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Above the Clouds 10th January
Views from Stickle Tarn 10th January
Today Adele, John and Roger broke through the clouds in Langdale on a day out Scrambling.
On Saturday 12th January Adele will be giving a workshop on the Physiological and Psychological preparation for climbing high at the BMC expedition planning seminar at Plas-y- Brenin
http://www.thebmc.co.uk › Mountaineering › International
Posted on 10 Jan 2013 by adele
Table for two on Neilion Mt Kenya
On the 3rd January 2013 Noelle and Michael dined on Mountain House dehydrated Macaroni Cheese and Chicken Curry whilst sat on the summit of Neilion as the sun set. This was a very special 50th Birthday for Noelle who had decided that a family trip to Mount Kenya was the way she would like to celebrate her half Century. On the 4th January Noelle, Michael and Adele descended into the gates of Mist and topped out on Batian (5199m) before returning to the Austrian Hut.
Noelle and Michael on the Summit of Neilion 5188m
Early on in 2012 Noelle hatched the plan of a family excursion to Mount Kenya with her ultimate goal of an ascent of the Normal Shipton Route (IV) onto Neilion and then Batian . This route first climbed in 1929 by Eric Shipton and Percy Wyn Harris is a 20 pitch rock climb gaining 400m in elevation. Following an ascent of Neilion and a night in the Howell Bivi Hut the route climaxes with a descent into the gates of Mist, followed by two splendid pitches of perfect granite rock to the summit of Batian.
In May whilst Adele was fighting on Lhotse Noelle and Michael booked their flights and confirmed the trip. Their two sons Tom and Joey had agreed to join the celebrations with and ascent of Point Lenana but sensibly declined the rock climb and chose to have a few days rafting, kayaking and mountain biking. With the help of Savage Wilderness Tours an itinerary was formulated and Michael and Noelle set about their training plan.
As time passed December the 27th soon came round and the team gathered in the arrivals at Nairobi Airport. After a very short stay at the Crown Plaza and a visit to a shopping mall we were soon heading towards the Sirimon Gate with Julius our trekking guide. Unfortunately the weather forecast was not promising for our trek and together with our 18 porters we hid from the rain and wind under canvas at our first camp. Arriving later than expected dinner was served in the dark as we hung onto the mess tent as a storm passed through. Not deterred, the following morning we left for the trek to Leki North Camp. Temporarily the weather held dry but it was not long until we were in full waterproofs, heads down traipsing through boggy moorland desperately trying to remain positive. A comical lunch stop of a buffet served under Noelle’s tarp did cause some smiles but the rain and wind continued not really giving us a chance to enjoy our surroundings.
Lunch under the Tarp
Following a damp night at Leki North camp we headed towards Shipton’s camp only briefly getting glimpses of the scenery surrounding us. On arrival the skies did clear giving us a glimpse of the mountain we had come to climb. Entertained by other trekkers and their tales of attempts to climb in the bad weather we just lived in hope that things would change.
The trek from Shipton’s to the Austrian Hut was much more rewarding as the clouds swirled around giving us views of the amazing landscape and scenery. Unfortunately, our arrival at the hut coincided with the afternoon rains which had now turned to snow. Tom and Joey took refuge with their kindles as Michael Noelle and Adele tried to negotiate space in the hut to dine and for the boys to sleep. An afternoon ascent of Point Lenana was aborted as we huddled in the refuge discussing plans of an early start on point Lenana in the morning.
Scrambling on Point Lenana
Family Summit Success
At 6am on 1st January 2013 there was a break in the weather and the team ascended Point Lenana through the snow in just an hour. As the sun rose over Neilion, Noelle and Michael gazed at their next challenge for the first time. Tom and Joey were certainly pleased to be on their way down to some civilisation. After a second breakfast the boys departed into the mist, sad to see them go Mum, Noelle turned her attention to her 50th Birthday challenge as we took a walk over the Lewis Glacier to the bottom of the route. For a group of French, their climb had been aborted due to unfavourable weather conditions and we remained positive that the weather would improve.
Sunrise on Neilion " The next Challenge"
Adele focussed her attention on obtaining weather forecasts and making the best plan for their ascent. Forecasts from Julius and from Roger in the UK were predicting the same pattern.
Sun and Cloud for the 1st, 3rd and 4th with rain on the 2nd Wind 15/25km except Wednesday
Should have clear weather from the 2nd to the 6th
Finally a plan was made and following a gear dump and practice climb on the 2nd we were to make our attempt on the 3rd. All was good except for the realisation that five Finns were planning their climb on the same day. Eight in the Howell bivi hut would be a squeeze. After some negotiations we assured a place in the hut and had a definite plan to carry the weight of bivi kit, ice axe and crampons so we attempt Batian.
The 3rd of January dawned clear with very little wind; now very familiar with the ascent to the bottom of the route and also the first four pitches we made good time. We had given the Finns an hour and a half head start so that we were not held up. Puffing and panting to start with we made our way up and over the rabbit hole and then up 1 O’clock gully. As the rock warmed up we enjoyed each pitch of the climb with no real pressure of time. Past half way Van de Graaf’s variation went smoothly and soon we were within sight of the summit. At 3pm we topped out to join two Finns who were also planning to stay. A gas cylinder purchased from some trekkers made cooking so much easier. Noelle took control of the stove and soon we were enjoying what felt like the best cup of coffee ever. Water was boiled and dinner cooked as the sun set and provided us with a perfect evening on Kenya’s second highest peak.
Michael Climbing on Neilion
With one of the Finns making a very quick exit from the hut to be ill, the rest of us spread out to enjoy! Or perhaps tolerate the night.
Michael was first out of the tin box as the sun rose and prepared breakfast as we slowly got ourselves ready for the final part of the route. Delightful Alpine climbing and perfect granite rock made for a very special 50th Birthday as Noelle and Michael spent a very special few minutes on the summit of Bataian.
Returning to the Gates of Mist
Wasting no time we returned to Neilion and abseiled without event to 3m above the bottom of the route. A little scramble saw us safe and sound but unfortunately the ropes were to be left!!
Now relaxing at the Noro Moro River Lodge Noelle can truly relish in her 50th Birthday treat as the boys tell tales of their rafting and kayaking adventures.
Thanks to Savage Wilderness, Noelle , Michael, Tom and Joey for making my third visit to Kenya so special.
Family reunite at the Noro Moro River Lodge
Posted on 07 Jan 2013 by adele
Greater Ranging Expedition Planning Seminar Plas-y -Brenin 12th Jan 2013
Adele will be providing a workshop at the British Mountaineering Councils Expedition Planning Seminar on the 12th January 2013. The event will be held at Plas-y- Brenin and more information can be found at http://www.thebmc.co.uk/expedition-planning-seminar
Adele's workshop will focus on the psychological and physiological aspects of climbing above 8000m and will cover the use of oxygen and the importance of specific clothing and equipment.
Posted on 27 Dec 2012 by adele
Winter Mountaineering in Morroco 18th Dec 2012
It was time for Rosemary and Adele’s annual five day outing to the Atlas mountains. As usual the last minute planning and excitement added to the adventure. Five hours after leaving the UK we were sat in the sun enjoying our first Tajine and taking in the atmosphere of our new setting in Imlil before ascending on foot to Mohammed’s gite on the hillside. The mountains were covered in snow and Toubkal stood proud as the highest mountain in the range. This year we had a different objective to climb to the Tizi n Ouanounms 3680m and then to ascend Ras (4083m) and Timezgida (4089m) in the Quanoukrim range.
At 9am Thursday morning our mule, cook Siad and Rashid our local guide ushered us out and up the trail to the Toubkal refuge. Stopping en route at the shrine we enjoyed our next tajine and then made our way up to the refuge 3240m, without our mule which would have struggled to negotiate the icy trail. Armed with a tent just in case, we were pleasantly surprised at the clean hut and even more honoured when given a private room for our three night stay. Huddled by the wood burning stove we made our plans and were soon settled in enjoying the company of other climbers and trekkers.
Rachid our guide.
Waking at 6am on Friday morning it was difficult to stir from our cosy sleeping bags into the cold. Eventually we prepared ourselves for our acclimatisation trek up to the Tizi ( meaning col) Ouanounms. The cold air took away our breath and we were fortunate there was only a light wind and so lucky that the skies were completely blue.
As the sun rose we peeled off the layers and were soon fixing crampons on to our boots as we ascended the steep slope towards the col. For Rosemary this was a relatively new experience having only worn her points a couple of times before.
Steadily we made headway and the views of our main objective made the ascent worthwhile and we knew that this was an essential part of our acclimatisation.
View of Quanoukrim Range
Returning to the hut we enjoyed a delayed lunch and filling dinner as we listened to the tale of the two Spanish chaps who had a late arrival back at the hut after ascending one of the steeper gullies onto Toubkal. Animated by pictures and music the four of us enjoyed the peace of an empty refuge.
Now feeling a little less drowsy we woke early with the excitement and in trepidation for Rosemary for the ascent of our main objective. The weather had held and the morning dawned with more blue skies. We made our way up to the Tizi n Ouagane (3750m) and this time we were rewarded by views of the Sahara desert in the distance. Turning west we headed towards the fingers of rock.
Fingers of Rock
Scrambling over rocks and around edges the ridge got better and better and was certainly more than a “trek”. Popping out onto the plateau we headed towards the col between the two summits. The African sun and altitude made it hard work as we gained height towards Morocco’s second highest mountain. After five hours we had topped out on Timezguida and devoured bread cheese and sardines before heading onto Ras. Emotional with our success we headed back towards the ascent ridge and descended a steep gully to its left to make a quick descent to the mail trail. Finally at 4pm we were greeted by Siad and a well deserved very late lunch. Tonight was our night to be the story tellers as we told the tale of our fantastic day on the mountain. Snuggled in front of the fire we watched a group of Moroccon’s prepare for an overnight birthday celebration on the top of Toubkal.
Rosemary on the Ridge to Ras
Timezgida in the background
Now Sunday and with an imminent return to Imlil, we grabbed an extra few hours to play on the snow and ice surrounding the hut. Front pointing, ice axe breaking, walking on ice were a few skills we practiced as we watched the Spanish boys play on some steeper ice. Now totally enthused we are now planning our return and itinerary for more winter Moroccan mountaineering next year.
Rosemary on the Ice
Spanish chaps on the ice.
Thanks to Mohammed, Rachid and Siad for making us so welcome in Morocco and Rosemary for a brilliant mini break in the mountains.
Adele will be spending Christmas in the Lake District before departing for another climb of Neilion and Batian Mt Kenya on the 27th December.
If your interested in any of the trips Adele has run this year or organising your own expedition then please do not hesitate to contact her.
Ted Pennington would also like to report of his successes this year, apologise for his lack of blogging and wish everyone a Happy Christmas.
Ted Pennington on the summit of Ras
Posted on 18 Dec 2012 by adele
More Winter Action in Wales 6th Dec 2012
UCLan Students on the Gribin Ridge ( I) North wales
On Wednesday the UCLan second year students left Ogwen for a day in the winter wonderland. Another fine ascent of the Gribin Ridge was made. A stiff wind at the top ensured we wasted no time as we took in the summit of Glyder Fawr (1000m) before descending down the Devils Kitchen.
Views towards the coast from the top of the Glyders
Today the weather forecast was for heavy snow and 40mph winds. The students decided they would like a taste of some real winter conditions which we certainly got.
Winter in full force on Pen yr Ole Wen
As expected the winds increased and the conditions worsened and the team decided to make a hasty retreat just 100m below the summit. Making a sound mountaineering decision the team were chuffed with the chance to experience what the weather can really throw at them. Tomorrow will be Adele's last day working with the students this year.
Thanks to all the students and staff at Tyn Dwr for a fantastic few weeks work
Posted on 06 Dec 2012 by adele
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