Thursday, 11 August 2016

Catch up

After injuring my finger last November, it has been struggling to recover fully.  I've had time out climbing, but it just doesn't feel right.  So I've taken a bit of time out from pulling.

I went to the wall the other day and felt weak, but not quite as bad as I thought. It will take a while to regain the strength I've lost, but I seem to have a reasonable base fitness.

Work has been ticking over with route setting and a good range of NGB courses.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Quick Wilton 4 Hit

I managed to grab an hour in Wilton 4 yesterday afternoon after work.  I started off flashing Cold Emotions E4 5c*.  This was pretty straight forward to a wiggy last couple of mores.  The landing was ok with a couple of pads.
High on Cold Emotions 

Lady Ice E5 6b* was next.  If I had been with someone else, I'd like 5o have tried to on sight it.   However, I'd have blown the start. After one quick go on a rope, I had it sorted, so decided to solo it.  It was definitely exciting, but a good hands off rest halfway helped break it up.  An excellent route.

Just the harder E5's left to tick off in there now, hopefully get them done this year.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Catching Up

I have been pretty busy since last blogging, so thought I'd do a quick update.  There has been a run of NGB'S lately, with an SPA assessment, CWA Training and CWA assessment.  Adding to that the usual route setting, a family holiday, there's not been too much time for anything else.
Not for weasel's 

That said I did manage to get a climb in one day.  I was nice to test the finger out properly, as it has been taking a while to recover.  I climbed Fool's Gold E5 6b at Mytholm Steeps Quarry. For the most part this was straight forward.  But the crux at the top was super sequence specific.  Nice and safe though.

I then moved on to the edge and had a go at Not For Weasel's 7b+.  I'd tried this a few times on and off in the past, but could not suss the start.  However, this time armed with some video beta, I was reasonably straight forwards once you knew how.

Hopefully was the school holidays are over, I might get a bit more climbing in.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Work at Widdop

This afternoon I was at Widdop with the lads from Bolton School doing some bouldering.   The lads did a good mixture of problems and all managed to challenge themselves.

Barney put a good bit of effort into Pool Traverse and got really close, but just couldn't stick the end of the traverse.   Adam did a great job getting the send.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Font Prep Day

Barney sending Baxter's Wall 

On Sunday I was out bouldering at Wimbery with students from Bolton School as part of their preparation for a up coming trip to Font.

After short walk we started on the Sugar Loaf boulder.  Folks did really well and sent a range of problems. Barney, Anosh and Zoe did a great job to send Baxter's Wall V3, and young Bella sent a tricky Left ArĂȘte V2.  Everyone did well managing the
Great send of Baxter's Wall
 We then moved over to the Sloping Top boulder were everyone tried hard on some tricky problems.  Again Zoe, Barney and Anosh did a great job sending the super sloppy V4 arete.

Bella cruising
After some slab work by the stream we moved to the Tank.  Here all did well on some highball problems. I'd have to say that Bella was the start here, simply being so small and totally cruising the high slab and technical V2 arete. Real smear or disappear territory.

Tired arms brought the end of the session,but a great day was had by all.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Mountaineering Weekend

My weekend was spent with Paul and Stuart.  After discussion we came up with a plan and headed up toward SCNL to find some steepish ground and firm snow.  Once we found this, we refreshed some skills, before moving onto snowcraft.  This proved really useful and brought in some good discussion too.  We then moved onto some mixed ground and looked at introducing pitched climbing with leader placed protection.  Stuart lead from a good rock belay up some interesting grade I ground, to finish on a snow slope.  This was perfect for putting into practice some of the snowcraft and using a bucket seat in real context.

We then descended and used a bollard to negotiate a steepish descent.  Once back at the accommodation we went over some building belays etc. in preparation for Sunday.

Paul leading up the steep corner

Nice belay position

Spring like conditions

Yesterday we climbed the Zigzags I, with Stuart and Paul managing themselves up safely using a rope.  We even threw in a little retreat and re ascent too.  It was a great way for me to finish a good week.

Some missing pics for Alex and Andys week

Alex engrossed in Pitch 1 of Minus 2 Gully

Andy starting up the Curtain

Andy enjoying the ice on the Curtain in the sun

Andy embracing the start of the ming on Original Summer Route Direct

Alex approaching the belay

Andy embracing the ming

Alex on the crux of the normal Original Summer Route

Friday, 4 March 2016

Minus 2 Gully

Today was the last of the 6 days with Alex and Andy, so we went for a classic.  Minus 2 Gully was in excellent condition, but a lot of care was needed to get on the route.  After climbing the first pitch in nice weather, it soon deteriorated into the typical full Scottish experience.  We got battered by some wind, pummelled with spindrift and all other things that add to a great day in a Scottish Gully.

We opted to abseil back down the route and get out quick as the weather changed.  All in a brilliant end to a full weeks climbing in challenging weather.  6 days and 11 routes ticked, fine effort boys!!!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Ben Nevis Ice

Today it was just Andy and I.  Alex was looking pretty rough this morning and ended up at the doctor's, he's zipping up the man suit tomorrow for the last day.

We walked in this morning with an open mind, hoping it might be ok to get to Mega Route X, but all the new snow and windslab, meant it would have been an unnecessary risk with the sun on the slopes in the morning.  Instead we climbed the Curtain IV,5 which was in glorious sunshine.   We did see and here a good soft cornice collapse avalanche which lasted around 15 secs. down No.5.

A short walk around the corner and we climbed Waterfall Gully IV, 4 by it's steepest offering.   As it was quiet, Andy top roped it a bit so we could improve on some of his techniques.

We dropped down the the CIC cascades and climbed a nice ice line that had a good bit of grade IV on it. This gave Andy a good chance to work on some of the coaching point we covered.  A good end to another good day.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Original Summer Route Direct Start

So much discussion last night, talk of days off etc. I proposed the easy walk back into Sneachda and Original Summer Route.  All were happy, off to bed.

We walked in with blue skies and light winds, got pipped to the route by a nice team of ladies.  After discussion it seemed it would work if we did the direct start at V, 6.  This offered a much better start than the original.  Generally good hooks led to a bold thin crux.

Unfortunately all teams converged, so we had a bottleneck.  We let them go first, so I went back down and brought a bag of food and belay jackets up to keep my guys comfortable.  Once all was clear we bashed on and abseiled off after the original crux pitch.  A gentle paced day with some good climbing.

We are now on the West coast hoping to climb some ice, if we can get through all the snow.

My computer is having issues, so I'll add pics when possible.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Soggy Sneachda

After the rain last night and warmer temps we opted for what seemed the safest bet and headed into Sneachda again.  There has been a lot of snow removed, particularly on the plateau.  However, just enough snow etc. has remained on the buttresses to make climbing possible.

Alex picking his way up Yukon Jack

We climbed an ice free Yukon Jack which was much nippier than the IV,5 it gets based on ice being present.  It felt pretty thin in general and pretty bold too.  Definitely closer to V,6 and pushy in the condition it was today.  That said the climbing was cool, balancy moves on thin or flat hooks.  Both Alex and Andy climbed the route well, looking confident after the few days we've had.

Alex in the top chimney of Yukon Jack
Alex was feeling the efforts of the few days and opted to walk out, so Andy and I popped back down for another route.  We climbed Opening Break IV,5, which was good sport today.  Thin at the bottom, but still loads on snow/ice in the corner.  A good end to another productive day.

Nice snow on Opening Break

A pleasant day out

Monday, 29 February 2016

Stirling Bomber

After the stunning day yesterday, it was back to business as usual in the Gorms.  With Gale force wind predicted, Alex and Andy opted for a quick hit in Sneachda again, and Stirling Bomber V,7 won the vote.

Starting the dig up Pitch 1
Alex working hard to turn the steep wall
Andy contemplating the wall
First taste of slots at the end of pitch 1
We slogged in with an open mind, and a suck it and see how the approach slope was.  It was surprisingly scoured, with only small pockets that needed care and avoidance.

The lads did really well on the route, and embraced the challenge it offered. Some all over body pump was achieved.  The route was pretty buried, with evidence that it had been climbed recently, but got filled in again.  The weather got worse as predicted, with a lot of snow getting blow in on us.  This had all started to settle a fair bit, so we had a careful descent after the Ab.

Alex getting involved in some top mixed climbing
Andy catching a break
Another blasting for Andy, theme of the day
It felt like a win to get a good route done today in pretty wild winds, fingers crossed for better weather tomorrow.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Mixed Action

Today was the first on Andy and Alex's week of guiding.  We decided to go into Sneachda and see how well they were climbing.  It turned out quite well, as we rattled off the Melting Pot V,6/7, Hidden Chimney Direct IV, 5 and Haston Line IV, 4.

Topping the final crack of Melting Pot
The weather was stunning today, but is due to turn tomorrow.  We will see what we can get done.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Winter Mountaineering

The weekend was spent with Jacob and Ewan on a winter mountaineering course.   We spent the first day up in SCNL looking at a range of skills that conditions would allow.

On the Sunday we went up the Zigzags and along the ridge to put these skills into practice.  The lads are only 15, and did a great job in challenging conditions.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Digging Holes

After the stormy day on Tuesday, which we spent indoors looking at weather and avalanches, we got back out and headed East.

Happy summit team

Wednesday was spent walking in to Ciste Meredth  (forgive the spelling), via the Fiacaill Corie Cas and the summit of Cairngorm.  The lads did a good job and worked hard to dig their snow holes for the night.  Nice dry conditions made it a nicer experience than last year.
Nice light to dig in

The staff palace

Thursday was an easy work down to the Ciste carpark taking in a few spot heights.  It was a great way to finish a very good week.
Great views on the way out

Monday, 15 February 2016

A Stunning Day in Glencoe

Today I was out with just Aston and Luke from the Bolton School group.  Whilst the others went on a munro bagging day in the sunshine, we went up Curved Ridge.  It was as busy as you'd expect for half term, but we made good time and got ourselves to the front and up quickly. Help by the route being in good condition at the moment.
Luke and Aston enjoying the ridge

We met up with the others on the way down for a nice sociable end to a great day out.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Couple of Wintery Day

Yesterday was the first of the week with the lads from Bolton School.  We had an easy day up in Stob Corie Nan Bieth looking at a whole range of winter skills.  This is the winter experience for the majority of the them, so it was a day we'll spent.
Stunning views 

Today we put these skills to the test as we picked our way up a surprisingly icy Zigzags.  This offered a good level of challenge, really making them think about how they moved themselves around the mixture of terrain.

We then continued along the ridge to SCNL and down. The stunning views made it a pretty good day out.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Not So Wintery In The Lakes

Yesterday out was out with the lads from Bolton School in the Lakes.  We had been hoping for a winter day, but the change in the weather has pretty much wiped the snow out.  There is still the odd patch around and some snow in gullies, but it does not look like it is cooling down any time soon.

The day is in preparation for the up and coming winter week in Scotland.  The lad are generally younger than last year, so it was good to see them out in some poor weather to see how they coped.  Despite the wind, rain and general ming throughout the day, they all did really well.  it was bleak on top of High Raise, and some good navigation was needed.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Bolton School Winter Day Out

Today I was working with students from both the Boys and Girls Division of Bolton School.  We had a winter day planned, and thankfully snow.  As it was the first winter day out for all the group, we opted for the relatively short walk up Bowfell from Langdale.
Poor viability on top

Happy team

There was a fair bit of snow from the carpark, so everyone had to get to grips with moving around in the snow quickly. Some coped better than others.   The weather held out for us most of the way, but became a white room from the col to the summit.  We had lost a couple by this point, who had headed down with Steve.  Those that pushed on obviously felt a good sense of achievement despite the lack of veiw.  The decent back down offered it's own challenges, bit again they did really well and made good time.

A long day out from Bolton.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Message

Yesterday was Alex's last day with me.  The efforts of the previous days had taken the toll a little, so we opted to just do The Message IV,6.  The was a lot of snow blown in from the previous day, along with more fresh snowfall.  This made things hard going.  We took a cheeky approach through the rock still showing which is a good option in these condition as it takes the angle out a little too.  That said, it was still knee deep and waist deep next to the buttress.  It was worrying watching large groups plough straight up towards Jacobs, never even stopping to take stock.

Lots of snow on the easy angles of pitch 1

The climb itself was buried, and gave the full Scottish climbing experience.  Even the main corner required excavation, with no cracks visible.  All the pegs in the side walls were easily dug out knowing were to look without a metal detector.

Alex finishing off the crux
It was a great way to finish my first stint up North this season.  I will be back up in Feb for some more work, and have some bit down in the Lakes too as long as the snow lasts.