The purpose of this blog is to report on winter climbing conditions in Snowdonia, to keep you lot who like nothing better than climbing ice, snow, frozen turf etc in ridiculously low temps informed!! As well as it being a record of some of my own winter climbing adventures. Feel free to email me any of your own conditions reports & photos you have & I will post them here. The more info on winter conditions the better! email:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Last post ever

I'm afraid to say that I will not be posting on this blog anymore. Its done.
Thank you for all the conditions reports lots of you have emailed & texted me over the last 4 years or so.
Have fun with all your winter & summer climbing, I know I intend to.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Gribin (Snowdon one!) and Lliwedd

I was out with my good friend Mike today on the Gribin spur (Snowdon) and Lliwedd. The snow line was from around the 700m level, but it was all pretty grim! Wet snow, sopping turf and warm conditions - NASTY! However we had a great fun time in the mountains as always.
No sign of winter climbing conditions yet/still!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Crib Lem

So winter seems very reluctant to show itself here in Wales so far, which is a real shame.
I have been out up Crib Lem, the grade 1 scramble above Cwm Llafar on the 'backside' of Carnedd Daffyd. The snow line starts thinly at approx 700m, but I'm afraid it is of the soft & wet variety on top of sodden turf so winter routes are not an option I'm afraid.

Photo of Black Ladders area (and Holly Collie enjoying the scrambling)

Monday, 25 November 2013

Sunday on The Glyders

I was out Sunday on The Glyders for the morning. Headed up the Gribin Ridge which provided some snowy/icy entertainmnt, but not a lot. Just enough for it to feel a bit like winter but not really enough for an axe or crampons. The Glyder plateau itself was completely white and frozen so I thought I would have a look at dropping down Easy Gully at the head of Cwm Cneifion and doing Hidden Gully, the short but sweet grade II (or is it I/II I can't remember?) gully to the left of Clogwyn Du. But there wasn't much snow on Easy Gully and the ground was soft so I popped around the corner to peek into the top of Hidden Gully where it was the same story. More snow but unconsolidated on top of very soft ground. I must admit I was still tempted to do it anyway in a spirit of 'well I'm here anyway so might as well' but I was a good winter bunny and acted in a responsible and ethical manner and refrained. Plus it would have been utter crap!
I was going to upload some pics but can't really be bothered as the temps are due to rise over the next few days so its all irrelevant. The one pic is top of the Gribin.
A couple of different lots of friends were out sat and sun in Cwm Lloer and upper Cwm Glas areas in the vain hope of finding something worth plodding up, but I gather it was the same story.
What we really need after this thaw is a good spell of freezing cold weather to get the ground good and hard before any snows arrive. We will see.....

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hello again

So here we are again. The beginning of Welsh winter! I am personally very excited to be back after suffering some significant health problems this last 12 to 18 months.
Once again this winter I will posting up to date ground conditions, whats 'in' (theoretically!) and whats not. Well wherever the info is available of course. And that's where you lot come in, and I know there are a lot of you out there, a damn site more than I would ever have expected to be reading this! I live 60 miles away from the Snowdonia mountains so cannot be there as much as I would like, so what we need is all you lot who read this blog to email me at with your own conditions reports with or without photos, just email me your own conditions reports and I PROMISE to include them on this blog straight away. This will assist you, me and everyone to make sensible and safe decisions what to climb and what not to climb.

Sorted! So now onto the conditions out there now. I went out on Wednesday with the intention of an early winter crossing of Crib Goch but the forecasted 70mph put me off, and instead I went winter walking in the Carneddau. Snow level then was around the 800m mark, but it was only superficial. Apart from on the summit plateaus the ground is not (sorry was not on Wed) frozen. I had a poke around the top of the easy gully lines which come up from Cwm Lloer (Broad Gully, Hourglass Gully etc) below Pen yr Ole Wen and again it looked pretty, but soggy turf covered in 2 inches of wet snow is not something to get excited about. It was forecast to snow more on Wed but when I left Ogwen at 3.45pm it had not arrived.
I'm sure that the likes of Crib Goch would be fun and maybe somewhat icy across the ridge right now, but hardly what you would call winter conditions, but I guess if you are desperate to kick start your winter it would be better than nothing.
As for me I will be heading back down again early on Sunday morning, not because I expect winter to have suddenly arrived, but because I love them there mountains whatever the weather!

And don't forget as the winter season progresses, share your findings!!

Here's to a severe winter!


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Sorry for the blog absence

Many apologies for my lack of blogging these last few weeks despite there having at times been some decent conditions out there.
I haven't been too well these last few months and am at present waiting on an operation in Liverpool's world renowned Heart & Chest Hospital. Until that it done & dusted I won't be out climbing, and I'm afraid I won't be blogging either.
So unless we have some unexpected late winter conditions in late March or April, this is the last you will hear of me until next winter, when I am planning on being very very very active to make up for lost time!!

All the best to everyone. Have fun and take care out there  :-)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Various reports....

I've had all sorts of information through via email & facebook this last couple of days. There has been a lot of climbing going on, and here are a few reports:


My new friend Stephen Davo Davies has been out this week. He sent me the following info and pics about yesterday's fun on the ice:

 'Me and James Williams did the ramp yesterday morning which was in good Nik & wasn't smashed to bits to be honest, it was quite thick all the way to top "could av got a 130mm ice screw in everywhere!" There were places that were thin ie.. On raised rock areas that hat been tried for an axe hold so thee must be some blunted axes about lol. We started Devil's pasture @ 3pm with James Williams leading up & me 2nding I found it quite easy, & lots of hard thick ice all the way up to bottom of chimney, there were also visible signs all the way up of thinner ice being broken to reveal rock face but where do you draw the line on distinguishing brittle thin ice to being ready! Only the tapping of the ice will determine that outcome! There was some pockets of frozen turf all the way up Pasture but try & keep away from those to be honest! There were lots of previous axe placements which were good for both axes & crampons, saved smashing more holes!! Got to below chimney then it was a 10 meter mixed rock/ice up through chimney then a plod through thick snow to top out & bag up the ropes! On the way back down there was 2lads venturing up the Pasture & a couple half way up the Appendix via head torch. Got back to car @ 5.30pm Brilliant day & not to busy to be honest. I think the meaning of in or not depends on the ethics behind your climb when you get on the route, if ya can follow a previous lead line of formation the chances of damage are minimal. The group above us doing the Pasture before James started his lead, there was all sizes of ice coming down from 10 penny size bits to saucer sizes, don't know what the hell were doing, considering it was my 3rd ever ice climb, I didn't knock anything off!!! Just depends I suppose! Good luck if anyone's out today.'


Congratulations to Misha who along with his partner climbed this winter's first ascent of the Devil's Appendix on wednesday, apparently a life long dream of his! 


My friend Carl Davies has been out 3 or 4 days consecutively this week and has climbed on The Black Ladders, Clogwyn Ddu and on Idwal Ice. He'll be emailing me later with reports and pictures. Thanks Carl ;-)


Although its way out of the reach of most of us, a new route (Wales' hardest?) Lateo X 10 was completed last Tuesday by Pete Harrison and Tom Livingstone on Clogwyn Ddu. Then had its second ascent just 5 days later by Dave Garry and Tom Livingstone. Read all about it on Dave Garry's blog and the V12 blog

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Sargeant's Gully & Craig Y Rhaeadr - Today

So yes I am back with this blog. Sorry I haven't been posting for a while, kind of lost my mojo.
As some of you know 2012 was not a great year for me with health problems, which I am still suffering with although I am now getting toward the top of Liverpool Chest & Heart Hospital's waiting list for the op I need which is good news.

ANYWAY, today I went for a look at Sargeant's Gully, in what I call lower Cwm Glas but I think is officially named Cyrn Las. To say it was somewhat of a wade fest would be putting it mildly! Great exercise getting up there but not a lot of fun.
Unfortunately Sargeant's Gully is in what I can only describe as crap condition, with melting ice, water flowing underneath and general unclimbable conditions. Ah well, you have to try. So I went and had a butchers at Craig Y Rhaeadr up close. There is loads of fat ice on the crag (see pics below) but again it was melting. Give it a smack with your axe and it splits and has that hollow scary sound!
I had seen several interesting looking ice formations on the crags below Craig Y Rhaeadr which I went to investigate, but yet again ALL of them were in a right sad state.
So unfortunately today crampons were left in the sack and ice axes unused.

(You may need to click on the pics to see them properly)

Pyramid Gully, Black Ladders - yesterday (tues)

Email from Carl last night:

Hi Andy,
 Into Ladders today to do first couple of pitches of Pyramid gully and then onto Pyramid Arete. Good ice/snow ice on first two pitches, with a very 'cruxy' crux. The ice on the crux is not fat but there is enough there and no doubt it will build over next couple days. Second pitch had great ice. Moved out onto the arete to avoid a wade through deep unconsolidated snow. All rock had a heavy coat of rime and snow and proper turf was good but as usual lighter vegetation was no frozen. The arete gave plenty of interesting steps and felt very alpine along the last top section. Good protection and belays throughout route. Warthogs were pretty useful today. Saw another team on a route inbetween Central and Western Gully. A cool day, rounded off with fish and chips in Caernarfon and a trip to Beacon climbing wall, to listen to a talk by Nick Bullock that was very entertaining.
 Cheers, Carl.

Blog back tonight

This blog will be back on tonight with reports from today and yesterday.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Clogwyn y Garnedd 13th Dec - By Carl Davies

Hey Andy,

 I know its probably largely academic now considering what has happened today, but you maybe interested in what Dave and I did yesterday. I'm saying this though, but on a trip from Betws just now there was fresh snow down to about 600 metres so maybe freezing level was a little lower than anticipated for today. Anyway we went up to Clogwyn Y Garnedd via the Pyg in what was a truely stella day weatherwise. We decided to start off with Snakebite (III,3), I think in the end we did a mixture of Snakebite and Snakebite Direct. Neve was great, but climbing was delicate in places, a little sugary, but you could avoid vegetation with careful climbing. Topped out by 1300 so plenty of time for another route after a quick lunch. Downclimbed a solid End Gully and decided on Cave Gully (III,4) for our 2nd route. The crux below the cave was pretty delicate with snow ice and ice but again with careful climbing it was great fun. Solid neve both below and above the crux. A tricky exit, from the cave, onto some ice (which may have even taken a screw!), provided added interest. Worth noting there are few runners below the crux but very few above the cave (two that I found/used). There were plenty of folk out but never too crowded as they were spread about the face. We saw teams on the Trinities, Ladies and Cave, other stuff was probably done too. Maybe some of it will survive until the next cold spell. Couple pics, 1) Cave Gully, 2) Trinities - End Gully 3) Dave at top of Snakebite

Cheers, Carl.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Cwm Lloer tues 11th by Steve Fry

Hi Andy,

A quick report on Cwm Lloer from yesterday. A 'bluebird' day if ever i've seen one, cloudless skies, not a breath of wind, and temperatures below freezing all day! Got into Cwm Lloer at 9am where there is good snow cover from 700m upwards, so headed to Broad Gully to start. Super neve all the way allowing you to front point and dagger all your way up if you wanted to avoid the bucket steps that are also in situ. Having done Broad I cam down the Headwall which is definitely skiable at the moment for the brave, and went into Y Gully Right-Hand. Again the neve was bomber but I have to say this route looks better from the bottom than it actually is! Ended the day doing Y Gully Left-Hand which proved to be a significantly more testing route. The first step had running water and was incomplete but was avoidable using the rib on the right before entering back into the gully. To avoid the second step I took a rightward trending shallow gully which culminated in a steep chimney. As the gully steepened the snow became less reliable and more sugary making for a couple of spicy moves in the chimney to reach the top. A great climb but probably III, 3 in current condition. Apart from the gullies nothing else in the Cwm was in condition with no riming on the cliffs, and very little ice forming.

 A few pics from the day attached.

Video of Banana Gully by James Kelly

James Kelly was out in the Glyders today on Banana Gully. He told me it was 'Big steps all the way, very solid and secure' . He posted the below vid too:

Nice one mate!

Also some great pics of Snowdon yesterday HERE

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Trinity Gullies by Andy Barker

Trinities ok today Andy. Did great gully which is probably in the worst nic of all the gullies. Turf still needs some more substance but LH central and RH all have plenty snow. Still sugar underneath a crust but supports more than bodyweight now.. freezing again as we left the summit at 1500.