Monday, 31 March 2008

Haston Line

Today I was out with Simon. We climbed the Haston Line, which was Simon's first real winter climb. There is alot of snow on the routes but conditions are good. We came back down and and went up Hidden Chimney Direct Start to finish off the day. It was a quiet day in the corrie despite the great weather.
Greg and Niall were on the Ben and climbed the Curtain. They said that the first pitch was thin and the ice poor. The rest of the route was ok. With a warm spell coming lets hope that the ice hangs around for a little while yet.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Great day on the west!

Today Glenn and Neil were on the Ben in the fantastic weather. They did the Echo Traverse and reported great conditions. There were many folk out on all the classic ice routes all around the mountain taking advantage of the good conditions. Over in Glencoe Euan and Craig climbed Crowberry Gully.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Hurricane Arete

I was on Aonach Mor today with Matt Stygall and Matt Smith. We climbed Hurricane Arete which was in good condition. The first pitch was an excellent thin ice climb over some steep slabs with little gear. The crux had some amazing climbing through an overhang, followed by very technical traverse through some steep ground. A easy pitch leads to the top. There were a number of teams in Left Twin, this probably due to the massive cornices at the tops of most routes.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Ben Nevis Ice

Today I was on the Ben with Matt. We were on a bit of a mission to get a couple of routes in. First up was Hadrian's direct which was in good condition, some poor ice on the first pitch but short lived. A quick bite to eat on the top then down to Zero Gully. This had a lot of poor ice on the first pitch with the belay hard to find. The rest of the climb was in good condition, but is a long way to the top. There were parties on lots of routes all over the mountain, take your pick.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

The Finale

The groups split up again this morning. One group went for a beasting around the back of Cairngorm, another down via the Ptarmigan and we went up Cairngorm. Again the conditions were perfect for navigation practise. After topping the mighty C we went down for a hot chocalate, before some plastic bagging down the white lady. Over all a great week was had by all.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Snow Holin'

A later start was on the cards as a bit of extra grub was needed. We navigated into Ciste M in good challenging conditions to start digging in. Due to a mixture in the snow pack some teams had to improvise the holes. 4 of the group were keen to do some night Nav, so Robbie and myself drew the short straws and went out. Good poor visability nav conditions made the experience worth while. We were back just before midnight.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Steep Ground

Lochain was the venue for the steep ground day of the course. Here we made are way in with more navigation legs, before we started to dig. Bucket seats and buried axes were used to ascend the East wall of the corrie as they pitched. We made good use of some snow bollards to look at abseiling back in to the corrie before heading out.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

More Skills

We headed into Sneachda today. On the way in they refreshed navigation skills, such as timings, pacing and contour interpritation. It was busy on the flat ice so we worked around the base of the messapotage. Here we did some crampon work before heading over windy col and across to the cas head wall. At the top of the head wall we used a nice angle change to cut steps and use crampons on some firm snow.

Saturday, 15 March 2008


Today was the start of a 5 day programme with Edinburgh University. The first day was 1 of 2 skills days. We went up into Corrie Cas were we looked at kicking steps, self arrest, emergency selters and some avalanche awareness.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Work, Work, Work

Today I was working with Matt Franks at the Muirhouse Youth Development Group climbing wall. I was advising on the in house/site specific training that the Muirhouse staff need to undertake before they can be signed off to work with their groups at this purpose build wall. We gave further training whilst assessing the staff at a range of skills needed to work safely. All the staff had a good time and took away some new skills from the session.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Lead on Man!

Today I was working with Michael, Neil and Colin who wanted to learn how to trad climb (Good Lads). I was running this day for the EICA. We spent the morning based at the EICA looking at placing runners and building belays. As the weather improved in the afternoon we went to Rosyth Quarry to put it in to practise. All three took alot away from the day and each led 2 VDiffs and a Severe, not bad for a wet day.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


Today was a bit more relaxed. We all made an ascent of Spiral Gully, Matt leading Miriam and Ronan. Colm and Dave leading themselve followed by my watchful eye. There was a lot of fresh snow about, over all the gully was in good shape even if it was buried.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Another Fine Day

Today Matt, miriam and Ronan went up the mighty Ben Macdui. They headed up the goat track and over to the Mac in mixed visability to be rewarded with stunning veiws. After lunch they came back down over Lochain.
Dave and Colm were back on the sharp end again. They made short work of Hidden Chimeny and wanted to try something harder. We came back round and I led them up a steeper than usual Aladdin's Mirror Direct. The ice is good and about IV,5 at the moment. We had time left to make a rapid ascent of Goat track Gully Right Hand before heading out. A Great Day!!!

Sunday, 2 March 2008


Today Colm and Dave took on the sharp end in winter for the first time. We started up Central Gully then cut left onto the rib after the second pitch. This gave us some great mixed ground to cover at grade I/II. At the top of Central Gully Left hand there is a great ice pitch that ranges from Tech II-IV. We switched around went in series for a pitch to climb some steeper ground. The ice was good but thin, which meant that protection was poor (1 half in screw). Colm and Dave then Led to the top.

Miriam and Ronan made an ascent of Crotched Gully with Matt leading the way. They finshed the day by walking over Cairngorm.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Windy, Dry and Cold

After a bad start to the week things seem to be settling down a bit. There has been more fresh snow on moderate to strong winds, so wind slab is forming. With more of the same forecast up to Friday care is needed when out and about. Today Colm, Dave, Miriam and Ronan started a 4 day coarse. All were doing a mountaineering refresher day before dividing into two climbing groups. We based ourselves on the Cas headwall. Here we looked at basic winter skills before moving onto snow anchors and looking at pitching.