Photo updates

I’m heading back to the Alps for the summer season now, and looking forward to it! There are photos of the winter and spring we just had on my new Instagram feed, and one here of Tim in the Combe de l’Encrenaz. And I’ve uploaded more to Flickr. Have a great summer and hope to see you on the hill soon!

Dry-tooling at The Works

Given the alternative option was a fell run, it was a no brainer to head to The Works to give dry tooling a shot last week. Ian had some time off, a pass out and had been on a recce to check out the premier venue in the North West for this activity, which happens to be very close to our homes. Amazing we’d never thought of going there before!

It was a logical choice for a winter’s day without winter conditions and we were up for a very mellow day out. We took Ian’s van up to Hodge and he busied himself cooking lunch whilst I switched my G14s to monos for the first time (again, why did I never try this before…because I’m a traditionalist I guess), and put an older pair of picks on my Nomics.

Eventually though we just had to leave the comfort of the van and get on with it, and found a gentle but sportingly bolted introduction with a couple of M4s on the People’s Slab. Bitten by the bug we checked out the steeper and popular Industrial Sector and made plans to return in the not too distant future.

Great work and thanks to the guys with the motivation to create this awesome facility.

Here’s the guidebook:

The Works dry tooling venue guide sheet

And the Facebook Group

The Works Drytooling Group

Skiing New Year 2017

With the lean conditions in the Chamonix Valley we headed through the tunnel to Italy over the New Year period and found good snow and some awesome tours: Tête Entre Deux Sauts, Becca di Feluma and Becca di Tos. We finished our trip with an easier day on Mont Fourchon. On the descent we enjoyed a drink at the Grand St Bernard monastery and visited the chapel and museum to pass some time before Carrie’s train back home. This was followed by an amazing night time ski down the deserted piste with highly reflective way-marks back to the car.

More photos on Flickr

All best wishes for 2017 and my resolution is to update my website more regularly!

Off to Skye

Over the May Bank Holiday Weekend I was on Dow with Karl on Saturday and in Sandbed Ghyll with Kevin on Sunday. The ghyll was an “interesting” trip that I haven’t done in a long while. Very slippery in places! Tomorrow it’s off to Skye for a week with John and Nick. Let’s hope the weather picks up a bit!

A cold day on Dow Crag

Kevin and I had a rather cold and windy but mainly dry day on C Ordinary Route today. Last time we were on Dow Crag was in March this year when we climbed the scrambling route up B Buttress via Easy Terrace and it’s continuation to the summit. Since then Kevin has really been bitten by the climbing bug, is progressing through the grades and most importantly is enjoying being out on the crags each weekend! Hopefully some alpine summits will follow soon!

Lorton Gully, Grassmoor

Today John, Nick and I found ourselves in Lorton Gully, Grassmoor, which is a superb Grade 3, three star gully scramble with a real mountain ambiance despite only being minutes above the road at Lanthwaite Green. We had really dry conditions but still managed to find a few extremely slippery holds. It would certainly be entertaining in spate! In the amphitheatre directly above the tricky section Nick proudly produced his brand new Jetboil stove and brewed us all a cuppa. Top man! We continued up the regular scramble following the left hand branch, which conveniently ends on the North West Ridge path to Grassmoor. We resisted the temptation to continue to the summit and opted for the direct descent of the NW Ridge (itself a decent scrambly path to round off the day) to the car, and the fastest route to the Royal Oak in Braithwaite. A very wise decision as it turned out because we just beat the rain and enjoyed some much deserved liquid refreshment thanks to Messrs Jennings!

Spring Update

The highlight of my spring was certainly the few weeks I took out from our biomass boiler project to ski and climb in the Alps! Kevin and Billy came to Chamonix for a week in late March to check out the Alps for the first time and did some introductory snowshoeing and mountaineering. The excellent spring conditions suited them well, and with low avalanche risk and fantastic spring snow conditions being the rule (with powder as well at times) we had a great time skiing too. Rebekah and I did a couple of good day tours and also several days around the lift system. Then Louise came out for a weeks intro ski touring and enjoyed fantastic conditions and weather. I was fortunate to team up with Charlie Boscoe, Matt Livingstone, Phil and Nora for a couple of fun days skiing before heading back to the UK.

Kevin and I had a full day out scrambling around Langdale the day after I arrived home, and then we headed up to Scotland for the Easter Weekend.

I’m out again tomorrow in the Lakes with John and Nick. We have a trip to Skye planned for May ahead of the summer alpine season, where my bookings start in early June.

I still have dates available during the spring and summer, but my diary is filling up and the framework is now in place. Please contact me if you are hoping to head for the hills this year!


Chamonix Climb and Ski

Dave and I were climbing and skiing around Chamonix last week. It was a very brief visit and we wanted to stay local so our options were limited. The skiing was very good after the recent snowfalls, but access to the ice climbing was less than ideal and a lot of the climbing in this and other areas was under too much snow. We climbed several routes at the Crémerie and the Argentiere Left Bank and had one day skiing. Dave had done a lot of skiing in the military in the past but it was his first time on skis for 20 years! Like riding a bike, it soon came back and by the end of the day we were off piste in the trees with ideas about trying some ski touring in the future!

More photos here.

Lakes Conditions

They were giving a great weather forecast for today and I wanted to go out to check on the hill conditions. Gary, who is currently managing the building work for the installation of our new biomass boiler, decided to come out with me on his day off. The Helvellyn Ridges are in wintery condition with a bit of snow ice, notably at the top of Swirral. There’s a sprinkling of snow on the rocks so it’s all quite slippery, requiring care and an axe and crampons are advisable. We passed a couple of guys who”d been on an unfruitful recce to Brown Cove. It was nice day out on the Ridges though, and quite chilly. To see more recent photos click here.

Everest 2014

My friend Nuru Sherpa emailed me recently asking me to offer places on a trip he is organising to the North side of Everest. Nuru is exceptionally strong and experienced, having led Sherpa teams on a huge number of professional expeditions to the Himalaya. He is also very widely travelled, and we met up a couple of times last summer near Zermatt where he was working in the Matterhorn Hut for the whole season. If you have the necessary experience and are interested in joining Nuru on Everest in the forthcoming season drop me a line!