Monday, 11 January 2010

Conditons Update - 11/1/10

Well that was fun. *raises eyebrow*

Zack and I thought we'd trundle over to Craig-y-Llyn for an evenings climbing. Having never been there before and not having OS170, we expected it to be, at worst, challenging to find. After having spent 40 minutes trundling around in snow not nearly far enough west for the crag, we finally found our way to the top of the escaprment and the fence. There's been a fresh powder dump up there since yesterday with some tracks covered over, and also an awful lot of snow blown about by wind resulting in 15 minutes of fun filled metre deep powder swimming back up to the main ridge line. Anyways, we carried on regardless, now on top of the crag and looking for a way down, following recent climbers tracks. It was at this point that things got not so fun. Up until visibility had been poor and snow deep, making the going pretty tough, but between then and now, cloud had come in even more, and coupled with the darkness, visibility was down to a mere few metres - que me trying to find a way doing what was clearly not a way down, and grabbing hold of a tree to stop myself falling down the steep cliff below, not a lot of fun in the dark without crampons on at this point.

After that we decided to be sensible, and with the worsening conditions, visibility, biting wind, and a little shaken from climbing back up on heather, we called it a day and decided it would be silly to carry on yomping around the top of a crag we didn't know in such poor visibility. On our detour down the hill prematurely we noticed a small stream in a gully with a rock step that was frozen and quite fat, indicating that despite todays warm temperatures, the routes in the area are most probably still nicely frozen. However as I say, there's been a lot of snow blown about, and if you stray of the tracks you're likely to find patches of week 2 inch crust above gop, interspersed with powder ponds. So the moral of that story? Go in daylight, or know where you're going. Stick to the obvious tracks. Don't try walking down into the darkness.

Anyway, you can guess what we did after this enjoyable walk in the snow, that's right, not wanting to waste an evening we shot back to RAC on the way to check how good a fight it was putting up against the settling thaw. The temperature at storey arms was, on the layer scale, effing cold, and RAC was fatter still, than the previous 3 times i've climbed it since wednesday, with the ice toughening up on the hole, and the belays improving. More snow blown about and a lot of loose powder covering some ankle breaking rocks on the way down, so be careful.

Now, on to the most important part of my post, my tools went leashless today. And my lord, I'm a convert already. Leashless is fantastic, and I spent most of the way up RAC hopping along pointlessly swapping tools and hands just to rub it in Zacks chokeheld wrists that I could. Win.

Followed by a large dominos pizza.

It was a good evening after all!


If you don't want to read all the round-a-bout waffly crap above, heres a short summary.

- Still there, still getting fatter, still getting stronger.
Snow- Windslab forming in small pockets, deceptively scoured and slippery patches, fresh powder covering ankle breaking rocks, and very deep on northerly and north easterly.
Temperatures- Cold again, hopefully bringing about some freeze thaw to consolidate the blown about cack on the hills at the moment.

The below has been sent to me by Mark Salter, and is an update on the weekend conditions at Virgin Falls

Hi Ryan.

We were out on Saturday in Blaencwm. Virgin Falls was in except the bottom short crux pitch. Although thinish in places and with water running behind in places there was plenty of ice for 8 of us to ascend. From the top we walked over to Polystyrene which was in similar conditions but climbable in its entirety. Again water was running behind and down the centre of both pitches but the climbing was good. Both routes about III or slightly harder depending on line chosen. Both routes could do with more freezing temperatures to fatten them up and fill in the blanks.

Virgin Falls

Virgin Falls



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