Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Langdale Boulders

Hitting the sloper on Problem 16 (V2 6a)

In an effort to regain some finger strength after a winter pulling on tools I escaped the paperwork for a couple of hours on the Langdale Boulders. The smears were a little green under the trees but the majority of the problems were well chalked and had obviously seen some traffic.

Pulling into the groove on Problem 15 (V0 5a)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Castle Rock of Triermain

The initial moves on Failed Romantic E1 5b

After an amazing winter today was my first foray back onto dry rock. John and I headed up to Castle Rock to get some mileage under our belts. Over a couple of hours we ticked Gazebo HVS 5a, Kleine Rinne VS 4b, Failed Romantic E1 5b and the classic (but dirty) Overhanging Bastion VS 5a. Some care is needed as there are a number of new loose blocks and holds caused by the freeze thaw action of last winter.

Topping out on the gangway of Overhanging Bastion VS 5a

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Bamford Edge

Topping out on the classic Gunpowder Crack VS 5b

For the final day of their rock climbing practical the University of Cumbria outdoor students decided to head up to the secluded Bamford Edge, a sensible decision on a hot and sunny weekend. The day continued in the same vein as the previous two with some outstanding leads showing a huge progression from Thursday. There were ascents of Neb Buttress (HVS, 5a), Gunpowder Crack (VS, 5b), Green Parrot (VS, 5b) and Slopy Side (HVS, 5b) amongst others.

Another view of Gunpowder Crack VS 5b

Friday, 23 April 2010

Burbage North

Today saw us at Burbage North aiming to develop the students leading and rigging skills. A large variety of routes were climbed from technical slabs to classic cracks ranging from V Diff to E1 with the majority of the group pushing their grade. There was some cloud around but conditions were still pretty much perfect and with motivation levels high we climbed solidly from 9am - 6pm. Today I was working with the University of Cumbria.

Mark on the perfect jams of Still Orange S 4a

Abi running it out on Black Slab VS 4b

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Stanage Edge

For the next few days I'm working with outdoor students from the University of Cumbria on their rock climbing practicals. We headed south to a sunny peak district to introduce them to the delights of gritstone. Conditions were ideal and the students got plenty of mileage on the rock. A significant number had never led before but were soon on the sharp end and progressing quickly. Today was spent at the Popular End of Stanage.

Mark on the classic Flying Buttress HVD 4a

Rob putting the effort in on Eliminator HVS 5b

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Breithorn Ski Ascent

Picnic on the Breithorn

As a fitting finale to the Haute Route we made a ski ascent of the 4000m Breithorn which sits above the end of the Zermatt valley. The extensive ski lifts get you to within 300m of the summit leaving an easy couple of hours of skinning. It was a very cold and windy start and the visibility kept coming and going. We were able to ski directly on to the summit before locking our heels down and beginning the 2500m descent. The wind had died away but the cloud had also dropped giving white out conditions at times.

We opted for the technical glacier descent. With minimal tracks to follow we navigated to the col and down through a maze of crevasses and seracs. The whole valley funnels into a narrow gorge with some stunning ice formations but also an active river underneath the snow pack. With several gaping holes we opted to walk this part of the descent before joining the piste for the final descent to Zermatt.

Summit of the Breithorn readying ourselves for a 2500m descent in a white out!

Tiptoeing through a maze of crevasses and seracs

Final few turns below the seracs

Ice cave at the snout of the glacier

Ice cave at the snout of the glacier

Walkways & fixed lines above the river in the final gorge.

The Matterhorn dominating the view from Zermatt

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Final Descent to Zermatt

DIY ski poles after a big stack!
The iconic Matterhorn above the journeys end

Monday, 12 April 2010