Saturday, 31 May 2008

Glen Nevis

Paul and David and I went to Glen Nevis today and started on Flying Dutchman before they led Styx Butress Right Hand and then The Gutter in big boots as practise for their mountaineering ambitions. There were a few midges out in the trees but a breeze and strong sunlight dispelled the worst of them. And it was hot, hot, hot! I'm not used to 20+ degrees in the West Highlands but May has been just stunning. We're off to the Buachaille tomorrow!

Friday, 30 May 2008

More NGB courses

I've been away in Glasgow for 4 days running National Governing Body Award courses. On Monday and Tuesday I ran an SPA Assessment at the Quadrocks above Largs and Thursday I ran Climbing Wall Award Training course for 12 people at Glasgow Climbing Centre and Climbzone at Xscape Braehead. This new award sems like it will be quite popular and GCC have asked me to run another course on 3 and 4 July - contact them directly if you are interested. Back out climbing this weekend and long may fine weather continue!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Tower ridge

Tower Ridge gave us a stunning day out yesterday. I took John up and Fiona came along to observe me at work. Campbell took Ben and Kevin along behind us. Despite the awesome weather and the Bank Holiday the North Face of the Ben was almost deserted. Other than us we saw Nick from Alpha Mountaineering out for the day also on Tower Ridge, Mike from Abacus was out on Ledge Route working for Highland Guides . Apart from that I saw party on Raeburns Arete and that was it (really surprising given the number of dry routes to go at on Carn Dearg). The summit on the other hand was crawling with people enjoying the great west coast weather.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Clachaig Gully

Guy and I had an afternoon free so we decided to take advantage of the last couple of weeks' dry weather to ascend this 'classic' route. First climbed in 1938 (attempts dating back to 1894) the gully is graded Severe for dry conditions like those we found. Nowadays you enter the gully below the Great Cave pitch as lower down is both wetter and looser (after a rockfall a few years back) than the upper parts. We swung leads for a few (6?) pitches before switching to moving together and returning to pitching for a last couple of higher steps. Gear was adequate on most pitches but needed digging for under moss and care was required with the odd bit of loose rock. The climbing was mostly dry for us (I only found water running down my sleeve on the Red Chimney) and was quite nice and even delicate rather than thrutchy as you might expect from an old fashioned gully climb. Many of the holds were polished and clean and stood out clearly amongst the moss! A top afternoon finished off as tradition calls for with a cold wet a the Clachaig.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Aonach Dubh

Today I went with Colin to the East face of Aonach Dubh. Its been quite a while since he was out on real rock but his regular use of his local wall meant that he had no problems with Eve's Arete (with its lovely exposed traverse) and Quiver Rib our 2 routes today. It was cloudy after a sunny start but although it threatened to rain it managed to keep dry all day for us. The East face is largely dry just now but there is the odd rattley flake and bits of loose rock around as ever after winter so take care wha you belay on or use as a handhold!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Good weather, good climbing and good friends

Time for a mornings climbing out on Ardnamurchan today. The sun came out as we walked in and we had clear blue skies all day long. Tracey, Kate and Dave climbed Beths Route (V Diff, 5 pitches) whilst Mike and I climbed the excellent Ring of Fire (HVS 5a) and Vulcan (VS 4b,4c) before soling up the last 2 pitches behind the others. I managed to squeeze in a little bouldering before retiring to the beach at Sanna to soak up the sun!

Back to the Ring!

Another weekend trip to Ardnamurchan; this time with my in laws and some good friends. Robin and I climbed Krakatoa with the An Deireadh finish (S 4a, 4b), Crater Comforts (VS 4c,4c), Yir (VS 4c, 4b), Greta Gabro (VS 4c) and Claude (HVS 5a). I climbed Greta for a second time with Mike who had already climbed An Toiseach and Krakatoa with Tracey, Kate and Dave. Robin and Jen (climbing in big boots) also did An Toiseach (V Diff 2 pitches). It was warm and dry if a little cloudy all day. Finally we retreated to the Kilchoan Hotel (who allow cheap camping in the garden) to diminish their Magners stock!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

First Aid and CWA

Today I was on a 2 day Mountain First Aid refresher as its been a couple of years since I last did any training and in order to keep my Mountainering Instructor Certificate in date I need to keep a valid First Aid Certificate. This evening was the final night of the Climbing Wall Award Training at The Ice Factor. Glasgow Climbing Centre Have filled the Training Course I am running for them on 28th and 29th May and have asked me to run another one on 3rd and 4th July. I'll leave you to guess which photo is from which course today!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Morning cragging evening teaching

This morning Lorenzo and I had time for a couple of routes before work in Glen Nevis. He led Reseurection and I led Damnation and then we went down to Road Butress for the first time. Most of the routes are in need of a good clean but we did Sidewalk a severe with a minimum of gear and abed back down cleaning as we went! This evening was the 3rd evening of 4 of a Climbing Wall Award Training cours I have been running based at The Ice Factor. Tonight we went to the Lochaber Leisure Centre Wall and Alan Kimber's excellent new Bouldering Wall at his Hostel Calluna (pictured below).