Monday, 30 April 2012

Cuillin Traverse

Today Rob and I arrived back from a successful two day traverse of the Skye Ridge.  Rob is up on Skye for a long holiday and had decided that he wanted to do the ridge and we chose the best weather window.  We started from Glen Brittle at 8am and headed onto Sgurr nan Eag.  From here we headed north over all the tops.  As Rob hadn't done much climbing so we went in and climbed the TD Gap and the Inn Pin to find his feet.  Progress was so good that we got to the 3 tops of Sgurr a' Mhadaidh by 5pm and decided that this was enough for one day.  We melted snow for water, saved any long walks down the hill to find a stream.  Day two we knew the weather was coming in so we left our bivi site at 6am.  This meant we could get down before the worst of the weather....the bad weather came early :-( We bypassed Am Bastier and finished the traverse on Sgurr nan Gillean and got back to the Sligachan at 1 in the afternoon, ready for a well earned drink!  Another fantastic two days on Skye.  Thanks to Tony from Climb Skye for kitting out Rob.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Stag party on Ben Nevis

|Today Ewan and his team had come up from London on the sleeper for phase one of the Stag Do.  I picked them up at the train station at 10am and had to get them up and down Ben Nevis and back for their train to Edinburgh for 5.30.  Conditions were quite mixed, lots of sunshine and lots of snow after the 3rd zig zag.  Were managed to avoid all the snow showers and never needed to pop on waterproofs.  There was a bit of traction control failures on the snow (especially Ben who had boots which had a similar sole to bowling shoes!)  We managed to get up and down in 6 hours which gave us time to celebrate with a pint in the Ben Nevis Inn.  Well done to all the team and I hope the rest of the weekend goes well.  Im off to Skye on Saturday for a ridge attempt.  The weather looks great for the next few days so if you want any scrambling, climbing or Munro bagging, let me know as I can stay up a little longer.  Not to be missed.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Quick day in Glencoe

Today I was out with returning customer John.  He as had an absence from the Scottish hills so was keen for getting out on something that wasn't too challenging or anything to energetic as he wasn't feeling too fit.  It turns out that he is super fit and after a 9am pick up at Ballachulish, were were at the top of Stob Dearg on Buachaille Etive Mor by 12.00.  And that was via Curved Ridge!  So with plenty of time left in the day and fantastic conditions we headed over the back to Stob na Broige.  It was very windy and a nice wintry ambience on the mountain.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Final Day on Skye

Today was my final day on Skye working for Skye Guides. And what a finale we had. Today I was back out with Mike, Gary and Craig and we had the same plan as Mikes friends Helen and Neil. We set off from Sligachan and headed up into the mountains. Out first point of call was Am Bastier and then we dropped down onto the tooth. Crampons weren't needed for the say as it was easy to kick in on the approach and becoming quite bare on the ridge. We abseiled down Kings Cave Chimney to have a quick look at Hung Drawn and Quartered (VIII,8) which looks like a fantastic line. Next year maybe. We then all carried onto Bruach na Frithe which gave great views. Everyone then went on to descend Fionn Choire but Neil and I decided on going over Sgurr a Bhastier to provide a little more interest. A great finish to 3 great day in the Cullin. Quick pint in Sligachan then back to Fort William.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Winter on Skye

Today I was back out With Mike from Skye Guides and this time we were out with Chris. I looked after Chris today with Mike sharing his local knowledge about the area we were in. Today's objectives were Sgurr a' Mhadaidh (the Foxes Peak) and Sgurr a' Ghreadaidh (Peak of the thrashing or mighty winds). We approached up through Coire An Dorus then up into An Dorus (The Door) and headed north onto Mhadaidh. From here we retraced out steps then continued onto Ghreadaidh wandering past the Wart. From the summit we retraced our steps back down to the Eag Dubh (black notch) and descended this which was filled with soft snow and was great fun. Again today we seemed to have all seasons in one day, resulting in a great day! I'm starting to believe that you always have a good day on Skye! Its defiantly the case for me!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Out on Skye

Today I was out observing Mike Lates from Skye Guides as he knows the Cullin like the back of his hand. Ever since I did the ridge traverse I have really wanted to climb and guide on the ridge. On arrival to the Island last night, I was met by a heavy rainfall, not a great transition from yesterdays rock climbing, however this was falling as snow on the tops. With crampons in the bag Mike, Chris , Craig and myself headed up into Coire Lagan and made our way up onto An Stac screes and then headed south to Sgurr Mhic Choinnich – MacKenzie's peak (famous Guide). The plan was to go onto Sgurr Alasdair – Alexanders peak (Nicholson) however with the snow, progress was slow so we headed back down. We backtracked our route which brought us back to the An Stac screes for a speedy descent back down into Coire Lagan.

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Long Reach

Again we were blessed with more fantastic weather so I suggested to Graham and Neil that we hit the Etive Slabs. Give it a couple of months and this place will be swarmed with midgies and no doubt wet! I was really keen to climb The Long Reach (E1 5b) and as none of us had done it before we got it sent. It was classic Etive Slabs climbing, bold and fun! It was fantastic. Climbing in a t-shirt in April in Scotland is always a great experience. We had the whole place to ourselves, which was a real shame as every route was dry and it was perfect Etive conditions, Hot sunshine with a light breeze. After topping out we headed back to Fort William where I packed up my bags and headed for Skye.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Glen Nevis Hit

Today was another stunner in Lochaber so I headed down Glen Nevis armed with my bouldering mat and chalk. On arrival I bumped into Neil at the car park who had the same idea. We headed up to Heather Hat and climbed until our fingertips were no more. Neil was telling me how he had attempted Storm the other day but didnt get to the top due to a wet top pitch. So we went and got out the rope and rack and went and climbed Storm (HVS 5a). I was then keen to climb the bold and brilliant Fang (E2 5b) to finish off the day. Its a fantastic wee route with barely adequate gear but great climbing.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Glen Nevis Hit

This afternoon I shot up into the Glen between rain showers to see if anything was dry. I went up to Scimitar Buttress to find a couple of routes dry there. I carried on to see if Scimitar Upper Buttress was dry but it wasnt. After hiding under a boulder as a heavy rain shower passed, back down to Scimitar Buttress, I nipped up to the top of the crag and dropped a rope down Fingertip Finale (E4 5c) which went pretty easily, I was suprised! I then had a go on Precious Cargo (E5 6a) which also went first time. So a couple of quick routes climbed using a Shunt as protection. I just topped out on the 2nd route as thunder rumbled and the heavens opened......again! Home time!
Plenty of snow up on the tops too, lots of fresh snow has been falling!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ben Nevis Night Ascent

So at 00.00 hours this morning I set of with two keen Essex blokes who were aiming to complete the 3 peaks challenge in 24 hours. They had originally planned to do this without a guide but as the weather was poor and there was still quite alot of snow up there, they decided against it, which was a good idea. Visibility became very poor just below the Red Burn and it was very moist in the air. We summited after 4 hours and descended in 2 hours and 40 mins, giving the guys a good challenge to complete in time. On arrival to the summit shelter we found quite a large amount of rubbish in the shelter. I carried a 4 man tent down which had been destroyed and left up there. If you are up on the summit, bring something down with you because the dustbin men don't go up there! Do your bit before it encourages other to leave more rubbish up there.
This morning I was working for West Coast Mountain Guides. This afternoon I was sleeping.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ruthven Boulder

Today Blair and I headed away from a wet Fort William to another wet part of Scotland! On arrival to this boulder on the south side of Loch Ness we were met by a pretty substantial rainfall. After some cursing and some sandwiches, the rain stopped and we were able to make our way over to the rock. There is a nice overhanging section which mostly stayed dry but unfortunately Blair wasn't able to do his uber link up as some crucial holds were wet. So he did laps on the sections that were dry. I also tried to do laps but unfortunately I needed to work on the sequences and moves before I could go crazy. So after a good workout and one problem ticked, we headed home, pumped and content!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Steall Hut Crag

Today Blair and I headed up into Glen Nevis dodging the rain showers and puddles. We arrived at Steall Hut Crag to find Greg and Mike getting a work out on an 8a there. With quite alot of seepage around Blair and I had a go on the only route that looked dry (and the only route I had a chance of getting to the top of). We had a few goes on Trick of the Tail (7b+) which, quite frankly is nails, especially for my weak arms. I managed to get up to the top and workout most of the moves but felt I was a long way off leading it. Its proper run out at the start after the first need for that! Fortunately Blair found it hard and scary too so I knew it just wasn't me.