Monday, 30 September 2013

29.09.13 - Polldubh in the sun!

Today, Kate and I headed up to the midgie mecca of Polldubh Crags, Glen Nevis.  We spent the day going over the basics of gear placement, anchor and belay construction at Lower Pinnacle Crag.  We then headed up to the Alp area, where Kate got her first ever trad lead in on The Gutter, Diff.  We then went over a bit of rigging on SW Buttress, where Kate top roped the crag classic and super polished Tear HS 4b.  We then relocated to West End Crag and spent the rest of the day top roping All's Fair E2,5c enjoying the best of the sunny weather!  Well done to Kate on her first ever trad lead!

Kate, on her first trad lead!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Quite a week!

On the 21st of the month, I was working for Mountain and Glen, guiding on the Ben.  Enjoying the good weather, Mark, Lindsay, other Mark, Matt, Brian and I, looked after our group of 53 people, with most of the group making the top.  We also met Dave and Billy guiding a separate group for M&G on a three peaks challenge. After a steady descent the group made their way back down to the visitor center for a well deserved cuppa!  well done guys!

the guys having a well earned lunch break beside the lochan

passing through the Red Burn path junction

The next day, I was back out guiding but in a change to the usual, I found myself guiding my Mum and Dad on the beautiful and often under rated walk through Nevis Gorge and up to the Steall ruins.  The forecast was definitely not accurate and we enjoyed mild and dry(ish) conditions along this excellent walk, taking in the stunning views it offers of the Steall waterfall, Nevis gorge and surrounding areas.  

Mum and Dad on the wire bridge (without too much trouble!)

Taking in the view of Steall Falls, which Ali has climbed before in winter!

On Tuesday we fancied a bit of cragging and Kev, Dave Andy and I headed up to West End crag at Polldubh to have a crack at All's Fair E2,5c.  We had all top roped it clean a few times and decided we fancied a crack at leading it.  The climbing on this route, I found quite hard but not impossibly so with the main problem being the first bit of available gear is about 8m off the deck after some very fingery and pumpy 5c climbing.  Mr Hague was up first and sent the route in a fine inspiring fashion, good lead mate!  Dave was up next and unfortunately fell off before he could get the gear in.  It was clear from the very first instant that we were going to require assistance in getting Dave off, so Andy went off down Glen Nevis to arrange the local (Lochaber) Mountain Rescue Team to help us out.  Not before too long, Dave's taxi arrived in the form of Rescue 177 from RNAS Gannet.  He was then uplifted and transported to the Belford hospital in Fort William.  Dave'll be fine, he's a hard bastard and a full recovery is expected! 

Dave causing a scene

Daves Taxi - R177

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

08.09.2012 - Inaccessible Pinnacle, Sgurr Dearg

After just having arrived back in the country and getting straight on the Ben, having only spent one night in an actual bed you could be forgiven for thinking I might want some rest, but you'd also be very wrong.  As soon as Ali had finished work, we were off to Glen Brittle on the isle of Skye.  Ali had never done any climbing on Skye and in preparation for her trip to the Alps next year, I thought a quick hit on the Inn Pin would do just the trick to kick start her prep.  The weather itself was very good, no rain, light wind and best of all no wall to wall sunshine!  A great day was had by all!

Cheers to Kev Shields for the tent!

Ali on the walk in

Ali spies the Inn Pin

Ali makes her way up the Pin

Almost topped out

Ali abbs off

Inn Pin to the left of her, stone chute to the right, here she is, stuck in the middle of Skye!

always time for a quick pose!

Monday, 9 September 2013

06.09.13 Ben Nevis mountain path with a twist

Today I was working for Mountain and Glen on a Ben Nevis ascent.  The group this time had opted to do a three peaks challenge with a bit of a difference.  Instead of trying to bag all 3 in 24hrs as is the usual, they had opted to climb all three while cycling between them!  Bearing in mind these guys had a long cycle from Ben Nevis back to Kinlochleven, I decided to choose a more scenic and leisurely approach to guiding on the Ben today.  We cut off the beaten track after the half way point and the team enjoyed stunning views of the North Face before reaching the summit and back to Glen Nevis.  A great day on the mountain with everyone in the group reaching the summit!  Great effort guys!

scenic views from the top of Coire na Ciste 

the team on the summit

25.8.13 - 3.9.13 Chamonix Classics

On the 25th August, Ethan and I headed to Chamonix.  During our short trip, we managed to get a trio of routes done consisting of Cosmiques Arete AD, the Chere Couloir D and Voie Frision Roche TD-.  Cosmique Arete was the first route on the list and very enjoyable.  The route itself was a great introductory route and although holding a lot of fresh snow, still provided some pristine Chamonix granite making for good climbing and some spectacular views of Chamonix and over the glacier.  The crux of the route is a short slab section with a slanting finger crack.  It is not bolted however it does take nuts very well and is slightly chizzled out so that your crampon front points will gain a positive foot placement.  after the crux the route moves out towards the North Face of the Midi on the Chamonix side and rejoins the viewing platform on the Midi via the shakiest ladder ever made.  The Chere Couloir had been on my ticklist for some time and we were super psyched to get on this well known classic.  starting at 0500hrs ensured we were first on the route which was one of our main objectives.  The route starts off steep and gets ever steeper in its first three pitches.  There are insitu bolted (mostly) belays, but be advised, they are a whole 60m pitch apart.  I wouldnt like to try this with 50's.  Pitches 1 - 3 provide the main difficulties with P3 being the crux, 55m of 80-85 degrees with a short section of 90.  By the time we had reached the end of the 5th pitch a french team had caught up with us due to the fact we had to re jig things at belays as I lead every pitch.  The French team wasted no time in keeping up the tradition of nearly killing others on the route by way of dislodging a massive block while level with me on the lead.  The block missed my ropes by about a foot and missed Ethans head by about a meter.  Enough said.  Once we had topped out, the French team joined us at the belay and asked if we wanted to abseil the route first.   A "not on your fucking life" reply saw them abseil first and we followed after a short period of time, returning to out tent on the glacier.  Our final route was another Cham classic, Voie Frision Roche on the Brevent.  In poor visibility but with good rock under our feet we climbed, swinging leads and soon came to the crux pitch, a 6a+/5.10a overhanging (only slightly) corner crack.  I lead the crux and found it quite tricky and thanks to some 'encouragement' from Ethan soon made the belay.  The next pitch was a very chossy traverse to the bottom of one of the finest looking lines anywhere in the Cham valley.  Happy with my crux lead and not wanting to hog all the good leads, I let Ethan take this superb looking line, which he dispatched quickly.
Ethan gets ready to go 

quick brew!

great climbing on Cosmiques Arete AD

Cosmiques Arete AD

Ethan approaching the crux of Cosmiques Arete AD

myself tackling the crux of Cosmiques Arete AD

after topping out on Cosmiques Arete AD

the Chere Couloir, D

Me heading off up P2 of the Chere Couloir, D

looking back down P2 on the Chere Couloir, D

getting steeper on the Chere Couloir, D

Ethan pulls over the crux of P3 on the Chere Couloir, D

Myself heading up P5, with our French friends to the right on the Chere Couloir, D

topped out, Chere Couloir, D

Ethan, happy with the route, if not international relations!

waiting to ab

Ethan leads off on P3 of Frison Roche TD-

Ethan on the superb last pitch of Frison Roche TD-