One final unpack and repack and I was off to Bavaria to see out my winter season on skis. The winter season had been an incredible one up to now, from Canada to Ireland to the Alps to Scotland and now back to the Alps. I was looking forward to getting some ski time in but really I was looking forward to getting back in two weeks time to go rock climbing!
Fortunately the ski season was holding out well and I had a great 10 days teaching skiing to beginners and getting lots of mileage in myself. Now I will happily confess skiing is not my strongest skill set at present however the challenge of applying coaching techniques and skills was fascinating (and hard work) and I was amazed that by the end of the ten days I had taught four students how to reasonably competently ski around a hill!
Back from skiing it was straight into a few weeks work and staff training and so far the best weather of the Spring! On a calm, blue sky day a few of us went for a paddle from Porthdafarch to Holyhead, i.e. we went for a wee look at Gogarth from the sea. I had always wanted to do this journey but not being a paddler (in the slightest!) the stars had never aligned until now. Paddling up to the bottom of Main Cliff and through the arch in Wen Zawn gives a completely different perspective of these fantastic cliffs. I would highly recommend it to any climber given the opportunity!
The following day I was back at Gogarth to atone for my boating transgression to go for a journey along the wild, atmospheric ‘Trunk Line’ A Mick Fowler traverse of the right hand side of Main Cliff. Wild and pumpy climbing!
The end of April brought the start of two weeks of BMG summer training. Dave and myself kicked it off with a a couple of routes in Cathedral Quarry…a very impressive slate hole in the ground beside Little Langdale in the Lake District where we were to be based for the first week. We spent the week looking in depth at how to move efficiently, safely and quickly over rock climbing and scrambling terrain. Despite the winter being determined to return with snow low down on the fells it was a great week exploring the Lakes and getting invaluable input and feedback.
The second week was based out of Plas Y Brenin with the focus being on coaching and delivery of our rock climbing and short roping skills in a bigger context…i.e the alps! Using observation and analysis, questioning and teaching models we were introduced in depth how to get the maximum amount of information out of people to give them the best experience plus a whole load more!
The following week was the return of the BMC International Meet to the Pass and as with last time so did the windy and wet weather and numerous references to the Pass being akin to Mordor! However, as usual, North Wales delivers and numerous visits to the coast and one fine day in the Pass allowed the international visitors to sample the best of what we have to offer in North Wales with everyone fully embracing the trad style! I think it goes to show just how proud we are of our trad ethics and wee cliffs in this country that people will willing give up a week of their time to show others around. Or maybe its just a great opportunity to go and climb a lot of classic routes ourselves one more time!
The rest of the time has been a mix of climbing and climbing work trying to stay warm on breezy crags in the Pass or heading for the sun at the Orme. Time for summer to arrive now though!