Saturday, 27 February 2010

Mountaineering Course

Yesterday I took a day off and Thursday I was assisting Kenny with 5 clients. As the weather was terrible, we spent the day in the Ice Factor rock and ice climbing, dry tooling and showing the guys rope work techniques and rescue procedures.

Today I was shadowing Andy Spink as he was running a mountaineering course for 3 people. We looked at snow anchors, avalanche conditions, emergency shelters, weather, using the rope for protection. We were on the edge of Callert Hill in some good snow patches, winds looked strong on the tops but we were relatively sheltered and in the the sun.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Real weather at last!

Today was the last day for the London Met Police Mountaineering Club. Finally they experienced some real Scottish weather! 70 mph gusts, driving snow and very cold winds. The last 3 days we had red faces from sunburn, today it was red faces from a blasting! The aim of the day was for the group to put their skills into practice and take more of a leading role. The group navigated the whole day with me giving input where needed. The poor visibility meant the group really needed to be switched on with the nav, which they were. We walked from Callert Cottages on the North side of Loch Leven up to the summit of the Corbett, Mam na Gualainn (796m) then over to Beinn na Caillich (764m) and headed down to pick up the West Highland Way. A great 4 days with a great bunch of guy's and girls.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Day 3 Winter Skills

Today was navigation day for the London Police Mountaineering Club. We headed into the Mamores to develop their map and compass skills. We headed from Mamore Lodge up into Coire na Ba, up onto the SE ridge of Stob Coire a Chairn, then to the summit, followed the SW ridge down to the col and descended into Coire a Bhodaich. A very warm sunny day again. We also met 70+ Royal Marines coming over into Kinlochleven from Glen Nevis. Busy day in the Mamores.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Day 2 Winter Skills

Day 2 for the London Police, we headed up to Aonach Mor today to give the team a bit of a rest by getting the gondola up. We headed round to the Nid area for some Ice axe arrest practice, avalanche awarenes and movement up steep gound. We headed up to the top of the ski lifts and pressed on to the summit of Aonach Mor looking at pacing across the plateau. Tomorrow (day 3) is our navigation day. Again the weather was excellent, climbers on Left twin, Forgotten twin and others, some skiers and boarders out aswell.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Police on winter skills

Today was Day 1 for the London Metropolitan Police Mountaineering club. They are with me for 4 days looking to winterise their summer skills, for some of them blowing away cobwebs and starting from scratch for a couple. Today was about safe movement around the mountain and getting used to the new equipment they will be using for the next few days. The weather was great again and looking good for the next few days. We spent the day on Buachaille Etive Beag where there were quite a few other teams out enjoying the vitamin D!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Sun burn

Today I had an unexpected day off so I headed up to the piste's on Aonach Mor with my board and Ipod. Conditions were great today, a little icy in patches but generally really good cover. Dropped off the back corries as well and met quite a few rocks on the way out so choose your line carefully. Sun cream is a good idea, I forgot mine so a little red. Went for a dry tooling session at Al's wall this evening just to totally wear myself out.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Aonach Mor

Today I was out with Nick who is up from London. The aim of the day was to make him comfortable about moving around a snowy mountain with and without crampons and also we practiced ice axe arrests in the nice soft powder. We started of in the Nid area and then followed the ridge up to the top lift and then carried onto the summit of Aonach Mor (1221m). From here we walked down along the chair. Many groups out doing winter skills/mountaineering courses, some climbers and lots of skiers and boarders. Loads of powder on the tops.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A groove and a gully

Today Campbell and I headed up into Stob Coire nan Lochain in Glencoe and climbed Twisting Grooves (IV,5) which follows a couple of chimneys which provide some really good climbing. The turf was bomber and most of the cracks were clear of ice. We descended Broad Gully (I) and then headed over and climbed SC Gully (III) as its a route I have never done and one that everyone else has. This also is a brilliant route with good ice and a nice little crux section. Lots of snow around but didn't really notice any windslab. Cornices were looking pretty healthy though. Teams on Twisting Gully, SC, Dorsal and Tilt (got some really good photo's of them, check out the belayer getting showered with spindrift)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Last night I called up Ben and persuaded him to come to the West and get a route in on Ben Nevis. Lots of snow had fallen, we were thinking of spending many hours wading through North-East Buttress but on the way in decided it looked like hard work. We went up and climbed Cutlass (VI,7) on the Douglas Boulder instead. Ben went up the first pitch and I took the next two pitches which both had very good climbing on. Ben then ran out 30m of rope and we just abbed into Douglas Gap West Gully and headed off the hill. A team on Ledge Route and a team on Tower Ridge as far as we could see.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Fresh snow on the tops

Today I took a group of 6 up Buachaille Etive Beag to go over winter skills with them. They had done a winter skills course a couple of years ago but wanted a refresher. We walked up both peaks with some great views between the creeping cloud. Few other teams on the hill with us, it looked like SCNL was very busy today.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Winter Skills Day 2 and Aonach Mor

Yesterday I took Yvonne and Giles on their second day of their winter skills course for the Ice Factor. We planned on having a journey day so we walked upto Stob Coire nan Lochain via the SW ridge. From the summit we walked over to Bidean nam Bian and then decended into the Lost Vally and back to the car. The snow was very wet and sticky, crampons were balling up after every other step despite having anti-balling plates! A very busy day on the hill.

Today I was on Aonach Mor going over some rope work skills above the Nid area. Some nice looking cornices formed and a fair ammount of snow had fallen. Lots of winter skills courses out and quite a few skiers. No photo's today, forgot my camera.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Winter Skills Day 1

Today I went out with Yvonne and Giles up to Buachaille Etive Beag to develope their winter skills. Headed up to the col between the two peaks and practiced movement skills with and without crampons, axe skills, self arresting, avalanche awareness, route planning, talked about the weather and how it can affect us. There was very little wind today and views in all directions. Many teams up on the mountain with us, a busy Saturday.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Twisting Gully

Today Gordon headed up to SCNL and climbed Twisting Gully which was is great condition. Teams on SC gully, Moonshadow, Central Grooves, East Face Direct and Dorsal. We descended down Broad Gully, on the way down I decided to nip up Dorsal, so I dumped my harness and rope and shot up in 4.5 mins and caught up with Gordon again before he got to the bags.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Curved Ridge

Today Grant and I went and climbed Curved Ridge. Again it was a really stunning day, kept on the sunglasses all day. We didn't see anyone else on the ridge with us, there was one team on the next ridge along. We made good time up the ridge, this was Grants first time on this type of ground which he found challenging and eventually he started to enjoy himself (I think!). We saw teams in Coire na Tulaich playing around with ropes and the Royal Navy helicopter playing around on the tops.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

North Gully, SCNL

Today Grant and I headed up into Stob Coire nan Lochain for a little bit of sun bathing. Only joking, we looked at mountaineering skills that would be needed for moving up and down easy snow gullies. We looked at bucket seats, buried axe's, T-axes, bollards, stompers, slings and spikes, simple rope work and knots (it does get easier Grant!). We went up North Gully (I) which had monster cornices hanging over above us, we then walked up to the summit and descended Easy Gully (I). Teams out on SC, NC, Twisting and lots of walkers enjoying the alpine weather.