I was working for High Mountain Guides this weekend with Tom, helping him prepare for his forthcoming trip to attempt the Matterhorn - perhaps one of the World's most iconic peaks. I have been fortunate enough to stand on it's summit twice and although the climbing on the Hornli Ridge is never that hard, there is a lot of it and you need to climb down it too. Climbing any route in the Alps requires fitness and efficiency - the routes are long so you can't afford to hang about. The preparation starts here in the UK - hillwalking to get fit, scrambling and climbing in your mountain boots and Scottish winter to hone your snow and ice skills.
The goal for the weekend was to get out and climb some grade 3 scrambles and lower grade rock climbs, with the emphasis on covering a lot of ground efficiently.
We kicked off on Little Tryfan scramble. Tom's first time climbing in big boots so we spent some time looking at footwork and how effective a good pair of stiff mountain boots actually are for climbing. We then made our way up Heather Terrace and onto Nor Nor Buttress, down Notch Gully and back up Notch Arete, back down to Heather Terrace via Little Gully and up Pinnacle Rib Route to Tryfan' s summit. Content with that we headed down via the North Ridge. We'd practiced a lot of climbing up, down, lowering, how to shorten the rope with coils, moving together and generally how to get about the mountain efficiently. A brilliant day with the sun on our backs.
Sunday Tom was ready to take on something a bit harder so we made an early start and were first at Idwal Slabs for an ascent of Hope, the Classic Rock V Diff climb. Climbing again in boots. From here we again looked at lowering on the descent route and headed over to Sub Cneifion Rib, another excellent V Diff. The obvious route after that is Cneifion Arete which we climbed mostly by moving together with the rope between us, placing gear as we went.
With enough time left we finished with a quick blast up Arete and Slab on Bochlwyd Buttress, a nice 2 pitch Diff climb. Another top day with 10 named scrambles or climbs in the bag!
Nor Nor Buttress
Sub Cneifion Rib
Pinnacle Rib Route
Nor Nor Buttress
Arete and Slab