Friday, 26 December 2014

Is Winter going to make it this year?

We're all thinking it. Last year was diabolical. I remember once climbing Torpantau in the middle of November and again at the start of April. Not for a while now. 

But what a great Christmas Present this year, forecast of a heavy dump of snow in South Wales. 

No we all know forecasts are fickle, but looking at the current Met Office forecast which predicts light snow today (boxing day), Heavy Snow tomorrow. A slight thaw for a day and then a return to colder temperatures, I can't help but hope that if the snow is heavy enough then it might just have chance to consolodate a little in the PyF gullies, and maybe - just maybe - be climbable in the middle of next week. 

There's no chance the turf will be frozen, but if enough snow falls... 

Watch this space.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A ski film about climate change. + Snow in the Beacons.

On the warm up to winter I just wanted to share this cool video with you all. 

It's a wicked film, and totally free to watch, about winter sports and climate change. Some inspirational models of how we can all minimise our impact in the mountains and in our lives. 

Now that's out of the way...

YES - there is snow in the Brecon Beacons
NO - There aren't any frozen ice falls, it's not been nearly cold enough for long enough

Quick write up from Pete Spearing here on the conditions underfoot on PyF. 

'Snow had drifted quite deep by this morning and lower down where it was an older fall (Christmas Eve? ) it had even hardened to what is about the closest to neve we get round here though at this height the ground was a long way short of frozen with little more than an icy crust.

Higher up the were patches of slab and the main face and gulleys were well banked out but still with patches of of softer ground beneath though lots better than lower down. If tonight's front passes quick enough before the rain strips everything and we then get a decent dip in temperature it could be looking good. Unfortunately that is two very big ifs.'

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Craig - y - thin

Unfortunately, I'm sat at the base of Douglas Gap at craig y llyn as we speak. The ice has rotted and melted out overnight and is falling down on me as I type. I think this may be the end of South Wales Winter

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Craig Cwm Du

Some brief notes and pics from Mark Gambold who's been up playing on Craig Cwm Du. 

I climbed this morning with Andy Meek at Craig Cwm Du. Had the place to ourselves. Did two amazing routes in excellent condition. First route was the main stream on the far left and was 5 stepped pitches (gr3/4/4/3/3). Second was in middle of crag, a tough 40m single pitch gr4. You will need about 8 ice screws, slings etc but no nuts, warhogs or pitons. Loads of ice routes/features there. Plenty to do. Ice still solid when we left at 2pm and will be in nic tomorrow. Had a fantastic day! The quality of ice for south wales was amazing today! Dont waste tomorrow!!!

Thanks for the update Mark. Keep them coming all! 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Ice in South Wales... A belated April Fool?

Excellent update in from David Linnet. Thanks David! 

I love working for the University of Bristol because they obviously recognize the quality of their employee’s work and sometimes give them an extra Bank Holiday day off or two… ;-) So what to do and where to go? According to the usual climbing forums there were still ice routes formed and being climbed on April 1st in the Brecon Beacons and in the blinkin’ sun! Surely this was an elaborate hoax or a belated April Fool? Well whatever it definitely merited investigation and along with James Pomeroy  and his lovely new Pomobile we ventured over the bridge and found ice! Firstly we climbed a delightful Grade III called “Joe’s Waterfall” with lots of crazynuts ice umbrellas at Fan Hir near Camarthen Fan. Then a quick relocation to Crag y Llyn to have a poke around another Grade III called “The Weeping Wall” was then duly called for. Alas the main section of this fall was not fully formed so after a mutual agreement that discretion is the better part of valour, a quick ab off and a hasty retreat to the fast-food van for cheeseburgers and tea for calorie replenishment was implemented so happy days! :-)

Joes Waterfall

Weeping Wall - Craig y Llyn

Latest Conditions

Latest brief reports of conditions from all over: 

Douglas Gap and Iron Claws in (4/4/13) but thinning. Conditions still pretty baltic.

Virgin Falls
Formed but thin and rotten. Un-climbable (3/4/13)

Not in (3/4/13)

In but melting/softening ice with running water behind central ice and brittle in places (4/4/13)

Joes Fall
In, exact conditions uncertain other than lots of umbrellas (2/3/13)

RAC Corner
In, exact conditions uncertain (3/3/13)

Pen - Y - Fan
Turf frozen. Solid base. Powdery and windblown over the top. Paths very icy (3/3/13)

If anyone has any updates or knows differently please email to ryanatkins09 (at) gmail (dot) com

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Craig - y - Llyn and Cwm Du

These great reports and photos in from Tom Gibbison who's been out at both Craig Y Llyn and Cwm Du over the bank holiday weekend. Photos are copyright Peter Derrett

Good Friday:  I’d heard of an icefall over in Cwm Du (over the hill from Craig Cerrig Gleisiad) a few years ago.  With a long weekend pending and Torpantau looking like it was going to have queues to rival a Cypriot cashpoint I persuaded my brother Ben and his mate Pete to come and check it out.  The fall was in great nick and gave us two long and three short pitches of grade 3.  At one point Ben commented that “This is better ice then the Ice Factor” and I couldn’t disagree, first time placements were the order of the day.  It’s a lovely valley and we didn’t see a single person until the walk out.  A cracking route – better and longer then Torpantau in my (entirely subjective) book.

Easter Monday: Craig y Llyn:  On Monday we decided to check out Craig y Llyn.  My Bro was working nights, so we enlisted a replacement in the small but perfectly formed shape of Jimbo, who seemed determined to kill himself by using a rather Heath-Robinson looking pair of home made axes.  Leaving Bristol we were concerned that it was a bit warm as it hadn’t frozen overnight.  Pulling up in the layby at the crag our concerns proved to be entirely unfounded, the earth was rock hard and the wind was bitter.  There were only really two lines formed up, Douglas Gap and Iron Claws.  We didn’t have a guide, so went straight for the tallest fall (turned out to be Iron Claws), it was stood at the bottom of this we noticed the big ice umbrellas on the top pitch.  Jimbo had the scent of gnarl in his nostrils, and it took me some time to persuade him that we should warm up on Douglas Gap first.  Some warm up!  The first pitch was steep and very brittle, quite a surprise after the lovely plastic ice on Friday, all the more surprising was the fact that Jimbo’s home made axes seemed to work quite well.  The rest of the route was easier, so we finished it quickly, abbed down the mankiest piece of cliff I’ve ever seen and went over to Iron Claws.  Up close the ice umbrellas were even more crazy than they looked from the bottom.  By the time I’d arrived at the stance at the bottom Pete and Jimbo had spotted a runnel leading right up under the biggest umbrella, where a neat sidestep under a rock overhang would take us round the side.  This strategy was pretty successful with good ice and bomber turf just where you needed them most.  We had to dodge the top 10 feet of the fall but there’s no way we were touching those umbrellas. Another quality pitch.  Past about 2pm it was absolutely baltic, the easterly was howling up the gully and we were wearing our belay jackets to climb in.  A cup of tea from the snack van at the top sorted us all out for the drive home.  Happy days.