18 Mar 2015

Rivers, Holes and Climbing

Have had a bit of a busy week. Been getting out a far bit had a day on the Etive with Dave, Andy and Rory. It was the first time that Andy and Rory had been on the river and they had a great level for it of mid/high. It was a fun time with lots of laughs with one or two swims.

Then was meant to be Snow holing and the weather was not playing ball and ended up having a mix on indoor talks with a day digging the snow in amazing sunshine. Good to learn new skill for the hills in winter.

Sunnys for the walk in!!

The Croy one man digger

Mmm should be climbing!!
And this week have had two great days out climbing on the Ben. First on Observatory Ridge with Nathan and Brodie in the clouds but a fun route. Will be back to try it in the summer. 

Views from the day

Brodie seconded
Then yesterday on Italian Right-Hand and Central Gully Right-Hand with just Brodie. Bit of a change from the start of the year where I did all the leading and now Brodie bid all the leading of the ice. His come along way in the season!! As all his wanted to do at the start was climbing III but now sails up IV/V. Both the routes where great with worth the 3 stars that they get.

Italian Right-Hand
Better views today
Central Gully Right-Hand
Making it look easy 
Happy face!! 
The Ben Looking great!!
 Things look like there not going anywhere for sometime. Now just need to work out this ice climbing game…..

4 Mar 2015

The Message and Honeypot

Had one of the best days winter climbing today!! Headed over east with Rich, Cam and Nathan. Rich and Cam were going for a wee ski about the place. Nathan and myself going into Coire an t'Sneachda with many plans as we where a bit late to the climbing party. On the walk in we did not see anyone on Mess of Pottage thought we had missed something. But as always in the east over a rise and there was everyone. We thought that we would have to settle for one of are other plans but all the teams where doing No Blue Skies, Opening Break, The Haston Line and Hidden Chimney Direct. Leaving us with The Message!! Woop woop. (Got to love the student start paying off sometime)

 Nathan had done the route in summer before and gave me the second pitch. Meaning he had a great start over blocky ground with great hooks to the bottom of the grove. This was a great start by its self. Then it was me up to the crux pitch witch was great. Just none stop cracks to hook in and gear where you want it. The hard move at the top had be going for a bit but pulled over it ok and a rest. Nathan so sailed up it and he lead off the last bit to the top. I can see easily why The Message get it 3 star. It have bit of everything that you want and it give is all the way to the top!!

At the top we had a bit more time before we had to be back at the car so head up Honeypot. I had done it 2 years ago but it was under a lot of snow!! This time a big change of little snow and good cracks to climb. Nathan again had the first pitch witch had a bit of a tricky start to it then eased off to the belay. Then onto the chimney and roof. It felt a wee bit thin for axe on the lower part with a bit more work looking for placements then I remember from before. Getting up to the roof I was a feeling it and had to think hard on what to do but made it over ok. Think am still needing to work up to being smooth at the grade. But was great to be pushing it a bit. Nathan again fired up with no problems and make it look easy as.

In the end a great day with to amazing routes done. Conditions for mixed climbing are amazing at the min no ice in the cracks. Now its going to be a busy March with uni and work. So not to sure on the next winter outing. Hopefully one more before it all goes.

17 Feb 2015

Two days in the Clouds

Have day 2 good days out with on being on last friday with Nathan out on the Ben Climbing Thompsons Route witch like most routes of the Ben in great contoin. Tho getting to the climb was a bit trike with the low cloud but we found it will a bit of help for a team looking to get on Sioux Wall. Coming off the Ben was a bit of a mess as I dofo need to sort out my winter Nev!!! Some how managered to end up at the top of the Red Burn very lucky for sure. Other then this was lucky with a lifts up the Ben Track with Kev and Joe how where looking to get on Mega Routes X and then a lift back form the North Face car park with Will of was out with to poeple for Atlas Mountaineering.

Routes in there some where

Nathan coming up the first pitch

Nathan leading the last pitch 

Half way lochen looking nice int he even light

Yesterday head out to the West Face of Aonach Mor. Am not having much luck on the west face. Third time on the worry route. Was meant to be on Western Rib but end up on Daim Buttress with more IV then the III thats its mean to be. Still a great day out with a great ice pitch at the bottom with 2 mixed pitch to gain easier ground to the top.

Ewan on the Pitch
The evening looking like it could be a nice day

11 Feb 2015

A wee birthday walk from Corrour to Kinlochleven

So today was Erika's Birthday and for a random outing. The plan was simple of first train out to Corrour and then walk back to Kinlochleven. Easy as that... Ooo and we had to be back for 7.30 for drinks and food. Leaving Carrour Station we headed to Carin Leum Uilleim which was a mix of soft snow and heathery patches. Quick progress brought us to the start of the ridge where we put crampons on. Shortly after entering the cloud, creating moments of whiteout conditions. Managed well with navigating using timings and bearings, but dropped the ball walking off Beinn a Bhirc where we ended up heading to Blackwater. Once out of the cloud managed to work out where we were and relocate. Below the cloud level we made good time round to Kinlochleven and even managed to get back to Fort William for half four.

Horse on the train
No to the cloud we go

Following the deer

Even a wee bit of blue sky came out

Eating on the good
Finding are way again

10 Feb 2015

Zig Zags in winter

What a mega day out yesterday was. One of then days that make you think you should do more walking and not to be look to climb all the time. We head down to Glencoe for the day to go up the Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach. The walk in was worryingly warm as it could have been done in a t-shirt. The snow was soft under foot all the way up with water running under the snow too. Once on the ridge was in the cloud so not much to look for the day. At the top on Bian got a bit moist and bumped into Neil how had solo Dorsal Arete and heading back down. Dropping off Bian to Sgreamhach we came out of the clouds to Blue sky and amazing views!! We had back down down into the lost valley with a shot down climb with the longest bum slide I have ever done (500M at High speed). This mean the first past of the walk of fun but some it was onto poor snow with hidden holes under it. But still a great day. Will have to head back into to do Beinn Fhada as the ridge looks great! Winter just keens giving. Tho today is sadly a uni day.

Looking over to Rannoch Moor

Beinn Fhada
Last bit


Great views at last

Maga bum slide
My rainbow

2 Feb 2015

2 in 1 with a wee bit more

Head out with Ewan today. We had nothing really planned to do just opened mind on what was in. We stared off with the first pitch of Waterfall Gully as there was a team heading up to The Curtain. Witch was great but a bit sort lived.

Start of Waterfall Gully

Next headed back to The Curtain get on it and for Ewan to do a wee bit of leading (doing a very good Elvis). There was a other team on it so a chilled out bit of lunch be for getting on. The ice was all good but for some bad bits at the top. By now a another team had gone up Waterfall Gully and broke trail thought the snow on the upper pitchs. So back we when for the hole thing. Very snowy upper part but great feeling in the Gully.

Two Teams on The Curtain
Ewan on the lead
Looking about
There was a far number of people out for Monday. Teams on Shield Direct, Gemini, Tower Ridge and Vanishing Gully too name some. If things hold out like this then a lot to get out.

Last bit
Great end the day
CMD looking good in sunset
Skier enjoying the snow
Happy Ewan