Top Ten Mountaineering Moments... This is a bit a of list to document some of my favourite routes and experiences of my climbing career. Hopefully it will provide you with some inspiration and an insight into my motivation.  
Visite Obligatoire - Aiguille Dibona, French Alps   Curved Ridge - Buachille Etive Mor, Scotland  
Walking in to the Aiguille Dibona Walking along the Summit Ridge of Buachille Etive Mor

What an amazing route! An immaculate 300m spire of perfect granite set in the majestic scenery of the Ecrin Massif. I climbed this route with Jen in 2009 on a perfect September day. We stayed at the lovely Soreiller Hut - which ideally is only a 10 minute walk from the bottom of the route! The only slight on the day was that the hut had run out of cold beer by our return! Highly recommended for those operating comfortably at E1 and looking for a challenge.

 
Strolling along the summit ridge with the sun low in sky and views across the snow blanketed highlands made this a day to remember. We climbed to the top of The Buachille by Curved Ridge - a classic mountaineering expedition - and a great way to summit one of Scotland's most iconic mountains. We had amazing cold, crisp and clear weather and great snow conditions. It was -14 when we got back to the van and hoar frost crystals over an inch long covered the snow, glinting in the setting sun.
 
         
Bluebottle E2 - Gogarth, North Wales   Campanile de Basso - Brenta Dolomites, Italy  
Rory climbing Bluebottle, Gogarth Campanille de Basso, Dolomites
Sometimes there is nothing better than after work cragging, especially in June as its light until eleven! One particularly fine summer evening Jen and I made the drive over to Anglesey and the sea cliff of Gogarth. Bluebottle is found in Wen Zawn and traverses across the top of a natural arch on amazing holds. It also faces north west so catches the evening sun full on. Its such a joy to hang out over the sea, on a steep wall with the warmth of the sun on your back.
I had a fantastic trip to the Dolomites with friends Jamie and Jamie. The dolomites is an area of limestone mountains and towers in the north of Italy. The mountains are not quite as high as those in the main Alps but they certainly make up for it in steepness and technical difficulty. My favourite route was the Campanile de Basso - a massive but slender limestone tower 2800m high. We climbed in warm september sunshine all day and after 18 pitches topped out to fantastic views.
         
Castleton Tower 5.10 - Utah, USA   Crib Goch - Snowdonia, North Wales  
Castleton Tower, Utah Crib Goch in Winter
Standing proud from the desert floor and high above the Colorado river this 300ft tower of sandstone is just crying out to be climbed. So John, Dan and I did just that. The route takes a series of chimneys and cracks up the sunlight face in the photo. The feeling of space and freedom on these desert towers is just amazing, and the exposure seems so much greater than on a mountain. The desert around Moab is a very special place - for more photos see my America Roadtrip Album.
Snowdonia is just amazing and Crib Goch has to be the best mountaineering route in Wales. I never tire of going over Crib Goch, familiarity definitely does not breed contempt! The exposure and views are always exciting as is the sheer improbability of it. The fact that most fit hill walkers who have a head for heights can cross it makes it even more special. My favourite times on it have been in winter with a good covering of snow when it can feel properly alpine!
         
The Bachar Cracker - Joshua Tree, USA   Right Wall E5 - Dinas Cromlech, Snowdonia  
Dan trying hard on the Bachar Cracker Right Wall
It seems strange to include the ascent of a 15ft boulder problem in my mountaineering moments - especially when you can walk up the other side. Bouldering for me is the essence of climbing movement and this problem - a roof crack leading to an awkward top out - really got under my skin. In fact I lost quite a lot of skin on the rough granite during my many attempts! It took me nearly 3 days of effort to crack it and it felt pretty good to finally pull over the top.
Right Wall... what a simple name but hugely evocative for those who aspire to climb this 50m blank wall of rhyolite. This had been my main climbing goal for the past few years
I finally felt like I was up to the challenge so made the grunt up to the Cromlech on Sunday evening. By 6pm the heat had gone out of the day and a gentle breeze was blowing down the pass. As soon as I pulled on to the rock all my anxieties disappeared and I climbed like I only have done before in my dreams... smooth, flowing and uninhibited by fear. It was a very special evening.
         
Pt. Lenana 4985m - Mt Kenya, Africa   Ancient Arts 5.10 - Fisher Towers, Utah, USA  
On the summit of Pt. Lenana, Mt Kenya The amazing summit of Ancient Arts
This seems like a long time ago now! Pt. Lenana is the 3rd highest peak of the Mt. Kenya massif. The trek in to the top hut is worth doing even if you have no aspiration of gaining the summit. The 4 day walk in takes you through tropical forest, bamboo forest, open savannah where you may encounter buffalo, antelope or maybe even a lion, then into high altitude moorland and scrub. Finally you reach a glacier lying a few hundred metes below the summits. I will return someday to climb to the highest peak.
A photo very similar to this inspired a road trip across the South West deserts of the USA. I'm always drawn to summits which have no easy ways up and have a well defined peak. Ancient arts certainly fits this genre! The feature in the photo sits on top of a 200ft vertical tower which rises straight out of the desert floor. Getting to the top is slightly easy than in looks but balancing on top is tricky - there is only just enough space for 2 feet! The ascent is made all the more exciting by the slightly soft rock!
         
Rory Shaw / 07882756018 / rory@snowdoniamountaineering.com / Site map