Barefoot scrambling in Snowdonia.

Tryfan is my favourite Welsh mountain and a fantastic option for a fast and fun outing before the long drive home to London. I’ve been getting into barefoot walking, running and climbing for a while now and I was curious to see how I would fare on a rocky barefoot scramble. I put my sandals in my pocket in case my feet began to feel sore and off I went.

Clear skies, a good forecast, a big breakfast inside and a sound knowledge of the mountain encouraged me to enjoy myself without a rucksack. I felt light and free on my feet, skipping over the rocks on the approach to Tryfan’s north ridge. By the time I was on the high and rocky half of the ridge, I was well warmed up, moving smoothly and delighting in the feeling of barefoot connection with the rock. The soles of my feet felt great all the way to the top, over Adam and Eve and back down to the A5. Sitting in the car on the way home, they were buzzing with sensation after a two-hour reflexology session with nature.

The east face of Tryfan with the north ridge in profile.

The east face of Tryfan with the north ridge in profile.

Posted: August 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Barefoot, Mountain Walking, North Wales, Scrambling | No Comments »

Multi-pitch climbing course in North Wales.

I joined Robin and Paula for two really enjoyable days of multi-pitch climbing. They have been climbing indoors and leading sport climbs on rock for a year or so. Now they wanted to experience longer routes with traditional gear and I had the pleasure of guiding them.

The weather in the mountains was quite wet on our first day so we drove to the coast and climbed at sunny Tremadog. Our first climb, Gilljo, is surprisngly run-out  for the grade and forces you climb some way above the ground before finding your first worthwhile protection. Both Robin and Paula found this introduction easy and we moved onto Valerie’s Rib – a fun and varied route with 3D corner climbing, an exciting traverse, a long pitch up an exposed rib and a layback finale.

Our second day was reasonably dry so we drove into The Llanberis Pass to climb the memorable Main Wall on Cyrn Las – “One of the most enjoyable expeditions in Snowdonia – a great Welsh classic.” – according to The Climbers Club guidebook. The route was wet in places, making the footholds slippery the handholds slimey and demanding much extra care and attention. Higher up, the rock is exposed to more sunshine and we enjoyed the lofty, exposed positions to the full!

Here’s what Robin and Paula had to say about the course:

“A great introduction to multi-pitch climbing in Wales – professional and fun. Thanks for the experience!”

Paula climbing out of the wet and greasy chimney and onto the traverse of the 2nd pitch.

Paula climbing out of the wet and greasy chimney and onto the traverse of Main Wall's 2nd pitch.

Robin approaching the belay on the third pitch of Main Wall.

Robin approaching the belay on the 3rd pitch of Main Wall.

Paula climbing the 'delightfully exposed' slab and arete on Main Wall's 5th pitch.

Paula climbing the 'delightfully exposed' slab and arete on Main Wall's 5th pitch.

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Multi Pitch Climbing, North Wales, Trad Climbing | No Comments »

Introduction to multi-pitch climbing in North Wales.

Huw and Tom are going from complete beginners to climbing a 550m route on Mount Kenya this summer and I took them to North Wales for their first experience of climbing on rock. On the Saturday we climbed Charity on Idwal Slabs, a great introduction to multi-pitch climbing, followed by Original Route on Holly Tree Wall and Groove Above on Continuation Wall – nearly 700 feet of quality climbing on a fine sunny day. On the Sunday we climbed Two-Pitch Route and the brilliant Marble Slab on Clogwyn Bochlwyd, both in long, sustained and interesting pitches of climbing.
“This has been my best day in a long time!” – Tom after cruising the crux moves on Original Route.
On our way into Cwm Idwal.

On our way into Cwm Idwal.

Huw belaying at the start of Charity.
Huw belaying at the start of Charity.
Cruising up the first pitch of Charity.
Cruising up the first pitch of Charity.
On the first belay ledge of Charity.
On the first belay ledge of Charity.
At the second belay of Charity with Llyn Idwal in the background.
At the second belay of Charity with Llyn Idwal in the background.
Huw climbing the corner on the third pitch of Charity.
Huw climbing the corner on the third pitch of Charity.
Big smiles at the end of a great day.
Big smiles at the end of a great day.
Unknown climber on Clogwyn Bochlwyd.
Unknown climber on Clogwyn Bochlwyd.
Just below the overlap on Marble Slab.
Just below the overlap on Marble Slab.
Huw topping out on Marble Slab.
Huw topping out on Marble Slab.
Posted: May 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Multi Pitch Climbing, North Wales, Trad Climbing | No Comments »
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