Friday, 24 December 2010

Dorsal Arete

Today was Emma's second day out in the winter and she was super keen for some more climbing. We went and climbed Dorsal ArĂȘte (II) in Stob Coire nan Lochain in Glencoe. Again the weather was perfect and the mountain was near to empty. Al Halewood was on Twisting Gully which looked to be in good condition. Dorsal was in excellent condition with really good firm neve all the way.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ledge Route

Today was Emma's first winter climb. Infact it was her first winter day out in the mountains. I chose Ledge Route (II) on Ben Nevis as it is a really quality day out and never too difficult and exposed. The weather was perfect today, hardly any wind, no cloud and wall to wall blue skies. We went onto the summit as Emma had never been up there in winter. To say she was impressed would be an understatement! We saw teams on Tower Ridge, Gargoyle Wall and a team climbed up number 4 gully.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Launchy Gill

Today Izzi and I made our way over to Thirlmere and went for a look at Launchy Gill (III). On arrival it was clear the lower pitches were not in condition but the 20m steepening was good sport. We spent quite a while there looking at ice climbing techniques, this was Izzi's 2nd winter climb. When we stuck to the right of the Ice fall it was grade III, but further left it felt good at grade IV. Several other teams climbed on by and some carried on up for the upper pitches.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Today Rich, Jamie and I took the long walk (3 hours) into Stob Coire an Laoigh in the Grey Corries. We had the crag too ourselves and the walk in was steady going. The crag was in great condition, the left hand side of the crag was pretty covered with snow however the right side was more suitable. We climbed Taliballan (V,6). It was a great route, I linked the first two pitches together, Rich linked the 3rd and 4th and I led the final pitch. The route is pretty sustained with interesting and tricky climbing on each pitch. There was alot of clearing of snow to do but other than that its in great condition. Well worth the 3 hour walk in! Heading back to the Lake District tomorrow, back in Scotland next month.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Darth Vader

This morning I woke up to quite a good dusting of snow in Fort William, the roads were covered, as was my car. I met up with Ken Applegate and we headed into the Ben. We had both agreed that we would like to do Gargoyle Wall but on viewing Creag Coire na Ciste we could see that we hadent beaten the weekend climbers. We could see from the first moment that a team was on Gargoyle wall but we headed up there regardless. Everyone else we passed seemed to want to do Gargoyle Wall as well! As the climbers were still at the first belay and on the ground we decided to climb Darth Vader (VII,7) instead. The route looked and was in great condition, Ken led up the first pitch to the base of the chimney and I took us up through the next two pitches. Ken then took over again and led the final pitch to the summit plateau. We descended Number 3 Gully. Other teams were on Babylon, Sioux Wall, Lost The Place, Wendigo, Un Journee dans un Enfer Quotidien (i think), The Slab Climb and I'm sure a few more.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sioux Wall

As the routes up high on the Ben looked good yesterday, Kenny and I headed up to Number Three Gully Buttress and climbed Sioux Wall (VIII,8). Kenny made quick leads on the harder pitches and we finished the route quite quickly. The route was in perfect condition with great climbing throughout. We descended Number Three Gully. Not many climbers out today. Snow falling at the moment in Fort William.

A Hidden Gem

Today Graham and I headed up high on the Ben to Creag Coire Na Ciste. Everything was looking very white so we decided to get onto The Lost Place (V,5). This is a really good mixed route with lots of great climbing and a great finale! All the turf was bomber and placements were great. I'm surprised this route isn't climbed more often. Defiantly worth the 3 stars! We descended Number 4 Gully. We saw a team in Number Two Gully and Gargoyle Wall.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Back in Scotland

Today I kicked off with my winter season with a quick route up on Bidean Nam Bian West Top. Jamie B and I went in for a look as it's a high crag so we thought it would be ideal. We looked at a couple of different route but the didn't look in so we climbed The Gash which felt about IV,4. It was a pleasant climb but could have done with a little bit more of a freeze/thaw cycle. We came down Hourglass Gully (I). Other teams were on Crypt Route.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

At last a bit of sunshine!

Final day for Izzi today and we headed to a south facing crag so we could soak up some of the sun that was peering out. We ended up at Castle Rock in Thirlmere where we climbed several routes. Izzi did some more leading but I led most of the routes as Izzi fancied climbing some harder, steeper lines. We climbed Gangway Climb (VD), Kleine Rinne/Via Media (VS), Direct Route (VS 4b), Yew Tree Climb (VD) and finished on Slab Climb (S). Heading up to Scotland for a few days tonight.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Cold rock climbing

Today Izzi and I headed up to Raven Crag in Borrowdale and climbed Corvus (Diff). It was a cold damp day so we left the rock shoes in the car and climbed in our boots. Izzi was up for more leading so she led 3 pitches and I led the other 5 pitches. The best pitch was the hand traverse which was quite tricky in big boots but had great gear all the way across. A good 3 star route but a bit slimy in the wet.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Crag to ourselves

Day two for Izzi and more leading for her was on the cards. We went to Langdale and Izzi led all the way up Middlefell Buttress (Diff). She wanted to focus on managing the ropework and belays as if she was leading a novice with her. We abseiled off looking at simple abseil set up and ways of protecting an abseil. We then moved over and climbed The original Route (Severe). This time Izzi wanted to see ropework and stance management when two climbers are swapping leads. So this is what we did on this climb. We both led two pitches each. We abseiled off the crag again and got back to the bags just before it got dark.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Cold fingers then very wet fingers

Today I was out with Izzi who was looking for some more rock mileage. She has been out with some other instructors recently looking at building belays and placing protection. So today she wanted to get on the sharp end and do some leading. Firstly I led Izzi up all pitches on Donkeys Ears (Severe) at Shepard's Crag in Borrowdale. This gave me an opportunity to see how Izzi was moving on the rock. We then headed up to Brown Slabs and Izzi led 3 pitches up to the top. From here we abseiled down and went to climb a VD on North Buttress but it started to rain so we agreed that I would lead her up Eve (VS 4c). Half way through the route it stopped raining and it was pretty much dry at the top. We got back to the bags just before dark.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Deep snow on Ben Nevis

Today I started with 4 lads from London on the 3 Peaks Challenge. We knew right away it was going to be hard work as it had been snowing all night and still snowing up high. We got below the half way lochain and hit the snow line. As we got high the snow got deeper! The team ended up moving quite slowly and their clothing and footwear was not up to scratch for this summit so I decided we would head down and thaw out. Every other team we saw had turned back due to being ill prepared. One team had summited, however they were very well kitted out. The lads decided to come back in the summer and climb all the 3 peaks in one go so we didn't carry on to Scawfell. Today I was working for Activus Outdoors.