Storm Ophelia made quite an impact across the west coast of the the British Isles on 17 October and the BMC owned crags at Tremadog didn't escape unscathed. Damage to routes, trees uprooted and even some rockfalls were her legacy.
Craig Bwlch y Moch at Tremadog is one of several crags in England and Wales that is owned and managed by the BMC on behalf of all climbers. Being a roadside crag with easy access and a wide range of top quality routes, it attracts thousands of climbers each year. Located close to the seaside town of Porthmadog, essentially at sea-level (in the early 19th century, before a major land reclaimation scheme to drain the Glaslyn Estuary, the crag was actually a tidal sea-cliff!) and located outside of the Snowdonia rainfall zone, it's usually blessed with better weather than the main mountain crags, making it one of the most popular climbing crags in Wales.
However on the afternoon of 17 October, Storm Ophelia made landfall and some routes and access paths have been damaged. The full extent of the damage is not known but one of the impacts of the storm, with winds of 90mph recorded nearby, was to cause mature trees (which were still in full leaf) to sway and shake violently, affecting and loosening the blocks and ledges on which they are rooted.
So a warning to all climbers visiting Tremadog - many routes and in particular those that rely on trees for belays or those with large mature trees growing on ledges or at the cliff top may be affected by loose rocks.
Areas known to be affected:
A couple of large mature trees have fallen near the approach path to Vector Buttress but these do not appear to affect the approach path but more loose branches may fall here.
A significant rockfall has occured (more then 50 tons) between the first pitches of Belshazzar and Rienetta, affecting the path below these routes. The first pitches of Belshazzar, Earthsea and Re-Entry are now in a perilous state with further large blocks likley to fall - see photos, best avoided!
The tree on the shared stance of Meshach/Grim Wall seems to have been given a rather violent shaking and there is a possibility of loosened rock and boulders here.
Some large fresh blocks of about a ton in size have appeared below the arete between the routes Rio and Chwys - the exact source is not known so again there could be further rock-falls here.
In addition there are numerous loose and broken tree branches on or above all the approach and descent paths.
Similar damage is likely on the other Tremadog cliffs, Craig y Castell, Craig Pant Ifan and Craig y Gesail, all of which have mature trees growing on ledges and cliff edges but these have not yet been inspected.
Rock out this summer!
Planning a climbing trip to Fontainebleau? Kalymnos? The Dolomites? Why not save some hassle and grab a bargain this summer: get 7-day rock climbing insurance from just year-round European climbing insurance from just £37*.
We've been insuring climbers like you for over 30 years. That's why all of our policies come with:
24-hour emergency assistance helpline
£10 million emergency medical cover
£100,000 search, rescue and recovery cover
£10,000 personal accident cover
£5,000 cancellation cover
£2,500 baggage cover
No age loading until you're 70
WATCH: BMC Insurance: Get out there
*Policy details: £37 for 7-day single trip Rock policy in Europe up to age 69.
This article has been read
Click on the tags to explore more