Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Needs must... day 1 of my winter

Having worked the weekend and missed the better weather and conditions I searched in vain for someone willing to go out in todays forecast. Oh well... what to do... close to home, 2 yes rather than one, a bit of a leg workout, will work in the conditions...
I went to the west face of Aonach Mor to climb Ruth. This Grade II was, I think first put up by my friend Simon Powell and is one of the first ribs you come to as you head south up the Allt Daim. Its escapable but also variable and you can wander across it taking in a series of steep wee steps- broken limb territory if you fall off soloing and it comes with a health warning. There are a lot of loose blocks. SO you can follow it at anywhere from I-III.
I took my bike up from Nevis Range to the top of the road in the Allt Daim and waded through the bog and heather towards the route, startled to see a Bearberry still in fruit in November at over 500m. I hit wet slush at 700m and deeper snow at 800, rime at 1000m. I kept clear of anything needing me to pull on turf as I don't reckon it would have been at all frozen but there were plenty of rocky hooks of varying levels of security to be found. You top out at 1100m, 150m above the top of the Quad Chair and the spindrift was doing a good job of exfoliating my face at that altitude. A damp plod back to the bike and a muddy blast down to Torlundy saw an end to my day.
Milder weather due but I'm flat out travelling and working in walls until the 9th- fingers crossed for more cold by then!
I was using my new Snow Shepherd 'Black Sheep' work gloves today. Worn with a skinny liner these went on and off well- no lining coming out of the fingers and dry warm hands. They are short in the wrist though so wrist gaiters or a thermal/top with thumb loops is a good idea.
 To the hills!
 Bearberry berry at the end of November?
 First rib
 2 good hooks- the next 2 need a little more care!
 First steep bit
 Rime time!
 Right foot
 Left foot
 New gloves
High point today at 1100m

Sunday, 22 November 2015


This weekend I was at Glasgow Climbing Centre running a CWA Training. I had Iain to help me with 9 students as we worked through the syllabus (and I tried not to think too hard about the early season winter conditions and the sunshine outside) at GCC and TCA Glasgow. thanks to all 9 candidates for their enthusiasm and for sharing their experience.
Different belay devices and perfect belaying
Talking about peer belayin
 That's one way to get them all involved!
Group warmups
Thinking about bouldering

A new knot
Got it!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

2 days 2 walls

Yesterday I was working for NICAS moderating the provision of the Award at Gordonstoun School. I observed 2 sessions at a high standard with novice students run in their own climbing wall.
 Variety in warmups
 Do you pendule?
 Its a good wee wall
 These girls can
 Racking up the climbs
Match the halves of the statements
Today I was delivering rather than observing as Scott and I took a group of WHC students to the Glenmore Lodge wall. The team were all keen for some movement skills and we passed on some drills to use in their warmups before I took a pair to the bolts to answer some rope work questions.
 Ready to go
 The wall
 Hannah bridging
A little ropework
And for those interested in how close we are to proper winter conditions....

Monday, 16 November 2015

Fundamentals of Climbing 2 at GCC

A second day at GCC for me with the MCofS FUNdamentals of Climbing 2 yesterday. Lots of learning, plenty of sharing and much dodging around in a BUSY wall.
 Angles, features and techniques

 What happens when we layback?
 Following the centre of mass in a chimney
 Toe hooks
 To infinity and beyond!
 Climb like a robot??
 Mirror me
 Flagging on the wall

Saturday, 14 November 2015

FUNdamentals Of Climbing 1

Today I was running an MCofS Fundamentals of Climbing 1 at Glasgow Climbing Centre. We had a good mix of coaches from former competitive climbers, University Lecturers, School Teachers and adult club members all looking to gain a better understanding of climbing movement and how to pass it on to others.
 What are the fundamentals of climbing anyway?
 Warming up like a monkey?
 Or, a kangaroo?
 Precision? Accuracy?
 Quiet feet with consequences!
 Name that hold
 A boulder problem with named holds
 Playing the piano
 With bells on
Likes and dislike about the day