Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tower Ridge

Lovely morning
Carn Dearg looking pretty dry
Finally back on the main land and back on Ben Nevis today.  Its been a while but fortunately I was working with Bruce for West Coast Mountain Guides and we took 4 keen hill walkers up Tower Ridge for a change of pace.  It was quite amazing how much snow is still up there, we were able to avoid it and didn't need an axe or crampons.  We came off a very busy summit and down the CMD arête which was also clear of snow.  A beautiful clear day and really good fun spending it on one of the best mountaineering days out in Scotland.

Douglas Gap

Lots of snow up there

The team on the CMD

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Ben Nevis

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Successful Ridge Traverse

Neil and Wallace on peak number 1 
Lovely day to be on the ridge
Wallace on the In Pinn
It all worked out, this time Neil and Wallace got to celebrate their success on the Cuillin Ridge Traverse.  We had perfect weather on the first day making good progress and ticking off 6 Munro's on the first day in sunshine and light winds.  Our bivi was one of the better one's, chilly but dry with lots of grub to keep our energy levels up.  Day two was also nice, threat of rain was around us but never really developed.  The clouds dropped down in the early afternoon but fortunately we were in the pub.  The 5am start was worth it.

This traverse marks the end of this stint of work on Skye (back next month) so now back over to Fort William for some work on Ben Nevis.
Nearly there
Not a bad day

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pinnacle Ridge

Today I was out with Neil and Wallace who are up from the South to complete the Cuillin Ridge.  The finest way is by a traverse so with this forecast it was game on.  Today was not such a nice day so we went for a training day on Pinnacle Ridge.  This gave us a chance to coach some scrambling and climbing, get to grips with the rope work, practice abseiling, spend time with gear and chat about the upcoming two days.  As it was so wet I didn't get any photo's today.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Quick up and down on Skye

Today I was back out with a group who have been on the Island all week bagging the Munro’s and today I helped the team of 4 touch the cairns on Sgurr Mhadaidh and Sgurr a Ghreadaidh.  Strong gusts and driving rain made for some interesting moments as we were getting blown away but as time ticked away the weather did improve slightly.  Unfortunately not enough for me to take photos but enough for me to take my hood down for an hour.  The last 3 days I have been working for West Coast Mountain Guides No pics today either.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

North End on Skye

Hmmm...ok, maybe yesterday was too nice!  Today was quite the opposite!  Will and Laura were keen for more and we had David along.  David is on the final 10 of his Munro campaign and he wanted to join up on Am Basteir and Sgurr nan Gillean, as his previous attempt was unsuccessful.  It was constant rain today and cloud down to 300m.  A stark contrast to what Laura and will had yesterday but a very memorable experience.  We succeeded in our summit pushes and David bagged 2 more Munro’s, Will and Laura explored more of Skye and got to grips with wet scrambling and I had my work cut out keeping everyone moving and keeping them warm.  A good challenging day washed down with a coffee, a Talisker and a beer in the Slig! No photos today

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Mega day on Skye

Laura and Will feeling good
Laura and Will with our next objective in the background
What a difference a day makes!  I always say it and I always mean it!  One nice day on the Cuillin makes up for 10 wet, windy and grotty days.  Today was the nice day.  I was accompanied by Laura and Will who had made their way up from Portsmouth to explore what Skye has to offer.  With no fixed objective and very limited scrambling experience we aimed for some nice Munro's, with nice scrambling and breathtaking views.  Sgurr MhicChonnich, Inaccessible Pinnacle and over to Sgurr Banachdich and finishing down the brilliant east ridge to Sgurr nan Gobhar.  The mountains were alive with explorers seeking out the delights of the Cuillin, every summit I could see held climber taking in the views to the outer Hebrides and the mainland.

Inn Pinn

We did that!! 

Our route behind

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Coire Lagan Round

Andy on the Cioch
So with the forecast as it was there was going to be no window for a ridge traverse with Andy.  So today we went for the brilliant round of Coire Lagan, a route that pick’s out some of Skye’s most iconic rock.  Unsurprisingly the forecast was deteriorating so an early start saw that we got up and off the Cioch and over Sgurr Alasdair before we donned our waterproofs.  From Sgurr MhicCoinnich all hell broke loose, heavy downpour which didn't stop, clouds rolled in thick and fast leaving only a view of our close proximity.  The desire to climb An Stac and the Inaccessible Pinnacle was not strong with Andy.  With a desire to climb these sections with a nice view he promised to return to Skye and with that pact, he headed down the An Stac screes and out to the car.  Unsurprisingly we didn’t see or hear anyone in the mountains.  The last 3 days I have been working for Skye Guides.

Andy heading up Sgurr Alasdair


Friday, 16 May 2014

Kilt Rock and Staffin

Andy feeling chilly but loving the climbing
Today we had a break in the weather so Andy and I got an early start and snatched some routes on the amazing sea cliffs on Skye.  First we went to Kilt Rock hoping it would be sheltered by the winds but unfortunately not.  We climbed Clandestine (VS 4c) which is a fantastic rising traverse line on good holds, excellent gear and an airy position.  Unfortunately it was too cold to stay here, full exposure to the wind was a bit chilly.  We jumped in the car and hit Staffin Slip Area which was way more sheltered and very pleasant.  We jammed our way up Lats up a Drainpipe (HVS 5a) and Lateral Thinking (E1 5b) giving Andy plenty of scabs on the back of his hands as its mainly about the hand jams.  The foretasted down pore arrived at 2pm so we bailed to the car and onto Portree for coffee and a massive slice of cake!  Yum!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Pinnicle Ridge

Looks like another Traverse Course is to be dampened by the weather this week.  It looks to be a case of 'a day at a time'.  Today was a very wet day so Andy and I opted for the brilliant Pinnacle Ridge leading us on to Sgurr na Gillean.  As we were quite rapid we went on to the greasy Am Basteir and then down King Cave Chimney just to add to the excitement and wetness.  Andy has no desire to go bagging Munro's so we didn't go up Bruach na Frithe just for the sake of it...we went down for a cup of tea instead!
A spot of shelter in Kings Cave

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

1st Cuillin traverse

2 down
Finally a break in the weather for a traverse.  I was out with Katya, Sam and Aide, a team I had last winter and they were keen as mustard for a ridge traverse.  Only committing 2 days it had to be good weather and they were full of good luck.  A beautiful first day, a clear bivi and some proper Scottish weather on the 2nd afternoon.  Thank god for the 5am start!  I'll let the photo's do the talking.

In Pinn

6 down

Room with a view

Morning has broken

On it again

Getting there

Happy team on the final summit, a great 2 days!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Kilt Rock

Donald on Grey Panther
Great views from the belay
Donald moving in from the arête
Donald and I managed to snatch a couple of hours to go rock climbing today and we opted for a sunny Kilt Rock.  I've climbed here quite alot but Donald hasn't so he led up the uber classic Grey Panther (E1 5b), a world class route for sure!  I then led up Edge of Beyond (E2 5c) which has a wild traverse onto an airy arête but again is a super line to climb.  Unfortunately Donald had to head south so we had to call it a day but was a great laugh with some great climbing.  Traverse tomorrow!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dubh's Ridge

Nice commute to work
Team loving the boat ride in
A bit of rain doesn't dampen moral
Second day with Rory, Phil, Rupert and Mark.  Unfortunately Rupert was unable to join us on the hill, however he played a key part to the logistics by doing a wee bit of driving to make our life a bit easier.  Today was started by a high speed rib from Elgol into Loch Coruisk where we started the longest climb in the uk.  750m of amazing slab climbing.  I had never done this route before so it was great to work with Donald who has ascended this route several times and found all the best sections.  The team became slab masters by the end of this and were moving so well we went on to summit Sgurr nan Eag after we topped out on Sgurr Dubh Mor.  Another brilliant day and some new territory for me.  The boat ride in cant help but put a smile on your face.  The best way to start any day!

Looong way down

No need for a caption here

Endless fun!

Donald leading the team up super grippy rock!

Anything goes apparently!