Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Course's Still Available

There are still good conditions for winter climbing in Lochaber and the Cairngorm. We still have some availability on climbing courses for:

12th-16th April
17th-18th April
19th-23rd April

Book now to catch the end of this great winter.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

CWA Training

Over the last 2 days I have been running a Climbing Wall Award Training course for Bolton Lads and Girls Club volunteers. The course went very well with all the candidates being at a high standard and picking things up very quickly. Day 1 was based at the Club's wall, with the second day spent at Climb Rochdale. 2 very different venues, with very different challenges.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Fluted Buttress Direct

Today Mark and I went back into Sneachda thinking we were trying to beat the weather, we were wrong. It stayed nice all day with the freezing level staying lower than expected as well. Today the aim was to challenge Mark and make him put so of him rock climbing movement skills into winter climbing. Fluted Buttress did this perfectly. The first pitch was black, but there was a good amount of ice in the runnel to the left, so we headed up there. After that we climbed good ice all the wat to the top.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Spiral Gully

I met Mark this morning who I have worked with before. He wanted to try a bit of winter climbing, so we headed into Sneachda to have a look. There has been a lot off snow melted in the thaw, but all the classic gullies are still in great condition. We climbed Spiral Gully with a few variations. Mark did very well following up some thin ice to take a straight line to the bend before more, slightly steeper ice up the gully straight above the bend. We then came back down into the corie and top roped some ice beneath the Fiacaill and did a little movement coaching before walking out. The weather was not as good as forecast, but the day was very good all the same.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Day Off

I had a day off today which was well recieved. After a late night and early wake up, Matt and I stopped in to Inverness Climbing Wall do blow the cobweb's away. Suprisingly we had a good session and don't feel to bad for it. Back to work tomorrow with a good looking forecast, Psyched.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Indoor Ropework

Today it was just John and I. With the horrible weather forecast and tired bodies an indoor session was well deserved. John want to look at using the rope to look after his kids on easy (grade 1) scrambles. We covered this at Calluna in a morning session before John got an early start on his drive to Barnsley. It topped off a great week for this West Coast Mountain Guides advanced winter climbing course,

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sunny East

After checking the weather, the gorms had a better underpant rating than west so we headed over. This was a great option as the weather was fantastic and it was a weclome rest. Dave, John and I climbed a quite tricky Patey's route. The ice was great, but had gone from the places that would be very helpful around the hard sections. This was perfect as it gave the most technical climbing of the week. Rather than take on all the easy snow to the top, we opted to look at retreating from a route and abseiled back to the bottom to bask in the sunshine. A steady walk out and Aviemore for coffee and cake. Another great day.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Orion Direct

Above: Dave and John Enjoying the Orion Face

With the forecast for today being the best all week we opted for a big day on the Ben. The Orion Face was pretty busy, with conditions being generally good for climbing, but not so good for gear. We had a fantastic day with dry ice and underpants, so a winner all round really. Rich Bentley and client climbed Astral Highway and we had great veiws of Max Hunter on Observatory Ridge.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Twisting Gully Right Fork

Today John, Dave and I made a very wet walk into Corie nan Lochain. We opted to climb twisting Gully Right Folk which still had some good ice on it. Despite being very wet, the climbing was very interesting and offered good sport. As we walked back down into the corie and the cloud had lifted, there was evidence of a few cornice colapses. Hopefully tomorrow will bring a slightly cooler day before it all goes wrong again on Wednesday.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Curved Ridge

Today I was working for west coast mountain guides. John and I climbed curved ridge, which was in much better condition than it looked from below. There was good snow and ice on the ledges still, but the thaw has taken its toll.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Another Stunner in Sneachda

Myself, Rob and Matt climbed an excellent Broken Fingers today before basking in the sunshine at the top. We then came back down into the corie and looked at placing ice screws, a bit more cramponing and ice axe work before heading out. a good 2 days.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Amazing Weather In the Gorms

Today I was out with Rob and Matt in Sneachda working for Ryan Glass Mountaineering. We climbed Goat Track Gully and Red Gully before heading down to Aviemore for tea and Medals. With the nice weather, tomorrow should be another good one.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Changable Cairngorm

I Have spent the last 3 days working East with the Irish misfits. As always it has been a great few days with loads of learning and a great crack. The first day took is into a surprisingly stable Sneachda, where we covered some skills and had a journey around the cories. We headed back in on friday, only to be shut down by the heavy,wet and rapidly worsening snowpack. After many assessments and chatting with other folks out working we ran away to the Twin Ribs. We heard the avalanche under the Fiacaill Buttress go, with a very load crack and the one under the mess of pottage. The ribs worked out perfectly in the end. All 3 teams covering different things, but all getting what they needed from this great venue. Yesterday we had a more subdued session. Starting inside, we covered various aspects of rope work etc. before heading out to put into practise.

Tamsin had the walking team over the last 2 days. They made a wet and white ascent of Cairngorm on Friday and had a big day up Macdui yesterday, a fine effort. Tamsin commented that there were pockets of unfreindly snow about, and that she heard what sounded like the odd slide. Thing appear to be settling down, but a lot of care and judgement is still needed.

Overall the course has been a great success for all 4 groups and I'm already looking forward to next year. I can probably do without the excessive meat and Guiness consuption though.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Minus 1 Gully

Above: Sharon approaching the belay of pithes 2 &3

I was working again today, but was out with Sharon 'the machaine' Wright. After much debate we decided that it would be a good time for Sharon to experience her first Grade VI. We had already do a few Ben V gullys so, Minus 1 Gully was the obvious choice and was an outstanding route, which was quite sustained throughout. It was much bolder than I had expected, but the climbing was reasonably straight forward. All in all it has to be one of the best days work I have every had. Sharon enjoyed herself too!
Below: A tired but happy client with 1 pitch to go.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Smoking the White Owl

We headed round to the NE face of Sgurr Finnisg-aig today to climb the falls there. The guys did a great job leading up to the crux upper pitch. It was busy again, so we opted to take on the steeper right hand line. I led this so the guys could sample some steeper climbing. It was probably worth IV,5, but a little wiggy in places.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Steall Falls Again

Today myself, Jack and Matt jioned the masses at Steall. The guys did a great job of leading the route between them. It was still in good condition and holding the 30+ people well. There was a bit of bullet dodging to be done, but generally thing were ok.