Understanding mountain weather As regular, or even occasional, hill-walkers and mountaineers, it’s vital that we have an understanding of mountain weather. Therefore a number of my previous tips have been…
It's been interesting (and very encouraging) post-lockdown to see how many people are interested in getting into climbing outdoors (from indoors), or want to open up more climbing options for themselves.
Even better, is that many people want to learn these skills properly to give themselves the best possible safe start rather than taking chances. This has created a spate of bookings for indoor-outdoor climbing transition; learning to lead courses; and learning to rig top-ropes.
Today I was at Almscliff working with Piers who wanted a brief 'health' check' of his rigging work so that he can confidently take his daughters climbing. He also took away a simple method of doing this safely and efficiently. Happy client!
With a day off work, and a fine forecast, my friend Iain and I set off to get a somewhat obscure Classic Rock tick - Red Pencil Direct on Pen y Ghent.
After reaching the summit of Pen y Ghent, we headed off away from the Y3P crowds to find the descent down perched blocks sitting on scree sitting on mud that form the upper slopes above the crags. Things immediately felt far more serious than the picnicking Y3P walkers could ever have imagined Pen y Ghent might be.
Having survived the descent (as described in the YMC Yorkshire Gritstone book), we reached the buttress. The route looked nice enough superficially. But a huge recent rockfall which has obliterated the routes to the right indicates just how unstable this crag is. It looks as if there is a LOT more ready to come down in that area. This made us question everything we touched as we climbed the tottering pile of shattered blocks and pillars which make up the buttress.
In the end, it was nice climbing on rough, unpolished gritstone with some very fine situations bridging the lower and upper groove. If it had been at Stanage on sound rock it would be a winner, but there is plenty of suspect stuff on the route.
Having topped out, we had to descend the gravel slope of death once again to reach our kit at the foot of the route. But we reascended to the plateau via a wide amphitheatre/gully which was far, far better than the indicated descent. If you want to find it from the top, it's about 20 metres further on (south) than the three little ponds/swamps that the YMC guidebook says mark the descent.
Was it a good day out? Definitely. Will I climb there again? Nope. Would I recommend it to someone? Hmmmm, let me think about that. ... See MoreSee Less
Two day's of chilled sports climbing on Yorkshire Limestone, and two very contrasting venues. First, Robin Proctor's Scar, with its exposed position and sweeping views. Then, today, Troller's Gill, a sheltered more 'intimate' venue, set in a beautiful dry limestone valley. The climbing on both crags is excellent too 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
In amongst all the other 'kick start the economy' schemes, how about another government-funded voucher scheme for inexperienced folks to spend a day learning essential hill skills, including navigation. They get to learn how to use the national parks responsibly (win); they get some exercise and become equipped for taking future exercise to reduce obesity (win) and save the NHS money in the long term (win); they don't get to put themselves in danger and thereby reduce strain on Mountain Rescue and NHS in the short term (win + win); and I get to earn a humble crust (small win).
At the moment there are so many people out mountain walking and rock climbing who are super keen but (bless them) really don't have much idea. Needless accidents are going to happen. ... See MoreSee Less
This article explains why learning map-reading and navigation skills are not only vital for mountaineering and walking, even in the GPS age, but also why they are very likely to be of long-term benefit to your mental health.
There are lots of tips for everyday actions that you can take that will directly benefit your navigation skills. Anyone can try these, even total beginners and children.