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I am a Primary School teacher just about to move to the Bristol area and after two years of posting very little I am going to make an effort to post a little more often.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Snow in november, winter climbing already, How long will it last?

Another long week at school and kelly going to see some friends in Yorkshire for a few days meant a lie in was in order followed by a leisurely breakfast on poached eggs on toast. Amazing. Realising Kelly was leaving fairly early I decided to have a day on the hills. It was 10.45 by now and the sun is setting by 4.30 so I didn't have long. I thought of going to Cwm Cneifion (Nameless Cwm) but I have bad memories of being marched up there last year so opted for Cwm Fynnon Lloer. Visit here for more info but the topo in Welsh Winter Climbs is better.

 I got the layby by 11.30, set of by 11.35 and seemed to have much smaller bags than everyone else (<10 people) on the 'slog' up. The ascent into the cwm went well, I had a chat with a few of the people as I passed but didn't want to waste time as I knew I didn't have much of it. I was thinking that some of their ideas were ambitious, especially at the pace they were walking. As I was heading to the base of the gully I passed a route I had done last year, Broad Gully, which was no where near in condition, not looking good for my route either.

Cwm Ffynnon Lloer - Broad Gully

 From a little feature I could see a red jacket on the summit of North Arete, I hadn't realised this was a route until today as I had only looked at the Welsh Winter Climbs guide for this area.
View into Cwm Ffynnon Lloer from a
smal rise just inside the cwm

I was hoping to do Right Hand Y-Gully and then if Left Hand Y-Gully was looking good and time permitting. When I got to the base the red jacket climber appeared with the news I kind of already knew. Right hand was 'snow on ledges with on interesting step' and left hand was obviously too bare. Moongroves, was also bare.

Right Hand Y Gully, Left Hand Y Gulley -
Looking up, left hand looking empty,
 right hand looking poor.

Right Hand Y Gulley - Looking back down  

Looking up towards Eastern Buttress,
 Y Gullys and North Arete. Looking bare.

Me at the top of Right Hand Y Gully

As I decided to head up Right Hand and then come back down via Pen Yr Ole Wen.

Tryfan from Pen Yr Ole Wen

Here is a picture for my Grandparents, Thank you.

DMM Rebel Ice Axes - Xmas Present 2009

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Welsh Winter Potential

There is a definite buzz at the moment; there is an excitement which only means one thing. WINTER!!! The forecasts are suggesting that it could be an interesting few days to come. When I left for school this morning there was snow in the garden and on the car. As it got lighter the mountains have shown that they have more than a dusting down to maybe 500m.
Metcheck was suggesting tempretures on Friday night of -10c and described blizzard conditions. Met office were not predicting it to be quite as cold but still -5c isn't bad for November. The signs are starting to suggest we are in for a good winter.

There are loads of great sources of information out on the World Wide Web but I have found:
Baggy Richards Blog – great for route reports conditions of areas in northern Snowdonia.
Huw's Gilberts Blog – Great for route reports and conditions generally from southern Snowdonia.
Welsh winter wiki – Route descriptions and topos, to be very useful.
(If you have any other good sources let me know and I will add them)

Here is to a good winters season of excitement.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

MTB - Mountain Biking at Penmachno

After a seemingly long week I needed to have a good break. Last night Rachel suggested mountain biking and Penmachno, I still haven't done loop 2 so thought I could get that done. Being Hollys' Birthday last night Rachel was a little hungover, I had been designated driver so was feeling good. Today was the first day for me in SPDs and as soon as I got on to the first bit of singletrack the back wheel skidded on a nice greasy slab, I stopped and in slow motion toppled over...Lesson 1, you cant just put your foot down.
Maps - Loop 1  Loop 2   (right click, save as. PDF Files)
PENMACHNO: Rachel at the end of the 4th section of ST

PENMACHNO: Rachel with 'concentration' face on.

PENMACHNO: Rachel and her newly built stead with brakes and suspension.

PENMACHNO: Rachel smiling even though she now has cold,
wet feet after a typical path/stream section.

The camera stayed in the bag for the rest of the ride as on the next section, a long greasy boardwalk (no Chicken wire) decided to spit my front wheel off one side sending me down the other which then meant my still slipped in bike came back over the boardwalk and joined me on the floor. Lesson 2: Don't ride greasy boardwalk sections. Lesson 3 was sure to follow and it wasn't long before my rear mech spat itself in to my wheel. BRILLIANT, get a new bike. A successful trailside repair, a deflated Rachel and Dave decided that was enough, followed the trail on the last ST section to the road up and over (Rachel avoiding the oncoming car) down to Penmachno and back to the car.

Overall a cracking day out, big thanks to Rachel.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aber Falls – Drum – Garnedd Uchaf Loop

The proposed route:
Mermory-Map File (.MMO)


After looking at the forecast I decided it would probably be best to do work in the morning and then ride in the afternoon. It wasn’t a hard decision, thunderstorms and gale force winds in the morning, easing to a calm day in the afternoon. During the night there was a fairy big storm, hail and all, in the morning, the sun was out towards the coast and Aber so, I decided that I would go in the morning.

I parked at the by the bridge just before the Aber Falls CP (a new Pay and display machine was there, I don’t know how much it costs). Got the bike out and set off up the hill, you will see it. After about 3/4mins I was in 1,1 and my new chain on my old set up was playing havoc. It was ok in 2,1 so that was that, this hill seems to be longer than before, if you meet a vehicle you will have to stop and getting started again isn’t the easiest. I got to the car park at the top (no charge), and the windproof was off, sweat running down my face…its been a long time since I have done much exercise. The road turns to a stone double track (Roman Road over to Rowen) this is mostly steady going and I have done it twice before so new what was coming, a couple of steep loose sections. I still haven’t made it up them both, I made it up neither today and a lot easier stuff, as soon as any kind of uneven pressure on the pedal was needed my chain skipped and I was walking. It is a nice steady uphill section on a good day.
Crossroads on the Roman Road from Rowan to Aber Falls

At the crossroads take aright towards Drum, uphill again. Left takes you steeply down to Llanfairfechan and straight on heads on to Rowen in the Conwy Valley. Stick on this double track all the way…that was the plan. However, the wind had picked up and I was hidden from the sun, windproof on, the bike still playing up and I was getting frustrated calling it all kinds of names which I’m sure the neighbouring sheep will not have heard before. There were a couple of sections which were loose and for me unrideable.
Just Keep Going

A bit further

Rainbow following a sort sharp shower

I pushed and rode for a bit took a few photos thinking that the loose bouldery sections would be quite good if I was going the other way.
Awkward on the way up but good on the way down

I got round the corner and reach a col where I could look across to the second have of my route…SNOW.
The moment I contemplated turning around
Definitely turning around

From my house I can see the other side of those mountains and there is no snow on them… my route was to traverse across them. It started raining…Decision made…waterproof on turn the bike around and fly back to the car. If it wasn’t for the wind on the flat sections I wouldn’t have had to pedal at all. I was right about the loose bouldery sections, they were very good.

I was gutted to not have done what I wanted but the 8minutes of downhill meant I was buzzing. I headed back towards home, wet and muddy, and wet and had a quick play near Moel Y Ci and the Mynydd Downhill track. I should have stuck with my plan of riding in the afternoon because the sun is out, no low clouds and a light wind. Oh well, I think it would be best to do the route on a fine day and not after a heavy rain. 

Monday, 1 November 2010

Amazing News - Jbel Toubkal in Winter

Mt/Jbel Toubkal
I’m off to Morocco, flights are booked and I just can’t wait. The main reason for the trip is to summit Mt Toubkal (4167m) in winter and I will be going out with Kelly, her Mum, a friend Holly and her Dad.
Selected routes on Jbel Toubkal

We are going to be in country for 12 days which will include day in Marrakesh and 2 days of getting to and from the mountain hut. With potentially 9 days at the hut we are hoping to get more than just Jbel Toubkal done, there are a couple of neighbouring peaks and a couple of gullies I have my eye on.

More to come I am sure!!!

UKClimbing.com News