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BMC & Plas y Brenin International Meet

A visiting climber enjoying the delights of German Schoolgirls (E2 5c) in the Dinorwig Slate quarry, Llanberis. (Photo: Alex Messenger)

Once again the Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre was invaded by the BMC in early May for the International Meet. Nearly 40 foreign climbers from around the world flew, drove, or hitched their way to North Wales for a week of Welsh action. Their hosts for the week were a similar number of keen UK climbers, just waiting to introduce these sport climbers and mountaineers to the delights of UK trad.

The aims of the International Meet are varied; to foster international relations, to promote the values and ethics of UK climbing, and even simply to introduce the BMC to some of the Britain’s younger activists.

International Federations were encouraged to send strong climbers over, with the idea to team them up with some of the best in the UK for some scary days out and evening seminars discussing the future of top end climbing, and where worldwide climbing ethics are heading. However, as always, these events are not just about the harder grades, and a complete spectrum of guests turned up, from Nepali VD leaders, to Latvian boulderers, to 8b onsight Poles and Big Walling Russians.

The hosts were equally varied. Plas y Brenin instructors, slightly nervous VS leaders, North Wales sea cliff devotees such as Pat Littlejohn and Will Perrin, grit fans like James Pearson and Jordan Buys, and older hands like Leo Houlding, Ben Heason, and Andy Cave. With a mixed team like this, the guests were spoilt for choice – what would you like to do today sir? Multi-pitch VS at Tremadog, or Gogarth E6?

Each day packed minibuses headed out to Gogarth, the Pass, the Slate, and Tremadog, together with some more esoteric venues like Crafnant, the Moelwyns, and even Craig Doris for a spot of new routing courtesy of Pat Littlejohn. Although no headline grabbing ascents materialised, classics of all grades got cruised time and time again.

Once again it turned out to be a fantastic week for all involved, with one Swede even describing it as “one of the best weeks of my life”, and Pat Littlejohn declaring it “one of the best things the BMC does.” But all good things come to an end, and the meet finished on a high with the DMM party, featuring local DJ’s, raffle prizes, and a packed bar.

Thanks again to all those who volunteered to host, all the staff at Plas y Brenin, and anyone else that helped out during the week. Look out for the winter meet in 2005, and the next summer meet in 2006. The meets are open to all climbers, regardless of grade, and on this meet there was even a shortage of lower and middle grade hosts. Unlike previous meets, there is now a small charge for the event, but it’s still excellent value.

BMC Summit magazine editor and ace photographer, Alex Messenger captured many of the highlights of a manic week of North Wales climbing and bouldering action.

Follow the link below to Alex’s site and feast your eyes on a gallery of fantastic images. Also check out the North Wales section for a further brace of cracking bouldering shots.

Snowfire - hot and cold pictures

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