Friday, 14 March 2014

North West HIghlights

An Teallach
A quick solo saw me on the tops whilst my clients chilled at camp
My North West highlands winter working season has came to an end yesterday as I finished off a Winter Mountaineering course for Moran Mountain, based from Lochcarron.  I'm pretty confident to say that we endured the finest weather seen this winter with 3.5 days of glorious sunshine.  Skills at Fuar Tholl were followed by a traverse of Beinn Eighe's Black Carls in strong sunlight which lead on to the highlight of the week, a two day expedition camping below An Teallach followed by an alpine style traverse of the pinnacles and the Munro's.  We donned our crampons at 4.40am and climbed Cockstone Gully with head torches which allowed us to witness sunrise across Scotland's clear skies.  A breath taking experience and one that will stay with me forever.  What followed can only be described as 'the best day at work I have ever done' and in the top two of my favourite mountaineering days in Scotland!

Sam and Katya ready for their torch lit climb

Near the top of Chockstone Gully

Sam leading Katya and I along the ridge

Looking back across the skyline we just climbed

On holiday and at work

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Forcan Ridge

Our objective
Over the last two day's I have been up in the North West finishing off the last two days of a 5 day mountaineering day for Moran Mountain.  The original was to spend a night in a snow hole however the conditions didnt allow.  Yesterday we did some low level navigation and then back to the clients lodge for some rope work.  Today we went and made an ascent of the Forcan RIdge in Glen Shiel.  We had suitable weather for most of the day and were high enough that when it snowed we didnt get wet.  Naturally we got very damp on the walk down but that is pretty standard this season.  Next week is looking nicer, high pressure moving in which will be welcomed with open arms.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Aladdin's Couloir

All or nothing!
Today was something new for me.  With amazing snow conditions we left the climbing gear and took out the ski's for a slide around the Cairngorm's.  Unfortunately I dont have skin's at the moment so we were limited to the ski centre hwever we decided to go for a walk and we ended up at the top of Aladdin's Couloir.  A grade I gully, something I would climb up, not ski down.  We today was different!  First time I have ski'd a graded gully and it was really fun,  We wet a team at the top who had just climbed it in 4 hours, I felt a little smug when I ski'd it in 2 minutes!  A brilliant day!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Norway Ice

Day one
 I have been out in Aurland, Norway working on a Technical Ice climbing course for Moran Mountain.  We climbed lots of steep ice in a place that makes Rjukan look like Kingussie crag!  A truly stunning place with hundred's of ice falls which have never had axes swung into.  Anything from roadside to over 1 hour walk ins if you wish.  Single pitch to huge 8-10 pitch routes.
Day 2 Kitty seconding our First Ascent '2 Bangs and a slap' WI4

Suzanne getting stuck into '2 bangs and a slap'

Scottish conditions followed me to Norway

Suzanne and Kitty happy with our new first ascent

Another abseil down a brilliant 5 pitch WI4

Hanging out

Brilliant WI5 'scottish stylee' gully

More steep ice!

Cool features