Thursday, 27 September 2012

Agag's Groove

Yesterday I was trying an 8a and fell off many times so it was nice to get up a route without falling.  Today I took Billy and Dave up Agag's Groove (VD) on Rannoch wall.  This was perfect for them as they requested an easy route with lots of exposure.  We had the whole face to ourselves with only a few teams on Curved Ridge including Alan who was out with Glenmore Lodge doing a MIA Assesment.  The great thing about Agag's is that it can be climbed even in the wet and as we were on the last pitch it did start to spit.  We then made a retreat down the crag via two abseils and scuttled down Curved Ridge in the rain.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Steall Hut Crag

Today Blair, Dan and I walked through Glen Nevis up towards Steall Falls in rain, wind and general miserableness!  Fortunately Steall Hut Crag is permanently dry.  Blair has been trying an 8a called Leopold and got back on that.  I wasn't feeling too strong today but thought I would give it a shot, just too see what an 8a is like.  I did quite surprise myself at how far I got on top rope.  The route is very sequency but Blair had all the beta.  I managed to get through the crux after falling off loads but it did seam possible for me to climb it in the future.  A new project I think.  As this is way harder than anything I have climbed before, it should take me quite a while to complete it but I am super psyched!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Quick Glen Nevis hit

Kenny and I headed into Glen Nevis, looked like the only dry place in the country!  Kenny was psyched for a route on Pandora's Buttress called Tomag (E4 5c).  Kenny went up for a wee look but couldn't quite get access so lowered off after a few goes.  I then jumped on and managed to find some holds and move out towards the arĂȘte.  The route follows 2 parallel cracks on an overhanging wall then goes round the arĂȘte on hand jams.  Unfortunately I fell off on the traverse due to an annoying foot pop.  I got back on and continued to find that the upper crag I was jamming in was very wet.  Not wanting to climb out on wet holds I just traversed back across removing the gear as I went and then went up Flying Dutchman (Severe).  We then went for a wee boulder instead of jumping on any more routes.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Inn Pinn plus more

I got a last minute call from Mike at Skye Guide's who knew I was up and asked me if I could take 3 up the Inn Pinn.  The guys were super keen to start early so I met them at 7.30 and we headed off in great conditions.  It was apparent right away that these guys dont hang around and we absolutely flew up the ridge to the base of the Inn Pinn.  They said that they only wanted help up the Inn Pinn and then I was free to go as they wanted to carry on to the other Munro's.  So my days work was done by 11am!  Great!  But it turned out the the guys were particularly good banter and a right laugh so I decided I would join them for the rest of their day.  As they were all super fit and with my knowledge of the ridge we bombed over Banachdich, Ghreadaidh and Mhadaidh and shot down An Dorus for lunch in Sligachan Hotel at 3pm.  Rapid day in some great weather.  Some amateur footage from the lads here!  Callum fortunately doesn't show us evidence of how he's feeling!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Single Day Ridge Traverse

Today I was back up on Skye and had been asked to help get Paddy and Mark around the Cuillin Ridge in one day.  Paddy and Mark both have plenty on mountain marathons under their belts and are quite used to being on the go all day.  So we opted for an early start of 4.30 and were under way with head torches lighting the path.  We left from Glen Brittle camp-site and headed straight onto Sgurr nan Eag for sunrise.  We then made good progress onto Sgurr Dubh Mor and back onto the ridge proper.  It was quite wet under foot as it had rained quite a bit on the walk in so we avoided the TD Gap and arrived on top of Sgurr Alasdair.  Time was on our side at this point but unfortunately we kept hitting many points of dampness on the ridge which did take its toll after a while.  From Sgurr Alasdair we made our way onto Collies Ledge and then onto the summit of Sgurr MhicChoinnich before heading up to the Inn Pinn.  Unfortunately we got there 2 minutes after a team of 5 so we joined the queue and made a chilly ascent.  Fortunately it was Bruce Poll who was ahead so he let us past and helped set up the guys as I abseiled.  Thanks Bruce!  We then proceeded onto Sgurr nan Banachdaich.  Then our problem struck us...  Marks boot fell apart!  The sole of his boot came off and was causing some concerns.  After a wee repair we carried onto Sgurr a Ghreadaidh but unfortunately Mark wasn't happy to continue scrambling with a faulty boot.  We headed into An Dorus after doing a more substantial repair.  Mark waited here as Paddy and I nipped up Sgurr a Mhadaidh and back down to walk out with Mark.  It was a great day out despite not completing the full traverse and the lesson learnt from the experience is ... Don't wear 15 year old boots on the ridge! ;-)  Brilliant weather and looking forward to doing a full one day traverse in the future!  Today I was working for Mountain Motion.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

North Face Route and Link Up

Today John and I headed to Buachaille Etive Mor to see if we could escape the weather.  On arrival to John's favourite mountain the weather didn't look hopeful.  We wandered in with an open mind, a rack and a single rope.  On arrival to Great Gully it was raining so I decided we would head up North Buttress as John had already done Curved Ridge.  Whilst popping on waterproofs and gear it cleared up and blue sky appeared all around us.  A quick change of plan.  We traversed the mountain to get to the bottom of North Face Route (Severe).  I had never done this in summer but I did it 2 winters ago to give a sustained V,6 which was fantastic.  Climbing the route in summer brought back many great memories of the winter ascent, I bit my lip on some bits, asking myself how I climbed it with crampons and axes?!  We followed the exact winter line I took and it had some great pitches of rock in the upper sections.  After topping out we nipped over to Rannoch Wall psyched for another route.  With only one rope we were unable to abseil back down but fortunately Mike was just abseiling down after climbing Agag's Groove.  John had only climbed January Jigsaw on this face.  After a chat with Mike we all went to climb another route so we could team up on the abseil.  Mike went on January Jigsaw and we set off on Agag's Groove (VD).  We caught a team up on Agag's right where Jan Jig crosses, so we decided to shoot up in front of Mike.  As John had done these last two pitches we decided to have a go on a rather slippery and slimy Satans Slit (VS), a pitch I had never tried.  We topped out and abseiled down with Mike and His client.  Thanks Mike!  a great day finished by a wee descent down Curved Ridge.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

January Jigsaw

Another great day out climbing on my favourite mountain in Glencoe.  This time I was joined by Kyle and Ben on Buachaille Etive Mor.  With only a little bit of sport climbing under their harnesses they wanted to climb a classic traditional route.  We headed up Curved Ridge to the base of the mighty Rannoch Wall.  The weather  wasn't great today but fortunately we were in the lee of it and sheltered from the wind and the rain.  The rock was pretty much dry all the way up.  We had company on the face, a team were on Agag's Groove so we climbed January Jigsaw (Severe) instead.  There were several teams on Curved Ridge too all making the most of the sheltered aspect.  From the top of our route we did two abseils back to our bags and descended curved ridge and wandered back to the car.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Project Complete

Today Kenny, Deziree and I took the drive back out to Dunkeld for try and finish Hamish Teddy's excellent Adventure (7b+).  I put the clips is and reminded myself of the moves.  Kenny and Deziree then had a play on it too as I got psyched up for my first red point attempt.  Up to the first rest went well where I was able to recover for the crux section, one little error saw me having to down climb but pressed on anyway and found the crux in my wake and shaking out at the heel hook rest.  I knew it was in the bag now, just wanted to make sure I didn't mess it up as there is one tricky section before the easy holds.  A good shake out and a visualisation of the moves set me up nicely to finish at the chains with a massive grin.  Well pleased to get it on my first red point.  I then had a look at Marlene (7c) which felt pretty hard....maybe my next project....

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Camel

Another quick drive away from the rain saw Kenny and I standing below this fantastic conglomerate crag. I have been here on a previous visit and climbed the classic Stone of Destiny (6c+) and it was a great place for us to warm up on.  I led up placing the clips and remembered how much fun it was.  I then went onto lead up Inverarnie Schwarzenegger (7a) on-sight which I was super pleased to get up without falling off.  After that we went onto the classic Paralysis by Analysis (7a+) which I fancied on-sighting but unfortunately I popped off near the top with my arms throbbing with lactic acid.  Its a fantastic route which is sustained and constantly overhanging.  Unfortunately the rain set in, this didnt affect the routes but affected the belayers moral so we agreed that we would bail.  More unfinished business to come back for.

Monday, 10 September 2012

New Project

Today Kenny and I headed back to Dunkeld as we were both keen to climb Hamish Teddy's Excellent Adventure, a fantastic sustained 7b+ which moves up the steep and technical wall of Dunkelds Upper Cave Crag.  Kenny and I both made good progress, on my first red point attempt I got a sequence wrong and got too pumped trying to correct it and on my 2nd attempt my foot popped off a smear and saw me barn dooring into thin air, unable to vice my fingers tight enough to stay on. Airtime!  Feeling really close so hopefully on my next attempt I will get it!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Mountaineeing on Skye

Today was Fabian and Erik's last day and they wanted to see what all the fuss was about with the Black Cuillin.  Unfortunately they couldn't see what it was all about but we did get a good feel of it!  We headed up to the Inn Pinn but I decided they should come back and do it another time as it was very wet and greasy but more alarmingly it was very windy.  So we missed out the Inn Pinn and headed south onto Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, along Collies Ledge, and up and over onto Sgurr Alasdair.  After leaving the car, we hit the cloud level at 300m, we were in the cloud all day and didnt get out of it until we got down to 200m above sea level.  So we didnt see much but had a great scramble along a great section of ridge and had a good scree run down the Great Stone Shoot.  A good wet finish to my 3 days with Fabian and Erik.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Neist Point

Today was day two with Erik and Fabian.  The weather was clearing from the north-west so we opted for Neist Point, the most westerly point on Skye.  We arrived to blue skies and an empty crag.  Most of the routes were dry after yesterdays rain and we set up and abseil and went into the Financial Sector, quite fitting as Fabian works in this sector in Switzerland.  We started off on Shocks and Stares (HS 4b) which the guys learnt how to fist jam, something they have never had to do on bolted sport routes in their country.  Fortunately they were quick learners.  After topping out we all abseiled back in and I led them up Midas Touch (VS 4c) which goes up to a wee roof and follows a curving overhang to its end and then pulls through on good holds, a fantastic route.  We were all psyched for the route to the right which shared the same start but took another overhang and followed a groove come crack.  Hand-jamming-tastic!  The guys both did very well on this route too.

We then went down to Destitution Point which is directly above the water so we had to abseil into a belay and climb back out.  We firstly climbed Man of Straw (VS 4c) and then went back in and made a quick ascent of Come Around To My Way of Thinking (E1 5b).  A great place to spend a day, in fact a great place to spend lots of days, so much to climb!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sea cliff climbing on Skye

Well day one with Erik and Fabian from Switzerland was almost put on hold due to the horrendous weather that was sitting on Skye.  After a delayed start (to allow the weather to pass, which it never really did), we headed up to Kilt Rock at 4pm to get a couple of routes done.  Unfortunately there was still a bit of drizzle and the routes were all still very wet but we managed to climb 2 routes.  We headed down North Gully but were met by a garrison of midgies so retreated to the top of the crag and I got the guys to lower each other into Stomper (Severe) and Pied Piper (E1 5b).  After both of these we looked at setting up for abseiling at sea cliffs and chatted through considerations the sea cliff climbers need to think about to make a safe and enjoyable day.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Creag Dubh

Another great day cragging with Kenny.  We headed up to the Great Wall and Kenny led up Over The Hill (E3 5c), a fantastic steep jug pull with spaced gear and a little tricky section at the top.  A brilliant route.  We then went over to Waterfall Wall and I led up Wet Dreams (E2 5c) which was also a wicked route.  After this Kenny had a shot on Bratach Uaine (E4 6a) but wasn't able to keep the pump away.  He lowered off and I tied in and got up the route before the pump set in.  A great route which requires a steady touch in the upper sections.  Another great day and a good 9 E points.  Off too Skye now for 3 days, hope we have some good weather.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Today Kenny and I headed East in search of dry rock as the West coast was surprisingly damp.  It turned out to be fantastic over at Dunkeld and we headed straight up to Upper Cave Crag.  On arrival we realised we left our wires in the car so all we had was a set of cams.  Neither of us fancied heading back down so we just got on Death's Head (E1 5b) and then onto Marjorie Razorblade (E3 6a).  Both worked perfectly with only a rack of cams.  We then went and climbed Tombstone (E2 5c) before heading onto the sport routes.  I hadn't tried the sports routes and we got onto Hamish Teddy's Excellent Adventure (7b+) which was awesome, great climbing up the steep was which is really sustained and interesting throughout.  I think a few more goes and I'll have it in the bag.  After a few goes on it we were totally boxed and had to retreat from the  crag.  Psyched to go back!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Tower Ridge and Ledge Route

Finally back in Scotland, from what feels like 3 months away (was only 2), and what a great way to get back in the swing of things.  I was out with Mick who has expressed an interest in doing the Cuillin Ridge traverse, so today I took Mick up Tower Ridge and then down Ledge Route.  I left my watch at home and on the summit when I checked my phone it was 12.30, pretty good going as we left the car at 9am.  Coming down Ledge Route was also just as fast as coming down the tourist route but much more interesting.  So after a good day out with Mick, I think he should go for a Skye Ridge attempt, he has a wee action plan to make life easier for him but he has the capability to succeed.  A great day and I'm so glad to be back in Scotland.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chapel Head Scar

Yesterday I arrived in the Lakes to see the family and today I met up with John for a few routes on bolted limestone.  Everything felt pretty hard here.  Ended up getting super pumped on route which usually feel ok at the grade and tried a couple and got nowhere due to the fact that my forearms were going to explode.  I cant remember which routes we did but it was great fun!