Sunday, 25 June 2017

Soggy and sunny on Skye.

I spent the weekend working with Craig and Gordon as part of a Mountaineering Scotland course aimed at teaching mountaineering skills. The weather on saturday was dreich and cold but we headed into Coire Lagan. The guys have a little rope work experience and were keen to do some more. We looked at improving their movement and confidence on slabby ground before doing some rope work on and around the lower part of Collie's Route before fleeing the heavy rain. Another of the MS parties assisted a father an daughter pair down of the hill in poor weather. Today with a slightly more mixed forecast we headed up in to Coire an Dorus. The lads used their movement and rope work skills to climb up and out of the the narrow 'Doorway' and to the summit of Sgurr a Mhadaidh. From here we practised some careful route finding to work our way down the Western Face Route in poor visibility. A day of occasional views and decreasing showers. Well done to both the guys for pushing their comfort zones in some poor weather. More pictures and captions on Facebook:

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Today on the Aonach Eagach

After a busy few days revalidating my First Aid Qualification with BASP at Nevis Range (excellent course as ever- highly practical- well taught and ever interesting) and running both CWA and Foundation Coach Assessments (well done to Laken and Rosalind on the former and Ian and Ella on the latter) today it was back to the mountains.
 Laken improvising to talk about movement
 Jeff on cleaning wounds
 Ian keeping the team engaged
Ella getting them active
Today I was out with Mike, Mark and Alan working for Steven Fallon Mountain Guiding on the Aonach Eagach with Jonty along to gain experience towards his MIA Assessment. Although the general forecasts mentioned a chance of thunder the Met Office's specific forecast was more optimistic for our intended peaks. It turned out to be even nicer than expected. We had a hot and sweaty accent of the east end and made good time over the first Munro of the day and the pinnacles. At the low point of the ridge and after all the scrambling Mike was feeling quite off colour so he opted to descend north to the Kinlochleven Road- at one of the few easy escapes from the ridge- with Jonty. The rest of us summited the second Munro and headed South back to recover the cars before picking the others up. We had a little sun, a little mist and a few spots of rain/light showers- and mostly dry rock! It was only on the return to Fort William that the heavens opened and we heard a little thunder.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Costa Del Moray

For our last day out for a while we decided to follow the weather again and give Lisa a little more rock climbing mileage at the ever sunny Cummingston. We did a little bouldering talking about techniques suitable for the often steep sandstone at this crag and then climbed half a dozen pitches up to VS and abseiled down from various places. Lisa got a chance to review her own gear placement and belay building and to push herself on the steep and burly Stegasaurus. Captions at:

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Scaling the Tenements- Cairngorm Rock

Its somehow fitting given that I first met Lisa a long time ago in Glasgow that we ended up doing a route called the Tenements today. With a poor west coast forecast and the hankering for mountain rock we journeyed east with an open mind. Strong winds and spots of rain at .1141 made us think that a steep 'quick drying' route would be good so we left 1 bag at the top of Stag Rocks and slithered down Coire Raibert before traversing in to the bottom of the route. Pitch one sets the seen with grippy rock but an un-nerving number of blocks that appear held in place by- well by not a lot. With recent rockfall accidents on the other side of the hill in mind I was being delicate and purposeful today! Pitch 2 is the peach... an 'awkward' pull out of a recess (spoiler alert: hidden jug if you can reach it!) followed by a delicate rising traverse on narrow footholds before levitating up a series of rough dishes and pockets on the wall above with exactly the right amount of gear (still felt a little like jenga though). After a short heather break there is a tall open groove with better gear, more solid rock and some excellent bridging before a more meandering 4th pitch and a heather ramp to finish. 5 pitches on windy showery fun in an awesome setting. Great to get out on granite again- its been too long! Captions at: