Monday, 17 December 2012

It's all melted

Put your tools away and get back to reading about Scotland. It's all melted with no reports of anything having come into climbable condition. Ah well. It's still early in the season. Fingers crossed for January! 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

NF Pen - y - Fan - unclimable

This just in from Matt Woodfield... 

Went up pen y fan 1st thing this morning for a look at the NE face. 
Dropped down to far right gully, water is flowing under the the ice thats formed. 
There was some frozen turf, but only in patches in the base of the gully. 
The very top 20m had good solid snow, but not the rest of the face. Was a nice day for a walk, but no chance of climbing.

Patience and protection

So, with all the excitement and talk all over the internet at the moment and speculation as to the condition of routes high up in the Beacons, there's been many a mention of people being happy to climb anything and so super keen to get out that they're not too fussed about frozen turf. 

Whilst this is great enthusiasm, I would urge you all to be patient for a number of reasons. It is true that it's been very cold up in the mountains of late: 

But for the icefalls to come into climbable nick they need a good week of sub zero temperatures. Whilst they would be climbable before this, being the most southern winter routes in the UK, they attract a lot of attention. Hoardes of enthusiastic winter warriors kicking their way up partly formed ice falls will at best, delay the forming and spoil the experience for everyone else, and at worst (particularly in areas such as Craig-y-Llyn, one of the first venues to come in) damage and destroy rare plant life and fauna and jeopardize future access.

Similar can be said of the North Face of Pen - Y - Fan. Whilst it's a choss fest no one in their right mind would go near in the summer, it also happens to a natural environment to a lot of varied biology. If it's too cold, consistently, snow won't consolidate and you run the risk of damaging the rock and turf underneath, not to mention your own legs when you inevitably stab your thigh with a crampon when you fall in to your waist. Conversely, too much snow too quickly will mean that the turf isn't frozen and the route and plants that live on it could be damaged irreparably. 

I would therefore urge you all to be patient and protective of our valuable environment and the climbs in it which we are privileged to have access to. If you haven't already, please read this:

Whilst it's specific to North Wales, much of the content is applicable down south too, and any conscientious winter climber should care about what it says. So please, wait it out. Give it chance to form, and don't just grab your axes and wage war on the routes the second they have a speckle of dust on them. 

Those looking for good conditions, you'd be well advised to check it out early Friday morning for your best bet. I'll be going up Thursday night for a recce I think. Most likely venues given current conditions would be RAC Corner, Craig - Y - Llyn and possible Torpantau. There is unlikely to be enough snow to make the North Face routes climable. 

Peace out and please email conditions reports and photos through to ryanatkins09 (at) gmail (dot) com. 


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Conditions update

The following rather unsurprising report in from Colin. It's going to need a good few days and nights of sub zero yet for the ice to form and some daytime thawing for the gullys to be anywhere near consolidated. In happier news, I'm posting this in front of a log fire in North Wales having just climbed torquing shit on clogwyn du:

Inspected NE face of Pen-Y-Fan this morning, traversing in at mid-height into Central Gully (?). Snow conditions reasonable quantity but unconsolidated; turf unfrozen in 99.73% of cases; ice, what there was, not bonding to rock. Diagnosis - needs several more cold nights and day temps not to rise too high. Might be worth a look on Thursday as the advance forecast for the next few days is favorable but go early in the morning to get the best results