Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Something different!

One of the guys enjoying the swell with Eigg and Rhum behind.

So at the moment I'm instructing a three week Classic course at Outward Bound Loch Eil which has a bit of everything. The course started on Saturday and after a couple of days of getting to know the group and them getting to know each other we set off on the first of their three expeditions. Their first expedition was a sea kayak exped and we put in on Loch Moidart and had a little explore of this area before we headed out to sea along the North Channel at high tide. Once out of the channel we got some fantastic views out to Eigg, Rhum, Skye, Muck and Ardnamurchan. We paddled round the coast a little bit further as the swell started to pick up and made for the white sands of Smisary beach.

The view from my tent, I can see why people enjoy this Sea kayaking stuff.

This first exped is a good opportunity to take a first look at camp with the group and cover a lot of skills that they will need on their final unaccompanied exped. There was quite a bit of cloud around so we didn't get to see a spectacular sunset but as always the west cost didn't let us down with a beautiful orange light covering the campsite for the evening. The next day we continued North and made our way round to Glenuig to meet our pick up.

Enjoying the evening sun from the beach.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bouldering in the Glen.

After spending most of the day feeling a bit lethargic I finally manged to muster up enough energy to go up the Glen. Dan joined me too and we headed to the Cameron stone. We both had a bit of a play on this but after a good session in Alan's wall yesterday our arms were feeling it and we decided to go for something a bit slabbier. We headed up the road a bit and did a couple of routes on a slab by the road but nothing too challenging.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Success on Hoy.

Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner have completed the Longhope project on Hoy. Check out Dave's blog for more information.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Press release.

I helped out The Outdoor Capital a couple of months ago with a press release that they had with Outdoor Enthusiast Magazine. Well the magazine has hit the shelves or you can veiw it on line here. Some of you might notice that they have kindly promoted me to the lofty heights of 'Mountain Guide'. If only becoming a Guide was that easy.

Sun in the South.

With the weather in Fort William so changeable at the moment and a quite spell before a very busy period I used the opportunity to head down to the Lakes and catch up with the family. Yesterday I had a full day to kill and with the weather out the window looking fantastic I headed to Hutton roof just south of Kendal. This little limestone crag has a lot to offer, with a short walk in and catching the sun all day. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon soloing and managed to tick off about 15 routes from Diff to VS. The nature of the crag means that most of the crux's on the routes are in the first couple of meters with easier climbing to the top.

The piece and quite was disturbed by a group from Morecombe High School so with my plan at the end of the day to head back North of the border I headed for Carrock Fell near Penrith. These Boulders are situated right next to the road and are Gabbro so have amazing friction. I spent a couple of hours here working on some old problems before I carried on North to Ayr.

Back in Fort William today and back to the rain. I've got a couple more days off before I start a Classic course at Outward Bound.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A dry start, and a damp finish.

I was working on the Ben again today for Maximum Adventure with a couple who were just out for the day. It started fine this morning, better than was forecast and stayed like that until about 2pm. From then on it just rained and rained and it's still falling. That hasn't deterred the crowds again with the usual busy Saturday traffic on the mountain.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

It stayed dry!

So the forecast for today here in Lochaber was for thundery showers to start about lunch but we haven't had a drop yet. So I headed into the Glen for a boulder just after lunch. Unfortunately my shoulder is playing up again and started to shout at me as I moved onto the very strenuous over hanging moves, so I packed up my bag and decided to go for a bit of a solo instead. I soloed some of my usual trade routes and bumped into Al who was out with a couple of folk. Whilst on the gutter I came across a new bit of ab tat on the small Birch tree on the first pitch. I thought about removing it but had second thoughts thinking that Polldubh Climbing Club might have put it there. The tree would probably be fine to ab on but it won't be around for long if it gets used heavily. A beautiful day in the end and with the forecast similar for tomorrow it is hard to know what to plan for. 

Looking down pitch one of the Gutter with the 'new' tat around the tree.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

North face wings.

 Ross is an old friend of mine and we catch up every now and then, whilst we were trying to decide what to do he mentioned that he had never been up Tower ridge or the North face and with a forecast for clear Sky's it was decided.

We met in the Torlundy car park at 10.30am and headed on up to the CIC. (They have started building the new section of path this summer which will lead all the way to the CIC.) There were quite a few teams out already with people on Tower ridge, Ledge Route, Observatory ridge and a team that looked like they were heading round to do N.E. Buttress.

We decided to traverse into the ridge above Douglas gap and continued to solo up to the Great tower where we stuck on a rope to get onto the Tower and across the gap. We made good time and were topping out at 2.30pm.

A bit of traffic at the gap.

The views today were fantastic with clear site of the Cuillin, the Cairngorms, the Trossachs and the Lawers hills. We had planned to descend via Ledge route but we wanted to make the most of the weather and the visibility so we decided on the CMD arete to take us back to the car park. 6 1/2 Hours in all, so a good day for my fitness and Ross' first day on the North face.

Descending from the summit to the start of the CMD. Steall falls down in the glen.

Looking back from Cairn Mor Dearg.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Feels like summer might be here at last.

Another early start today for the first leg of the 3 peaks for Maximum Adventure. Today I was working with Steve and we met the group at the Glen Nevis visitors centre at 7am and made reasonable progress to get to the summit in just under 3 hours with  most of the group finishing the Ben leg in under 6 hours. It was a fantastic morning with hardly a cloud in the sky and I spent most of the day in just a short sleeved t-shirt for the first time this year. The cloud has been building during the day and it looks like we might get a shower or two later today but a nice day otherwise.

Looking down onto Tower ridge with Cairn Dearg Buttress bathed in the sun.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Dry rock? Believe it!

So any plans I had for climbing this morning were put on hold when I looked out the window to see a wet road and more of it falling from the sky. So after a lazy start I headed to Alan's for a training session on the wall. After an hour and a half I felt pretty tired so headed home for some lunch.  

As the afternoon went on the road outside the house started to dry up and the sky started to turn blue. (which is a colour we haven't seen much of recently) So I thought why not, packed a bag just as Dan arrived home and we decided to head for the Glen.

We were feeling lazy so headed for Heather hat which still has a few damp spots but was mostly dry. We both had a go at the arete problems but I was feeling tired from my morning session and then headed up to find a problem Dan remembered from a few years back under Dundee Buttress.

The forecast is hard to read at the moment with showers predicted but not always happening. Hopefully get out again tomorrow. 

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Two laps of the Ben.

It was busy on the Ben yesterday as per usual for a Saturday, I was working for Maximum Adventure on their 3 Peaks Challenge. There were already teams on the mountain when we set off at 4.45am and a queue of people waiting in the car park. The first team I was with were from Next and were working to raise money for Asthma UK. They were raring to go and made good time and gave me a run for my money hitting the 4 hour mark up and down.

Round two was yet another three peaks but with a small group of three. We started at midday and they made good time also being back at the bus for just after half five. No pics I'm afraid only because both teams were going so well I didn't really have time to stop.

It is forecast to be much drier this week so hopefully I'll manage to get out on some rock.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Discounted Mountaineering courses this June.

Ledge Route on Ben Nevis.

This June we are offering discounted prices on any of our Scrambling or Lochaber Classic ridges Courses. Whether you want to learn how to look after yourselves in the mountains or sample some, or all of the Classic ridges we have on our door step. Daily rates are now £160 a day with discounts offered on multi day courses booked over consecutive days.

Tower Ridge.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

28 days later.

There is an old joke: There are two seasons in Scotland, May and the rest of the year. Unfortunately this May in Lochaber has been like the rest of the year. As a climber based in Fort William, times like this can be frustrating but we must be due some good weather at some point. 28 days of rain in a row can put a bit of a damper on your climbing ambitions for the summer. There is due to be a change over the next couple of days but more of the same is forecast for next week. I have some time off on June so I may have to go further a field in search of dry rock.