Saturday, 28 February 2009

Northern Corries

I have been out climbing Sneachda today with Dave and Colm. We climbed the Runnel, Dave and Colm leading all the way. The Fiacaill Couloir was the next route to go. before heading down 0.5 Gully. There where teams in Central Gully and Crotched Gully (which needs to be accessed from the Runnel at the moment). I was very shocked to see people climbing on some of the buttress route on the Fiacaill. These climbs were clearly not in condition, and what made it worse was the teams on the routes were guided parties. We had to dodge rocks ,ice and big bits of turf that were being sent down off thses routes. There are a couple of pictures so you can decide for yourself.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Watson's Winter Weekend

For the last 2 days myself and Euan have been working with a group from George Watson's College in Edinburgh. We spent the first day on Aonach Mor looking at a range of skills in some wet and windy condition. Despite the weather everyone had a great day and alot of fun.

Sunday was a day for a bit of a adventure, so we walked up into Stob Corrie Nam Bieth and climbed Summit Gully. The cave is not passable but there are a number of ways around this pitch. The freezing level was around 1100m. Another great day and big experience for the youngsters for most of which this was their first time in the hills in these conditions.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

No. 2 Gully Buttress.

Matt was on the Ben today with Freda. They climbed No. 2 Gully Buttress which had some good, but wet ice. Despite the wet weather Freda said she had a great day out.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Ben Nevis Action

Today I was on the Ben with Matt Lander who was going to experience his first Ben winter route. We trudged up No.3 Gully to Two Step Corner. The first pitch is not quite there, but by starting up No. 3 Gully Buttress you could gain a steep icey corner which offered excellent climbing to then jion into the main pitch. The crux pitch was a little sporting, but still worth its normal grade. It had good ice all the way with a couple of slightly steeper than normal sections I'm led to believe. The exit at the top was steepish but safe and straight forward.

Matt and Ian climbed the White Line saying that it was excellent climbing with some good ground for the grade. Other folks made ascents of Green Gully, No. 3 Gully Buttress, No. 2 Gully Buttress, Comb Gully. Glover's Chimney, Indicator Wall and Tim and Stu climbed JP's Back with a spicy first pitch on not a lot of ice by the sound of it. They also climbed some ice lines near No. 2 Gully Buttress I think.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

An Underpant Rating of WET!

I hace been working on an intro to winter climbing course for the last 2 days with Thomas and Lucy for Ryan Glass Mountaineering.

Monday was a bit wet and wild, but still the hoards of skiers where present. After a latish start we ventured imto Sneachda and climbed Hidden Chimney. Although the route was a bit of a stream, the ice was still ok and the turf frozen. At least 4 teams climbed the route today. After a cairngorm facial in the chimney we retreated to Mambo's for a well earned coffee.

Today it was just me and Thomas. We got a good start and parking space in the top car park and went back into Sneachda. We and half the planet climbed Fiacaill Couloir which has held out quite well. We also climbed Goat Track Gully which would have been better left alone if I could have seen the top before starting. I was led astray by seeing others climbit early on. To add to Matt's post the major gully lines are holding fast in the ongoing thaw and are all complete. I think you should stay in bed though now until the end of the week when the temp is due to drop again (finger's crossed).

Sorry there are no pics but my lamo camera is a raino-phobic.

Intro to winter climbing

For the last 4 days i have been working for Alpha mountaineering on an intro to winter climbing. The team was  Robert, Angharad and Will from london, They were luck with weather over on the east coast, we had two days of sun and knee deep snow! and two days of thawing knee deep snow Nice. We covered things like avalanche awareness, snow anchors, were to get the best hot chocolate, route finding/nav/safe travel, pitched climbing on snow and mixed ground. The condition on the hill at the moment are wet wet wet oh did i mention wet, buttresses are black and the snow is wet and soft, the turf is not really frozen so its back to normal Scottish conditions!!! but there is a glimmer of hope at the end of the week were its due to get cold again fingers crossed. 

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Trad climbing

I was working with Andrew and Dianne today who want to learn how to lead. We started with a bit of ropework at the EICA before heading out to the crag. They both took to it all quickly and led a handful of routes each from Mod to Severe. We were lucky with the weather which helped make the day an enjoyable one.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Vertical Turf, Not Just Myth!

I was out on Meall nan Tarmachan today with Alan and Colin for an intro to winter climbing course. We went to Creag an Lochain, Arrow Buttress and climbed Arrow Chimney (IV). This South facing crag is only 20 minutes from the road and offers some intresting and varied climbing. Todays route was a mix of turf and ice, so lots of warthogs required. The route broke down nicely into a 60m pitch up the narrow lower part of the chimney to a grass terrace and turf belay. Pitch 2 was 30m up a wider chimney fault with some good steep moves on ice and turf to a good rock belay on the right. The 3rd and final pitch 60m climbed ice into a gully which had a couple of steep turf bulges to turn to another turf belay. We came down and rigged a bottom rope on some ice lower down and looked at climbing movement a bit more before heading back to the car. The thaw is deffinately on, but things are holding on quite well. There a number of easy routes on the crag and at least 1 steep ice line on the far right that is not in the guide.

Friday, 13 February 2009


Today I was working on the first day of Climbing Wall Award training course for Perth College students on behalf of the EICA. This was the personal climbing day so we covered all aspects of the at the EICA before going to another venue after lunch. We used the wall at Meadowbank Sports centre for this as it shows the massive differences that you many be faced with as a CWA holder. Overall it was a good.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Beinn Udlaidh

Neil and Tony were at Beinn Udlaidh today. They said that all the major lines were climbed but they were thawing. By the end of the day it was raining at the crag which was making some of the snow a little less stable.

Kenny Grant was on Curved Ridge with clients today as well and said much the same about conditions there. It was raining on the summit.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Beinn Udlaidh

Campbell Was up at Beinn Udlaidh today and climbed Quartzvein Scoop and South Gully of the Black wall. He has sent some pics of want looks to be a place of many options. Although not in the pic, he said that Organ Pipe Wall was there.
Thanks Campbell

Patagonia pics

Here are a few pics from down south. We (Tim) and i had a successful trip we managed to climb 4 mountains including Fitzroy and a rock route in the Torre valley,  all in all we were very lucky with the weather. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Creag Meagaidh

Matt and I went to have a look at Creag Meagaidh today. We skied from the car park all the way into Easy Gully so we did'nt have to walk far at all. THere are quite a few climbs in condition at the moment. We climbed Last post which was the best looking line on the crag today. Excellent ice for the most part with no problem at all getting out the top. There was a lot of spindrift coming down for the second half of the route though. Easy Gully was fine on the approch to the route but very hard going once the skies came off. We descended the steep ground to the east of Easy gully before dropping back into it at the start of the route. This was the safest option today. Alot of snow had been blown into the Gully today. Although it was ok for us today careful judgement should be used if you are thinking of heading in there as there was surface hoar on some of the areas we saw. The picture shows most of the post face, we think that Smith's Gully might be there as well.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Glen Coe Gem

Today I was out with Matt and Kenny and we climbed the rarely in Blue Riband on the South side of the Aonach Eagach. After spending the last 2 days recovering from man flu this seemed like a sensible option as Matt assured me it was only 400m up from the road. If I had paid attention to the details I would have noticed the route is 600m long, followed by a traverse of half the ridge as well. All said this was one of, if not the best ice climbing I have done in Scotland. The main difficulties are at the start with 3 steep pitches in a row (these all had next to no useful protection today so I would say the route is worthVI,5 overall). Some easy ground leads to a 35m grade 4 pitch (V,4 today with only 2 rock runners found and the ice ok to climb but no good for screws). More easy ground takes you to the last hard pitch which required commitment to start, then you got good ice screws. A further expedition of easy ground leads you to the ridge. The route had alot of water running as the sun was out all day, this should help it to continue to improve.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Cold Climbs Classics

Matt has had a good weekend ticking a few classics in Glen Coe. On Saturday he climbed Deep Cut Chimney on Stob Corie nam Bieth with Ruth and Ian. They said that the route was a great way to make your way up the mountain. On Sunday Matt and Ian climbed No. 6 Gully on the West Face of Aonach Dubh, then made their way across to lochan and climbed SC Gully. A great couple of days out, nice one folks.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Patagonia Success

Matt has been away in Patagonia for the last month with Tim Neil. Hopefully Matt will give us an update and some pics soon, but for now you can click on the link to the DMM website where Tim has put a brief report of their ascents.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Meall Tarmachan

Today I was out doing staff training with Davy, Pamela, Mhairi and Andrew from the EICA. It was a pretty wild day, but at least it was dry. Some of the group had done very little in winter and two are working toward different assessments, so a perfect mix to work with each other. We looked at a range of winter skills and how to coach and deliver structured sessions. The weather dictated that we could not stand around for to long so we found teaching spots as we travelled. We moved into some steeper ground in the second half of the day, looking at ascending and decending with clients and using different techniques to manage this. Overall, everyone had a productive day with alot to take away.

There was alot of snow being moved around all day on a strong eastily wind with the freezing level around 500m.