 12th - The forecast for Thursday wasn't great but we made a dash for Pinnacle Ridge with Andrew practicing his map reading, leading us up Grisedale and navigating us to St Sunday Crag. We scrambled in waterproofs, ready for rain, but it held off until we summitted on The Cape (841). When we took our waterproofs off it seemed to be a signal for a very heavy downpor that made us scramble for jackets - a great fashion collection with Event; TriplePoint; GoreTex and Paramo jackets.
Matt and Andrew on the pinnacles
Sue, above the steep bit

Friday 13th - we drove round to Borrowdale and walked up the beautiful valley of Langstrath to scramble up Cam Crag Ridge and cross the ridge up to Glaramara to drop down into Combe Gill.

Before hitting the valley bottom we visited Dovenest Crag, where we did a wonderfully adventurous scramble through one of the large cracks. Reading the guidebook afterwards I was surprised to see it's a Grade 2 Scramble - I felt it warranted a "3" along with a seriousness warning - a mistake on the top part could have serious consequences.

Ummm not sure what Matt's doing, is it a student thing?
We then walked down the valley, passing Glaciated Slabs (with a Grade 2 Scramble and some easy climbs I've not visited yet) on a nice gentle path to finish back at the cars. A great day out with an adventurous family, with a couple of scrambles and a walk taking in 2 valleys.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Family Scrambling - Lakes

Great day scrambling with Steve, Jacqueline and their 2 children.

squeezing throught the dog-flap!
It's been raining recently so the ghylls are fuller than normal at this time of year, even if the reservoirs aren't full enough to lift the hozepipe ban in Cumbria. We scrambled up a Ghyll with some (roped) climbs up waterfalls, which felt like a rainy day.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Video - How a karabina is made

Have a look at how DMM makes Karabinas and you’ll be amazed they’re so cheap in the shops! from Dave Gill on Vimeo.
Krabs Carabinas Inspecting climbing equipment; making carabinas, scramble alloys,

Catching up with myself!

Time has flewn past, even with the intermittently wet weather we've still had loads of great days out.

Kransic Crack, VS 4c
Laura's been developing her lead climbing at Shepherd's Crag - Fisher's Folly and Kransic Krack (Borrowdale rock); at Trowbarrow - Jean Jeanie and Coral Sea (Limestone); I should mention that whilst JJ is a fantastic classic it will fall down one day, just make sure you're not there when it does!; and at Castle Rock.
Trowbarrow - Coral Sea
Shepherds Crag - Fisher's Folly VS 4c, 4c
She's learning fast and, additional to the above, we've climbed together in Langdale and on Idwal Slabs in Snowdonia.

And I've managed to get out and climb more classic routes in between everything.

Castle Rock - North Crag Eliminate E1 4b,5a,5b
........stand on the tip of the tree, don't imagine how you'd be impaled if you slipped whilst you stretch above the overhang, 40 metres above the ground, then swing rightwards in space before moving up

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Inspecting Climbing Gear

Want to check your climbing kit - see videos from petzl:

It includes video about Inspecting Ropes, Helmets etc etc. haven't managed to look at it myself yet because of slow internet access here at a stiflingly hot German OutDoor trade show.
I'm at a trade show, not open to the public, where everything Outdoor (Bikes to Bogey Boards; Bicycles to Bivy Bags; Fleece jackets to Family tents) is presented to European retailers and promote their products for 2011.
When I get a quiet moment I'll be heading around this massive show to see what new wonderful climbing / scrambling / mountain gear might be coming out next year.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Mountain Day - Wet but Fun

Today I took a group of 10 "executives" on a long mountain day walking over Lingmoor, through the "squeeze" on Side Pike, and to the top of Pike of Blisco before returning to the valley. We were in dense clouds on the final summit which necessitated compass bearing and altitute work to ensure we stood on the correct top (many people stand on a subsidiary thinking it's the summit)
A great group, it rained all day but nothing dampened their enthusiasm.

Pike of Blisco
Lingmoor Fell
Decending Pike of Blisco             The "squeeze" on Side Pike