Thursday, 27 November 2014

Where is winter?

This time 2 years ago it was winter.  Donald King and I on Strident Edge
I keep asking myself this.  For some reason I feel the summits should be covered in snow, the crags plastered and my evenings spent drying out my winter climbing kit.  What is different?  Nothing.  I've looked back to last year and I didn't do my first route of the season until 6th December.  The Sourcerer on Ben Nevis with Keith Ball and Kenny Grant.  Patience Guy!  Looking back further though to 2012 I did my first winter route on the 31st October!  Archangel with Kenny.  I think the reason I have found myself at the indoor climbing walls and mountain bike tracks is because usually I will be in Spain this year getting some sunshine and building some strength for the winter.  After a good trip in the USA and the Alps I thought it would be best to give it a miss this year.
A brilliant dry tooling crag

Traditionally not a busy time of the year work wise but bits and bobs have come in, some obscure, some normal and I have had plenty of opportunities to climb, walk, bike, run, gym and generally just enjoy Scotland in the Autumn...which has been really good this year.

Accommodation for a night
Coming off the back of Castle Ridge
Spent some sub optimal days on some Munro's I haven't been on, spent a night in the CIC followed by an ascent of Castle Ridge on Ben Nevis, a chilly day on North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor, dry tooling with Martin Moran at his local crag at Loch Carron, multiple sessions at the Ice Factor, I spent a day keeping an eye on 6 mast technicians carrying out repairs on the Network Rail mast on the summit of Meall a'Bhuiridh in Glencoe.  We got a ride up in an very interesting vehicle...think Norwegian Special Forces!
Transport to work!

I had very little to do this day!

I had a day with Blair Fyffe (avalanche forecaster for SAIS and my flat mate) on Ben Nevis looking at the existing snow patches as he monitors them from year to year to see how long they last.  He was sharing some very useful insights into the coming winter, he is 'Dr Snow' after all and I hope he is right!
Closest I have been to winter climbing so far this season!
 I have just been on a brilliant 2 day Outdoor First Aid course ran by BASP and held at Glenmore Lodge.  Great to refresh the skills and have the peace of mind that I will be doing the right thing if I find myself involved with an incident.

Winter is looking very busy this season and so is next Spring.  Bookings and enquiries are coming in left, right and centre.  If you are interested in any winter action then please get in touch,  I have some space around Christmas and New year, 12th-16th January, 2nd - 7th February and a couple of weeks in March are available.  Please get in touch if you are interested in brushing up your winter skills, mountaineering or climbing.  Fancy some classic routes?  I can do that too.  All tailor made to suit you and your group.

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