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Previous years photos

Only a handful of people at Marsden on a drizzly grey morning and most of them new faces to this event which was great. No snow on the roads this year saw an easy journey, stopping at the usual spot on the A55 for breakfast where we also met Hawksey. I was pleased to see several groups of people already waiting for us at Electric Mountain carpark but not so happy about the rain. Still, it was forecast to brighten up and the forecast wouldn’t let us down, would it?

39 people in all (one – the mysterious cagoule man) turned up. After a quick talk indicating some of the danger areas and pointing out  the guides, helpers and first aid kit carriers we were off, a huge line of us snaking through Llanberis.

We paused briefly at Pennceunant Isaf to warn Stephan that there were actually twice as many people than I had told there would be when I rang him the previous day and that we would be calling in for tea and bara brith on our way down.

I must admit at this point to being a little more worried than usual about looking after such a large group. This year, in order to prevent the group spreading across the mountain too much, I decided to lead from the front. With the ever dependable Richard Statham at the back and the expertise and experience of Jeff, Mac, Stephen Fraser, Jude, Judy, Woody and others in the middle knew it was covered.

One of those waterproofs on, waterproofs off days left us quite well spread by the time we reached the half way point but conditions were fair and everyone was having a good time.

half way

half way

People were happy to drift off up to Clogwyn Station at their leisure where I arrived later to find them all waiting. 

Conditions ahead were foggy but fine and with no snow on the ground the path was unmissable. I didn’t get to do the usual stop at Cloggy and lead straight through and up to the summit. Before nipping back down and brining up the rear with Richard and Mac.

Though there was no snow on the ground this year, almost as if to qualify the name of the trip it did snow during the time were on the summit. Then, on the descent the fog lifted and we were treated to 20 minutes of  scenery before it fell again. All too soon I was back at the bottom and after making sure the rest of the group were safely down retreated to Pete’s Eats for a hearty fill.

It was a great year for many people who had decided to conquer their fears and give this sort of thing a try for the first time. I’m proud and honoured to have spent the day with so many wonderful people.

Lots of photos and stories of the day by other people who came can be found by following the links below.

Barnsley Kilimanjaro Charity Trek 2011 account

mrMark’s photos on flickr

Snowdon in the Snow meets Spencer’s vertigo

Up Snowdon and Up my vertigo – Spencer Wilson

Ken Eastwood’s photos

 
 
 
 

last minute preparations

Rung Stephan at Pennceunant Isaf to warn him that we’ll be taking advantage of his most generous hospitality – and bara brith –  again tomorrow. He told me that the weather is perfect their today.

This year we’ve got groups from Huddersfield, Manchester and the Kili team from Barnsley meeting us there.

The latest weather forecast: Detailed Forecast for Sunday, 13th February, 2011

snowdon weather

Started to keep my eye on the weather. Bloody awful from now until Friday – wet, windy and claggy. Getting better on Saturday clouds lifting and getting cooler with excellent visibility. Fingers crossed for Sunday.

Snowdon weather forecast

13th February 2011

Walking up the highest mountain in the UK outside of Scotland in the snow has become increasingly difficult over the last 6 years but somehow we’ve always managed it. It shouldn’t be a problem this year as there is plenty of snow fall which still remains on higher ground.

Starting in Llanberis the route will ascend and descend the mountain using the Llanberis Path. Approximately 5 miles each way with a height gain of about 2800 feet the route should take about 5 hours.

Meet at the United Reform Church, Peel Street, Marsden at 7am or in Llanberis, in the car park of Electric Mountain – Dinorwig Power Station at 10am. After the walk we’ll meet in Pete’s Eats for the traditional hearty feast and tales of derrin doo. The start of the route is very steep and quite uninspiring, Stephan the owner of Penceunant Isaf – a small tea room and bunk house at the top of the steep section normally allows me to park a couple of cars on his car park for those who want to omit this beginning section.

Suggested Kit

* Walking boots
* Warm clothes
* Waterproof trousers
* Waterproof coat
* Hat
* Gloves
* Sunglasses or ski goggles
* Spare dry shoes/clothes to change into afterwards
* Walking poles if you need ‘em
* Rucksac
* Drink (at least 1.5 litres)
* Sandwiches
* Soup
* Chocolate
* Camera
* Flask

Let me know if I’ve missed anything or if there’s a particular bit of personal kit that you find useful that I don’t know about.

Route

The route is fairly straight forward and should be achievable by anyone with reasonable fitness. There are no climbing or ‘hands on’ sections but care needs to be taken in two places. The path takes a sharp turn south after passing under the bridge after Clogwyn Station.Care should be taken not to navigate over the cliff in bad visibility.

The path traverses the mountain about 200 metres above the cliffs of Clogwyn Coch. Because of the camber on the path at this section, when icy it is possible, when icy, to slip down the slope and over the cliffs. These risks are small but must be considered. We stick together as a group and make sure the mix experienced navigators, people familiar with the route and first aiders is balanced with people with no or little experience.

photos from 2010

https://steventuck.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/snowdon-in-the-snow-the-photos/

It was probably about -8 when Diver-Driver, Dr Ali and I set off up Pule Hill at 8pm on a frosty Monday night. The air was crystal clear and there was still lots of snow on the ground from the week before.  I don’t think we’d got off the track that leads up to Intake Head Farm before Diver-Driver’s appreciation of mine and Dr Ali’s comedic and intensely funny Scottish accents wore off. By the time we arrived at the air shaft Diver Driver was walking off into the darkness  by himself and threatening an early bath. Gritting his teeth he stuck with it and was still there to provide a flask of fortifying brandy on the summit of Pule. This along with Dr Ali’s hip flask of whiskey warmed the cockles and raised the spirits as expected.

Under shooting stars we set off down towards Worlow Quarry then followed ‘the bumps’ down to Hades Farm where we paused again to take on more fortification and admire the stars. We were back down to the village and in the pub by 10 where we were greeted by several chaps drinking whilst huddled round the only source of heat in the place – a small fan heater perched on the bar. Happy days. 🙂

Awaiting photos from Dr Ali.

Shining Clough

We’ve had a few Monday nights out, an unmemorable evening chez Den Lane midge pits and peat quarry, a more interesting time at Running Hill Pits which, with eight small quarries to go at and some bits and pieces in our grades will be somewhere to go back to, a lovely atmosphere atmosphere and setting as well. I think we snuck a quick Alderman’s in there as well. Dr Crowe and Steven Fraser managed a half day at Ravensdale reported on Farcebook. All these social media choices and instant web2.0 gratification, if only the quality of the climbing was as good as the reportage.

Knocking all that into a cocked hat was a plan hatched for Monday 9th August as Dr Crowe had an enforced change of work schedule and Steven was devoid of responsibility. In a blinding move master Jack Crowe made an 8.15 AM appearance at Marsden station (all the way from York where he’d been playing in the Anti-Racism World Cup) and the party was complete. Only deviating to the butchers for essential pies it was straight over Holme Moss and across the Woodhead Dam for the walk into Shining Clough. The weather was good the path was lousy but once up at the crag the full majesty of it became apparent. “Ahhh, cracks, ooooh chockstones – lovely!” Dr Crowe exclaimed.

The views were pretty cool too.

We started out on Atherton Brothers (S4a **) which was a delight for Dr Crowe to lead. With Fraser on only one pie there was a lot less hauling than at Ravensdale. Steven then took up the lead on Via Principia (S4a **). Making short work of an offwidth crack to a short ledge it began to rain, but he battled gamely on. An awkward moment above the second ledge as the rain came in more heavily and assorted alternatives were tried. Eventually he got a sling round a chockstone. The only problem was that it moved a bit under load. Confidence dented and clearly a bit pumped he carried on for a couple more moves but found the top out beyond his reach. Like any good dad Dr Crowe sent Jack up without any gear to finish off and Steven nobly popped round to the top to help him sort out the belay stance.  Seconding the route showed what a really great effort Steven put in to almost make the lead and it was clear that the weather and the feeling that a key bit of gear was a bit suspect made coming off the right thing to do.

Steven watches his own progress on Via Principia …

Steven ascends Via Principia

And comes back down again….

To round off we tried to up our game and have a go at Phoenix Climb (VS 4c***)

Phoenix Climb - the full length crack in the face

the fabulous vertical crack that stands out on the face. After the usual struggles Dr Crowe realised that with only one piece of gear that was big enough to hold in the crack below the hole there wasn’t much hope of getting further as the crack above the hole just got a bit wider and was unprotectable. So back to the hat trick: rain, downclimb and a bit of top roping. With the exuberance of youth Jack hauled himself up the climb forgetting that his feet would be of any use. But enjoying it nonetheless…

The grin says it all really – another quality Peak District day out, and back to the car before it really threw it down.

Phew, finally caught up. With the lads up a Cairngorm at the weekend a reduced party (Diver Driver, Dr Crowe and Michael) took to the crags on Mother Pule. A first proper Monday night out, the longest day and a beautiful evening.

First up Flying Buttress, it still needs a minimum of 3 pieces of gear in the vertical crack, a bit of faith onto the ledge and some awkwardness to feel around the horizontal bulges but the handholds are as good as ever.

Fraser led a corner (next to the hideous green scoop) with aplomb and to round off Dr Crowe had a go at Square Buttress. The first go ended with a Dr Ali-like lunge for the main break. It was followed by a Dr Ali-like pendulum across the face. All the year’s experience came into play – if at first you don’t succeed then light a cheroot and have another go, and so it went, with bats flying around and a curlew and an owl calling at opposite ends of the hill. Dusk came and we went to the pub. Marvellous.

Cairngorm

Ooops! thought I’d done this in June. Oh well here’s a video and some photos, I’ll get round to a brief write up soon(ish).

steventuck - View my 'cairngorms 2010' set on Flickriver

Pots and Pans

“Where’s Pots and Pans?” … “In de cupboard under de sink”. Actually it’s here.

We’ve been twice – first time in the lower, right quarry with some enticing lines and some not very enticing lichen covering the rock. Woody and Dr Crowe emboldened by the Dr’s rercent downclimbing practice backed off a number of difficult routes. The Prof soloed the unprotectable arete. Steves Tuck and Fraser and Dr Ali sensibly led two severe(?) routes.

The second visit saw Sharpey, the Prof, Diver Driver, Mr Tuck, the two Drs and Michael take on assorted boulders and in various combinations attempt the obvious hs (?) route  in the left quarry. This was led by Dr Crowe who was then hauled up the adjacent HVS crack by Dr Ali in the spirit of some experimental cheating.

Better sport was to be had in the higher quarry behind on Pans led by Ali which had much better friction and turned out to be a quality lead. Tuck and the Prof took a route to the right which turned out to be challenging – not least because of loose rock on the route, loose rock coming onto the route from above and a spectacularly stuck pice of gear. A really atmospheric spot, great views and sheltered with loads of bouldering scattered about as well. We’ll be back…

Our first trip to Pule, Drs Ali and Crowe, Mr Tuck and the Prof. A stark reminder of the off width and bulgy, slightly overhanging nature of the quarry. The forgotten art of downclimbing was retrieved from our collective unconscious. I think each pair only completed one climb as a pair. Certainly Dr Crowe and the Prof had to lay seige to a crack that was just out of their reach – a bit like the Ottomans trying to take Vienna – each attempt adding another piece of gear. The Prof finally hit the move needed to take the top. Dr Crowe in a fit of ambition demonstrated the lack of balance that keeps his belayers on their toes and fell off soimething he’d led last year. Truly going backwards. A beautiful evening and the first post-sunset finish needing headtorches in order to abseil down to retrieve (or not) bits of stuck gear.