Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Parcio. Walkio. Campio! Walkio!

Thats right. The true Welsh speakers amoungst you will be as confused as the rest! Basically Rich and I headed up to North Wales for a delightful weekend of self punishment through the medium of heavy rucksacks...

We managed to get up to the camp site below Tryfan for just before midnight on Friday, after a relaxed getaway and faff at mine. Pitching the tent in the dark next to the sewer outlet was a stroke of genius that kept rich in fitful sleep all night, whilst I happily drank in the pooh aroma in side my toasty minus 9 bag. Both somewhat rested, we headed out at the crack of 7, after an uncomfortable moment when we thought we might not have had enough cash to pay for the site, whilst the black cigarette toting, tatood farmer looked at us with an expression that can only be described as 'valleys rock'.

Anyway, a short walk along the A5 saw us popping up the access road to the reservoir and up the flank of Y Braich via our own route, to break our first sweat, before following the path to the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du and then along Y Lassalt towards Pen Llithrig Y Wrach. The weather was eceptionally good at this point and visibility was amazing. We stopped for a twix and admired the views over Cwm Eigiau and the Llyn Eigau reservoir.

Full of twix, we headed over to the crest path through a nice depth of heather and drank in the amazing view of the Llyn Cowlyd reservoir which was shimmering beutifully in the hazy sunshine. Again, a picture here would be amazing, but the fuji S2 battery eater had sprung its magic again and basically turned into dead weight. Rest assured the view was filled with fawns and imps of all variety in a Narnia-esque vista. With farewells said to Mr Tumnus, we headed on and created our own route of maximum resistance down to the Llyn Eigau reservoir, before assessing our situation as the cloud had really come in over the tops now and a good level of mist was everywhere except low in the valley. Our original plan had been to head over to the area near Cerrig Cochion on the map and then head round the top of the Dulyn Res. before hitting Garnedd Uchaf. We scrapped this for a walk up Cwm Eigiau where we'd take the path roughly to Foel Grach, onto Garnedd Uchaf and then take a bearing into Cwm Caseg.

As we headed up from the mine buildings in the Cwm, though, it became clear that the wind and absolute white out would make this nav reasonably hard as we were taking refs from indistinct features at the best of times. Having slogged up the river onto the Gledrffordd (yes that is a word) in 20ft vis, we decided we were really tired and this was stupid, so headed back down and set up an amazing camp above the disused mine. Very good views of Alphabet buttress which I really want to do - the UK's longest climb at 294m and an absolute classic.

The wind had got up, but after an excellent night in the Voyager - where any excursion outside for a wee or any other reason had to be accompanied by a shout of 'cliff!' from the person inside, as we were literally 1m from a very big drop - we set out at 7:15 into the same mist conditions that had been kicking around the night before. We navved up and hit our aim off points, but ran slightly low into the steepening ground above Ffynnon Llyffant and had to retrace and do a bit of a scramble. After that we got absolutely blasted by cold, windy cloud coming up onto the top of Carnedd Llewelyn, before an amazing shelter rock and break in the clouds made it all worth while. We decided that conditions would only be the same or get worse and therefore cut the route short, heading back down under Y Braich and back to the car in quick time, leaving at mid day! This left us time for a quick browse through the Cotswold rock bottom store before a leisurely drive home. Brilliant!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Long time no blog, been a busy busy boy.

Had a great trip at Chinese New Year (end of Jan) to South Korea for a bit of war-zone snowboarding. It was very cold, down to minus 19 at night - nippy! The hotel we stayed at was all out of western-style rooms, so we ended up in a traditional 'ondol', which consists of a heated wooden floor onto which you lay thin mattresses each night to sleep. This may sound like a wonderful zen dream, but the floor was hot enough to fry eggs on and the thermostat fixed, making it all a bit sweaty - next time I want a bed!

The resort was fun but pretty limited, you'd get bored if you were a black-run maestro but it was fine for my friends and I, plus it was nearly all floodlit each night until 2am, which was great fun. The snow was thin but the koreans are masters at regrooming 3mm of snow into something useful so it was all good, save the occasional ice-patch. The local skiing/boarding style was gun-ho at best - I got run into a lot without really doing anything, which kept it edgy.

We kept ourselves entertained asain-style by going to a karaoke bar; I did a frankly unpleasant rendition of "Gay Bar"

Don't have any good photos of me boarding because, basically, I was too darn fast for the the others to keep up with their cameras. So here is a pictures of me and my mate Stew saying "yoggi-yo!!!" with a lift girl (every time you get on the lift you are welcomed with a wave, a smile and a yoggi-yo - very un-french), and me standing still trying to look extreme...


Rad boarding, feel the burn

Since then I've done a couple of extreme events. The Hardcore Hiking Ninja Playboys strolled out again to complete the Green Power Hike, a 50km trail walk on HK Island (with bits of running). Our team time was 9 hours 15 mins, which was respectful and put us about 40th of 150 teams. In actual fact 3 of us finished in 8 hours 5 mins (would have been sub-8 but I needed a toilet break near the end, which took 7 mins!) but Big Stew seperated some cartilage in his knee, dropped out, decided to drop back in and kept going to finish, getting re-strapped at each first aid stop - truly hardcore behaviour!!

Last Sunday a group us of did the Outward Bound adventure race, a 15km trail run/scramble/kayak with some challenges thrown in. It was brilliant! Somehow we came third in our category and won medals, I celebrated with a caipirnha so strong it put me to sleep.

Apologies for the lack of pictures, if any offical ones get posted I will add them to this blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Well, that was fun! Probably the hardest thing I've done in the physical stakes for a very long time - the fact that I've only been able to run for three weeks was a slight hindrance, but thoroughly enjoyable all round and very chuffed to have done my first half marathon! Ant and I kept a reasonable pace together - slightly slower than we'd have liked from the start - and he then slowly pulled away from me. We both saw Steffi en route which was a big boost. Faye ran at her slightly slower natural pace and we all had respectable times. Ant came in in 1hr54, whilst I managed 2hrs and 4 mins (absolutely beat and at the end of my energy) and Faye came in on 2hrs 17, I think. Bit achy now but well pleased and knee/heel played ball..

That fence is keeping me upright.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Half marathon at Silverstone tomorrow and having last minute jitters! Went for a ride today down Peaslake way with Rob and his two mates. It felt very spring like and I was really feeling the lack of riding. Funny how you can be reasonably fit for one thing and not at all for another. Highlight of the ride was being shown a 15ft drop that I will never do. Some people are nuts. No pictures because no soul stealer.

Here is a picture of a nice bike to make up for it. ;p

Wish us luck!

Monday, March 09, 2009

one of the many powder days Morzine

This season has been amazing. It just seems that every two weeks we have fresh dump of snow giving us many many powder days. Because of this I have been hiking alot to get to powder fields and have not been riding on pist at all. Sweet.

the long hike up chezeri

ish and rob


Fiding people that ride with trasevers here is a bit of a problem but the hikes continue anyway.

The colur photos are from about two weeks ago and the sepa ones from saturday. I have put them on as they are the same peaks we hiked up to various levels.

we are beat

yeah fresh lines

On saturday we decided to go for the 3 peaks hike. Started off on the starwars run though the trees with a couple of medium sized drops thrown in. Straight after was the 20 min hike to the top of satelght wich gives a good open powder field, nice and steep and then though a gully and trees down to the chatel car park. Very nice indeed with a big drop at the start.

Onwards and upward to the hidden vally. Was pretty tracked out but fun none the less. Quick coffee stop the bubble and chair to the top where we saw a small avalanche created by some snowboarders. Decsion made lets hike to the top! Only 10 mins and another nice steep face to go down. Quite humbleing when there is still snow falling down where you have come from when everyone was gathered at the bottom.

the ridge that took an hour to hike

Last hike took over an hour to get to the top. Little sketchy, made worse by the fact th clouds came in half way up. Very strange when all you can see is white. As we reached the top the gods smiled and it cleared giving us a nice big face to come all the way down to the linderette bowl for a beer and a sneaky bofti at the ice bar.


Had to sleep all day today as legs didnt work anymore. Its been snowning all day againg so bring on tomorrow for mre of the same.

catered and self catered holidays in the french alps

Absolutely saturated!

I knew it was a bad omen that Gav had finally decided to get some waterproof trousers as it meant that we WOULD be needing them. That said, I don't think either of us were prepared for just how MUCH water the clouds would be throwing at us! 5 hours of solid sideways rain and hail was too much for even my poncy re-proofed gear...

Gav with Scoat fell and Pillar and our retreat route down Windy Gap behind him, along the stream.

Looking up at Looking Stead and the top of Pillar, obscured in cloud. Hard hail and high winds here...

Friday saw us hightailing it up to Jen's house for a comfy night in Shef, before heading out at the crack of 6 the next morning destined for Wast Water and our route from Wasdale Head up Mosedale and the Black Sail pass, before turning left up Pillar. As there were just the two of us we used this as a good exercise to nail the distance over time Nav that I'd been trying to get my head around for complete whiteouts. We used Naismith's rule as a starting point and found our calculations to be spot on. This was good as we then needed these new found skills on the higher part of the hill and it was exciting to be so accurate with both comps and time.

Not much shelter at the shelter on Pillar...

The weather really was quite bad and the wind was on the limit of what I found comfortable (same for Gav!), but we assessed conditions at Looking Stead and decided that we would proceed with caution and retreat if we felt things were getting a bit heavy! The path up Pillar from here is good, with little object danger and the winds seemed to have dropped a bit from the funnel at Looking Stead, so we were set and into very thick rainy cloud! After hitting the shelter, we navved out and headed for Scoat Fell, via Windy Gap. Coming down here was more hairy than either of us liked as the snow conditions were appallingly soft with the mild weather. We made the call at this point that enough was enough and headed down the scree path of Wind Gap, back to the Mosedale valley.

The new tent finally got an airing and is absolutely bombproof and rather comfy...

After making a sizeable puddle on the pub floor, we went staright to the campsite shower block and slowly became human again! The tent went up and food was cooked whilst the rain and high winds continued outside. Pub, crossword, chat to people, Bed. Nice warm sleeping bag!

Theres nothing quite like a full English followed by cake! Yes that is a mug with a karabiner attached...


We had a bit of a leisurely morning as the winds had got worse over night and decided to drive up to Windermere, have a bit of a shop and head back to Shef, where we caught the last of the amazing light and went for a bit of a walk at the Popular End and did some boots on bouldering. Spot on.


On a sad note, it was so wet that both my phone and the little digital camera which has taken so many of the shots on this site, bought it! Time for a canon Powershot G10! I ca dream...

Daryl's post

Daryl went to Chamonix and will do a post at some point.

bobby no mates
Here is the idiot himself.

Above Cham.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Word from the front line.

In a recent email, the boy Beadle wrote:

'Looking forward to some sun and getting back on the bike, trying to decide what sort of steed to get for out here, think I might keep the Kona for XC and get a monster for riding the downhills.'

What a bummer life is, living in Morzine and having a Chalet... ohh well...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Back on th bike!

Its got a bit milder this week and my mate from MK, Dave 'Dubs' Wilson has just bought a new bike to see if he likes the riding lark, after taking a back seat from high speed and dangerous skiing...


He got a Patriot, more from a financial perspective than anything else (as they are dirt cheap) and whilst not the best trail bike, it will get him started. So anyway, we headed out for a chilled little pedal at Woburn to test the new steed and see if my collar bone is up to riding again! Because its a big bike, I forgot that Dubs is new to all this and blatted off down some of the short downhills with the advice of 'don't go off the drops'. Dubs did admirably well but best enjoyed a nice bit of trail that we rode after the downhills. Orange 5 is what this lad needs!


Good to be out again and glad that I've not lost it all completely. Went for a big-ish (for me) run this morning as the Silverstone Half Marathon is a week next Sunday and the training is just about scraping together! Felt absolutely beat after it, but managed just over 8 miles in 1hr 17mins with coaxing from Ant. Knee is quite painful still...

My poor feet, about to hurt!