/ Single pitch ice in Snowdonia

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lewismansell - on 20 Mar 2013
Running a uni club trip to sunny Snowdonia this weekend and obviously trad may be a bit off. Are there any single pitch ice routes that can be accessed and top-roped to give those who have never tried ice a quick go on my tools? Unfortunately I haven't got any screws to hand.
BnB - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell: There are several giant boulders mere feet from the top of Hidden Gully right branch (Cwm Cneiffion, grade II) from which strong sling anchors can be constructed. If I remember correctly, the right branch can be completed in a single pitch of about 35m. The difficulties, such that there are, will be found at the turn-off for right branch (normally an icy step or two) and topping out over an awkward chockstone.

The question will be whether the section below the turn-off, ie the bottom section of the Y shaped gulley, is safe for an unroped approach, which will depend on the skills of your students and your personal assessment.

And then there is the question of sending the tools back down the slope, for which you will need some kind of rope relay arrangement.

A third challenge will be difficulaty of communication from top to bottom of pitch owing to the twists and turns of the gully.

On second thoughts you might be better on a steeper route with better visual comms!!
BnB - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to BnB: And don't forget to check for cornice/avalanche risk. Gullies will be loaded!!
muppetfilter - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell: If you have to ask this question on an internet forum .... Should you really be taking novices into this terrain ? There are other options on the Tremadoc cliffs, Hollyhead, a55 crags.
Ewan_B on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell:

Also factor in that world+dog tends to be trying to get up any easy graded ice that looks even close to being in nick of a weekend. Setting up top ropes with only one set of axes between you on those routes sounds like it'd be a nightmare and perhaps not the best experience.

Why not spread the axes around and take a couple of people up a snow gully if conditions allow? That way they can all keep moving (and therefore warm). There are ungraded ice bosses around the edges of places like Cwm Cneifion that you can play on along the way with minimal commitment and good communication.
edunn on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell:

Why is Trad out? Is it due to rain (sorry I haven't checked the weather!).

It's definitely not too cold if that's the reason. I went a few weeks ago and managed Trad on Saturday and then Trinity Face on Snowdon on Sunday. It was a little chilly for climbing, but a good warm jacket and some fingerless gloves were plenty.

Rocks weren't too busy either.
Lukeva - on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell: There are but it sounds dodgy, the iced up crags are high. Do they have all other winter skills to reach these spots? 1 pair of axes in a uni group, I wouldn't fancy that as a leader. Get on the rock or boulders?
xplorer on 20 Mar 2013
In reply to muppetfilter:

You failed to filter your own muppet comment
Webster - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell: PLEASE DONT TOP ROPE ANY WELSH ICE ROUTES!!!

Good ice in the country is a rare comodity, and a group of begginers whacking away on a top rope will a)ruin it and b) prevent others from getting on it.

If you want a uni group to experience welsh winter then take them up tryfan north ridge and if they are competent enough then continue up briskly ridge onto the glyders.
kevin stephens - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell:
> Running a uni club trip to sunny Snowdonia this weekend and obviously trad may be a bit off.

What's wrong with Lockwood's Chimney?
TheAndyBarker - on 22 Mar 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6RLu-LwRZM then think if you'd like to have your group standing around waiting for a go on a top/bottom rope..? Positive experience for them (and you)...?
iksander on 25 Mar 2013
Skinny Kin - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to lewismansell:
You're in luck. I've just found some roadside ice ranging between technical 2-4 and 50m long. Perfect for top-roping (not bottom roping unless you have 100m ropes).

I'm not 100% about the guidebook description but it's the best I can find anywhere (internet, 1988 guide and 2010 guide).
The bit of icefalls I saw Monday (25th) afternoon was on the left hand side of Dinas Cromlech. It's just a little way up from Cromlech Boulders. There are various lines. You can choose as hard or as easy as you like.

It's described in Andy Newton's 1988 guide as Cromlech Icefalls on page 111. Here's the description (as I said I wasn't 100% this description was for what I saw but I couldn't find any other info elsewhere):
"This is the wide band of ice-falls that are obvious from the road. They can be tackled anywhere according to taste, although care should be taken with loose rocks at the top. It's an excellent area for INTRODUCING NOVICES TO ICE CLIMBING; the steepest sections usually sport an ego tripper pleading for a top rope rescue!"
Skinny Kin - on 26 Mar 2013
In reply to TheAndyBarker:
Andy, you're such a spoilsport. Have you not climbed in Rjukan? Perfect top roping winter crags there. It was like Stanage in winter. I learnt loads more steep ice technique in one week than previous 8 years going up to Scotland 4 or 5 weekends each of those 8 winters.

We seriously need some single pitch easy winter crags for beginners to play on in a safe manner. Not all of us can get to Ice Factor or man made ice wall or Scotland doesn't always help to learn. Climbing loads of routes up to grade IV in this country didn't help me to progress to V or VI but Continential ice like Rjukan, Cogne, Maltatal helped me loads. The reason being is that on a high mountain crag in Scotland or Lakes or even Wales, there are objective dangers; avalanche, short daylight, long walk-in, unreliable gear/anchors preventing learning/practising. Learning can only take place when the learner feels safe and protected.

That's why crag like Krokan is such an important venue for ice climbing future. People can top rope on trees. Safest it can be. Therefore, any safe single pitch ice crags in this country should be promoted unless some rich people build more indoor ice walls but they are not the same as real crag. It's like comparing Stanage to Awesome Wall in Liverpool. Not the same at all, is it?
TheAndyBarker - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Skinny Kin: mate.. at the time of the initial post there wasnt any single pitch ice.. todays conditions are a bit of an anomaly eh..! Not a spoil sport, just dont want to see people having a shit experience of Welsh winter climbing.. I've climbed ice all over the world.. roadside and more remote than most.. wales aint Norway. .
Skinny Kin - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to TheAndyBarker:
Your initial post sounded very British traditionalist. You just looked at it from the British ethics point of view. Wales ain't Norway. What does that suppose to mean? Did you mean Wales couldn't turn into Norway? Ethics evolve over the years and yes, even in Britain. Why can't we even man make some "ice parks" like in Ouray or Korea and many other countries if conditions allow? Don't be so stuck in the rut! People use chalk, use climbing wall to train, use Alpkit tools to practise on artificial walls, use headpointing on rock and in winter, use disused quarries to dry tool and list goes on. Climbing is forever evolving. You can't stop it, can you? You just can't accept the change!
Skinny Kin - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to TheAndyBarker:
Your imagination is quite limited. Imagine cold weather upon Wales, how much roadside ice will get done?
In Jan 2010, which was not very distant past, Scotland was turned into Rjukan if you remember that. I climbed more roadside and low level ice than any other previous 10 years in the UK. Oui Oui on Craig Dhu was in, Steall Icefall in Glen Nevis I also climbed. Corrieshalloch had loads of ice; only a few meters from the road. Loads of roadside enscrapment had ice. People climbed some ice on Skye by the sea!!!
You're telling us Wales can't turn into Rjukan. Watch it!
TheAndyBarker - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Skinny Kin: I tell you what our kid.. you stay on the 'escrapments' (whatever they are) and l won't have to see you top roping stuff.. Deal..?... Ouray ice park.. in Wales.. They'll be hanging ropes down the appendix to encourage it to form next.. outrageous. That is all....!
Dave P - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Skinny Kin:

I suspect Andy meant that Wales is not Rjukan in that there simply isn't the quantity (and frequency in terms of conditions) of roadside ice which Rjukan has (and the rest of Norway - Rjukan isn't the only venue in that there fine winter climbing country).

Mind you, it does have the continental feel with the opportunity to practise one's language skills and a variety of interesting accommodation and fine dining options. And it's only two hours flight and a two hour drive from Oslo.

So come on Norwegian climbers, what are you waiting for? Get yerselves over to Wales and experience the finest that European roadside ice has to offer.

Ahem.
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TheAndyBarker - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Dave P: thanks Dave.. watching it...!

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