Live winter climbing conditions direct from Cwm Idwal and Clogwyn Du

Posted by Sarah Stirling on 23/11/2015

Fat ice or thin pickings? Before you travel, find out if winter routes are in condition in Wales via the groundbreaking live temperature and conditions information service here on the BMC website.

Of course we've got your cold climbing ambitions at heart, but the service is two-fold. The cliffs in these areas offer some of the best and most accessible pure ice and mixed climbing in Wales but are also the very same place where some of the UK’s rarest and most fragile mountain and alpine vegetation grows.

British arctic-alpine plants like the Snowdon Lily are under pressure – mainly from overgrazing, but also from collecting in the past, and climate change in the present – and these cliffs are their very last refuges. There is nowhere else to preserve these plants!

The brainwave is if climbers check conditions before travelling they won’t be tempted to climb routes that aren't in condition, so there won’t need to be any formal restrictions to protect the plants.

What’s more, many of the newer and hardest routes rely on well-frozen turf, which is easily damaged if not fully frozen, so other climbers will thank you for checking the live information service, too!

“I've been out to see how accurate it is (I can look out of my window and see what conditions are like at Ogwen!) It seems to be very accurate – if the turf is 0 or below on the monitor then it should be frozen at and above that altitude. I think it's a great resource to be used alongside a weather forecast.”  Calum Muskett, BMC ambassador

CHECK NOW: live winter conditions in Cwm Idwal

Our newest live winter conditions are now available from Great End crag in the Lake District. Check from your couch now!

CHECK NOW: live winter conditions in the Lakes

HELP: prevent climbing restrictions being imposed

Cwm Idwal was the first National Nature Reserve designated in Wales, way back in 1954, partly because of the rare plants on its cliffs. Clogwyn Du is one of the first Welsh crags to come into condition, and is also home to some of the most popular and hardest mixed routes. However, some routes climb through some extremely fragile plant habitats.

Due to their rarity, conservation bodies are legally obliged to assess and monitor the condition of these plants, together with all activities that have the potential to cause damage. If damage is found, then control and restrictions may result.

Each summer the cliffs are assessed to find out whether there has been any damage to rare plants. So far no damage has been noted, so if winter climbers can maintain a low profile at these sites in terms of evidence of passing and continue to minimise their impact on the plants, then hopefully there shouldn't be any significant problems.

Good condition:

  • Well-frozen turf
  • Good build-up of ice
  • And/or a thick snow covering

HELP: log conditions to improve accuracy

If you visit Cwm Idwal please post the actual conditions found (and the time/date) on the comments section. This will help us to modify or improve the equipment in the future if necessary.

If successful, this project could also be used at other cliffs with similarly sensitive flora elsewhere in Snowdonia and the rest of the UK.

The Cwm Idwal Winter Climbing Information Project is funded by the BMC’s Access & Conservation Trust and Natural Resources Wales, with help from the National Trust and Snowdonia National Park.

If successful, this project could also be used at other cliffs with similarly sensitive flora elsewhere in Snowdonia and the rest of the UK.

DOWNLOAD: the free North Wales White Guide

DOWNLOAD: the free Lake District White Guide

 

WATCH: Winter Climbing, Conditions Apply on BMC TV:


The Access and Conservation Trust

The BMC's charity  the BMC Access & Conservation Trust  promotes sustainable access to cliffs, mountains and open countryside by facilitating education and conservation projects across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

By educating climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to enjoy outdoor recreation while minimising their impact on the landscape, conserving the UK’s upland resources, and campaigning for improved access rights, ACT enables future generations to continue to enjoy outdoor activities and the physical, mental and social benefits they bring to individual lives and society in general.

READ: More about the recent work of ACT

WATCH: the Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign film


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