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