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UK in November or December


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neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20

I may be traveling to London in November or December for business.  After business is done I may have an opportunity to parlay the trip into a few extra days for leisure.  I was hoping to incorporate a couple of days of climbing.  I have never been to the UK but have read about and researched about a lot of the climbing in The Peak, The Lake, Snowdonia, and Scotland.  From what I gather both the peak and snowdon would be about a 5 hour drive from London.  Is that right?  If I can get enough time off...I'd be willing to drive 10 hours north to Scotland...but I'd like to know what closer options are.

I am a US climber - lead 5.6, follow 5.8 trad, follow WI3+/WI4 ice.  What do you think the best options for that time of year would be to get a couple of days in?  I am willing to hire a local guide as well as I have never been to the area and would want to maximize the efficiency and experience.

Thoughts or ideas?

duncan... · · London, UK · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 25

UK weather is highly variable but, on average, November and December are probably the two worst months of the year! The most likely weather will be cold for rock climbing (but not cold enough for ice/mixed climbing) and damp (or actually raining). Good rock or ice conditions can exist but will be here one day and gone the next. The rare good days are hard to predict more than a couple of days ahead. Get familiar with the Met Office website. To add insult to injury, daylight is short, especially in Scotland.

Scotland: you might get lucky with good mixed climbing conditions in December and it is wonderful when this happens. Drive is ~10 hours from London.

The Peak: there will be the occasional cold, clear and crisp day when the gritstone is like velcro. Bouldering especially is a joy. Drive is ~3 hours.

North Wales: unlikely to offer you much at your grades in those months. Drive is ~5 hours.

Dorset: has a low international profile but, at your grades, probably offers the most realistic chance of climbing in those months. The climate is notably milder and sunnier than The Peak or North Wales. Choose between OK sport climbing (Portland) or short but memorable sea cliff trad. (Swanage). A local guide is recommended for the trad. as it can be pretty adventurous and knowing where to abseil in to your route is critical to get right. Drive is ~3 hours.

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
duncan... wrote: UK weather is highly variable but, on average, November and December are probably the two worst months of the year! The most likely weather will be cold for rock climbing (but not cold enough for ice/mixed climbing) and damp (or actually raining). Good rock or ice conditions can exist but will be here one day and gone the next. The rare good days are hard to predict more than a couple of days ahead. Get familiar with the Met Office website. To add insult to injury, daylight is short, especially in Scotland.

Scotland: you might get lucky with good mixed climbing conditions in December and it is wonderful when this happens. Drive is ~10 hours from London.

The Peak: there will be the occasional cold, clear and crisp day when the gritstone is like velcro. Bouldering especially is a joy. Drive is ~3 hours.

North Wales: unlikely to offer you much at your grades in those months. Drive is ~5 hours.

Dorset: has a low international profile but, at your grades, probably offers the most realistic chance of climbing in those months. The climate is notably milder and sunnier than The Peak or North Wales. Choose between OK sport climbing (Portland) or short but memorable sea cliff trad. (Swanage). A local guide is recommended for the trad. as it can be pretty adventurous and knowing where to abseil in to your route is critical to get right. Drive is ~3 hours.

thanks for your info - much appreciated - i kind of suspected this.  let me ask this...for winter climbing in north wales and scotland what is the best time?  february?  march?  as far as the peak and north wales rock climbing, when is the best time?  may-oct?  i may have latitude on my trip to plan a bit around the climbing season...which would be nice.

Steve Sangdahl · · eldo sprngs,co · Joined Mar 2002 · Points: 735

Spain , France, Italy, and Greece are just short flights from old blighty ! 

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Steve Sangdahl wrote: Spain , France, Italy, and Greece are just short flights from old blighty ! 

this...is definitely an option - i am investigating Span now :)

duncan... · · London, UK · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 25
neils wrote:

thanks for your info - much appreciated - i kind of suspected this.  let me ask this...for winter climbing in north wales and scotland what is the best time?  february?  march?  as far as the peak and north wales rock climbing, when is the best time?  may-oct?  i may have latitude on my trip to plan a bit around the climbing season...which would be nice.

That's about right. Mid-May to July best for rockclimbing, February for winter. Highly variable from year to year.

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
duncan... wrote:

That's about right. Mid-May to July best for rockclimbing, February for winter. Highly variable from year to year.

thank you - if i go in dec/jan i am going to fly to spain i think - its so cheap to fly there - i'll get on some cool sport for a few days - AND this gives me an excuse to get back to the UK at a better climbing time.  I am a rock climbing history guy - I read Jerry Moffatt and Ron Fawcett's books, watched hard grit, and a bunch of Dave MacLeod winter videos - I have to go :)  so little time, so much climbing to do.  i'd love to get on a whillans or joe brown classic.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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