Sunday, 27 July 2008

Social Circle on Ben Nevis - 26/08/08

Today was by far the busiest I have ever seen the summit of Ben Nevis. It was swarmed with happy walkers after the long slog up. I saw many 3 peak challengers, lots of youngsters with struggling parents and also a wedding ceremony was just about to be carried out (groom was waiting on the summit, we passed the bride coming up on our decent). I was leading, with help from Doug, a group of 19 from the Manchester area who have come together via a social connecting company, Social Circle. We made a respectable ascent of 4 hours and we were down within 3 hours with a nice long lunch break on the summit. I spoke to a pair topping out from Tower Ridge who reported it to be very busy with climbers, unfortunately we couldn't even make out Tower Gap from the summit because of all the cloud. The weather has just been fantastic here in Lochaber, lets hope it stays for August.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Etive Slabs

Today Al and I went for a slightly easier day after the long day yesterday, and headed down to Etive slabs in the afternoon. We climbed Spartand Slab (VS) in blocks which allowed us to finish the route in a couple of hours. Al went up the first 3 pitches, then I finished the route off. We were hoping to do a different route, which either of us haven't done, however the previous wet weather left considerable seepage on most routes, so we opted for a speedy ascent of Spartan. Hot, sunny and breezy - good times!

Erraid - 23/07/2008

Today Al and I headed out early onto the Isle of Mull to this peaceful little place called Erraid. The new Gary Latter guidebook tempted Al and he tempted me and it turned out to be an ace place, nice (almost untouched) granite to climb, white sand beaches and excellent views out to sea. The routes ware all quite short, so we managed to get plenty of routes in - Bacteria Soup (S), Smelly Mussels (HVS), One Dead Puffin (HVS), Goupher Hole (VS), Misunderstanding (VS), Blood Orange (S), Oliver (VS), Elephants (VS) and Panther (S). I wasn't feeling to strong today (or for quite a while actually), but there is definitely potential for some new routing and lots of other harder climbs. I will definitely come back here on a camping trip and tick off lots of routes and try out the awesome looking deep water soloing.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Cragging at Duntelchaig

Today Alan, Chuck, Donald and I headed East in search of sunshine, and we found it. Lochaber was choked with rain clouds all day so we ended up climbing at Duntelchaig. We were greeted with blue skies and a nice breeze and good dry rock. Donald and I climbed on Dracula Buttress ticking off Dracula (E3 5c), Frankenstein (E2 5c), Balrog (HVS 5b) and made a start on Vampire (E3 6a), but Donald backed off as the route was dirty and clearly un-climbed for quite a while. We also climbed a route between Frankenstein and Balrog which wasn't in the guide book, I thought it was E1 5a. Alan and Chuck started climbing over on The Main Crag and then came over to Dracula Buttress and climbed Balrog. More wet and unsettled weather due for Scotland over the next few days, with the East coast looking a little more appealing. No photo's today.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Ben Nevis Ridges

Today I headed up into the North Face of Ben Nevis on my own with a plan to tick off some of the ridges I haven't done. Firstly I went up Observatory Ridge. This 420m VDiff is a great route with most of the difficulty at the bottom. Once I got to the top I headed over to the summit then went down Tower Ridge which is a 600m Diff. A great way to descend off the summit. Once at the bottom, I traversed over beyond Carn Dearg Buttress to Castle Ridge which is a 275m Mod (easiest out of the 4 Ben ridges). Once I got to the top, I headed up to find the top of Ledge route which is 450m Easy and descended it. Not a very pleasant decent in summer!! It was my first time on Observatory and Castle and they both look like really good winter lines. Cant wait to get out and play on them. The rock was looking quite dry today until 3pm when the forested rain fell hard and saturated everything again. I passed a party on Tower Ridge and saw Donald (Abacus Mountaineering) with clients going up Observatory ridge.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Climbing in Glencoe

Today Chuck and I headed up to North Buttress East Face of Bauchaille Etive Mor and started off on Crows Nest Crack (VS 4c). I led up the first pitch and came across quite a few wet and slimy hold so I think it could have done with an extra dry day! The reason we went up to this area was that if the weather forecast was right, we could have had other easier options in the rain. It turned out the weather forecast was wrong. Anyway after rapping of the top of the first pitch, the ropes became jammed so we both soloed up Shackle route which is a great Severe climb. After retrieving the rope we went to look at some routes on Rannoch wall, but the wet got the better of them so we decided to solo Agag's (VD) and down climb Curved Ridge. Nice productive day. Can you work out what important item of equipment I left in the car?