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.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Cha-no Crushing

Today Alex, Alan and I slogged up into the wind through some deepish snow to Cha-no.  Thankfully once there, the winds soon eased off, and we could just enjoy the climbing.  although the routes are short here, they usually pack a punch for there grade.  The crag is well rimed at the moment, but the cracks are in much friendlier condition on the whole.
Alan pulling through a nice steep crack on Anvil Gully
We started off with Anvil Gully IV,4, which has a good mixture of steepish turf and mixed climbing.  Both Alan and Alex enjoyed the varied climbing.  Alan was feeling the efforts of yesterday and a poor nights sleep, so didn't want to climb again.  The weather had improved enough that Alex and I could grab another quick route.
Alan enjoying the exit cracks on Anvil Gully

Alex warming up his mixed skills for the next route
After a quick chat we got on Anvil Corner VI,6.  This offered some good steep positive climbing and was at just the right level to push Alex today.

Alex happy to be nearing the end of Anvil Corner
One more day left, then I head back South for work and family time.  I'll be back up again in Feb.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Fingers Ridge and Western Rib

Today I have been out with Alex and Alan in Sneachda.  They were keen to smash it out, so we get 8n there sharpish and climbed Fingers Ridge is primo condition.  We then came back down and nipped up Western Rib.

Enjoying the first couple of pitches 

Alex coming up the final steep wall

It's pretty icy in the cracks and gear is hard won.  Defo work hard conditions.  That said, the climbing is fantastic at the moment.

There were many folks out today on a wide range of routes, so there will be classics with all the belays cleaned out at least.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Comb Gully

Today Karen, Rhys and I headed up the Ben to take advantage of the stunning weather.  A rare treat after the general ming of the week.  There is a surprising amount on offer, especially mixed lines, but things are very icy.

Approaching the belay before the narrowing 

We opted for Comb Gully IV,4***, which offered it's own challenges today.  After an easy approach, I was soon digging a thigh deep trench up the 1st easy pitch.  This took a bit longerto lead than normal.  Once in the narrower and steeper section of the gully things generally firmed up.  There is good steep climbing g to be had on firm snow and ok ice, with some poor snow and ice inbetween.  Very little protection of any quality between belay as a result of this.  Despite this we had a great day out and enjoyed a descent of No.4 to get down.  A great end to a challenging week.

Pulling out of the crux

Rhys pulling out of the crux

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Tower Scoop

Today Karen, Rhys and I de the long slog up to Tower Scoop.  It was still windy and wild, but it was freezing at around 800m.  Some delays this morning caused us to get caught in a queue, but we eventually enjoyed 2 good pitches of ice.  The final section being good value for the grade.

Karen topping out after the final steep bit.

The freezing level fluctuated throughout the day, and was on the rise as we left.  I'd have said it was raining at 900m.  All the snow that was fresh at hut level had all gone as well.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Hidden Chimney Direct

Yesterday was the start of Karen and Rhys's winter week. However, the lack of winter on the West coast and high winds did not enthuse them.  We decided to go rock climbing in Glen Nevis and revisit some key skills to hopefully put to good use throughout the rest of the week.  It turned out to be a great day, with loads of climbing and some good recapping.

Rhys finish up the last tricky step of Hidden Chimney Direct 

This recapping was put to good use today in the gorms where we climbed Hidden Chimney Direct IV,5. I say climbed, but it was more of a swim in places despite being climbed yesterday.   A team starting from the Gully meant we would have had to wait a while to finish, so we took a line overlooking it on the right which had an emotional little slot to get by.

Karen embracing the slot

There is a lot more snow over East, so it was definitely worth the drive today.

There is a short video of today on the Facebook page.