Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A quick peek!

I'm working a course at Outward Bound this week so no climbing for me but when they said they wanted to walk up to the snow it gave me an opportunity to have a look at conditions. So things seem to be shaping up nicely at the moment, the steeper mixed lines on the Ben are in good condition at the moment with routes being climbed on South Trident Buttress, Creag Coire na Ciste and No.3 Gully Buttress. The ridges look to be in good condition too but there is still some unconsolidated snow around so there might be a bit more digging involved and slightly slower going. Guy and Donald were up climbing today and I'm sure Guy's blog will have some more info soon.

Looking into Observatory gully.

The Combe and No.3 Gully Buttress.

Creag Coire na Ciste.

As for the future, some of the big ice lines are either complete or very close to at the moment but I wouldn't think the climbing would be to much fun at the moment, maybe after a couple more freeze/thaw cycles. The cold weather looks like it should be with us for the next week or so and with some more snow forecast to come our way but that is still a few days away so may well change. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A surprisingly dry Glen.

I was out with Abigail and Fiona today who are both second years at the West Highland College on the Outdoor and Tourism degree. We spent the day based around the Pinnacle ridge area looking at personal climbing skills such as placing gear, building belays, abseiling and some rope work involved with group set ups. Despite the heavy rain of the last couple of days there were lots of dry routes to go at but where is was seeping it was running in some places.
A return to the heavy rain and strong winds tomorrow but it is getting colder as we start the weekend and all of the remaining snow will firm up nicely.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Assessment day.

Assessment day for Sam and John yesterday and they did a fantastic job of dealing with the problems I threw at them. They managed to put into practise some of the skills we have been working on and both were able to adapt the techniques they had learnt to different situations. It was mostly dry in the Glen with a few light showers later in the day which meant we could actually do some climbing too. We started up Pinnacle ridge and then onto the Gutter with the lads leading all of the pitches and me just hanging around by their side.
Sam finding out just how difficult it can be in a 'real life' scenario.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Just hanging around.

Sam abseiling past a knot.
More improvised rescue work today this time with the West Highland College. I was with Sam, Jakob and John and today was a recap on some of the skills we had covered last month and the start of their assessment process which we'll do more of tomorrow and hopefully get some climbing done if the forecast is right. Today we spent the day at Sheep flank buttress just above lower falls. A nice little crag with some good lines on it but never really sees any traffic.
John using an un-assisted hoist.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

SPA at Kingussie

I was running the second day of an SPA today for Al Halewood. The forecast wasn't really looking good anywhere but we kept our fingers crossed and hoped the weather would be better at Kingussie than here on the West as is quite often the case. It thankfully paid off and we didn't really get much rain during the day but the ground is soaked at the moment with plenty of mud around at the top of the crag.
Looking at problem solving on a 'group abseil'
We spent the day looking at personal climbing, problem avoidance and solving with some discussions about environmental impacts of climbers and groups on crags and a chance for the guys to put into practise some of the rescues they had covered at the wall yesterday with Al. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

MCofS student safety and good practice seminar

Over the weekend I was at Glenmore lodge volunteering on the Student safety and good practice seminar organised by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. It was a great sociable weekend with some inspirational talks and discussions about how University clubs organise themselves and their responsibilities. There was also some workshops for the student to attend and I was lucky enough to assist on a dry tooling workshop on the Saturday and then a session of improvised rescue on the Sunday when there where a few feeling a little worse for wear, after the night before. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Winter is on its way!

After an early blast of winter last week (that unfortunately I was too busy to get out in) peoples thoughts have started to turn towards the up coming winter. As always we are all full of optimism and everyone is hoping for a good winter, getting a list together of the routes we want to get ticked and looking at the forecast at least once a day to see if there are any signs of cold weather. I too am among one of those people and I plan to try and keep this blog updated as regularly as possible during the winter season with both work and play.
White Shark, Aonach Mor.

There are three ways you can keep in touch with these reports this season. You can follow @ScottKirkhope on Twitter, like Kirkhope Mountaineering on Facebook and of course subscribe to this blog. Here's to a good winter and hopefully I'll bump into a few of you out on the hill.
Mountaineering course on Ledge route.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Mountain skills assessment

Out with a group of second years yesterday from the UHI on their assessment of their mountain skills. Max and I headed towards the East ridge of Beinn a Choarinn with our groups but there looked to be a bit too much snow on the ridge and we had decided not to bring any winter kit with us. The group I was with picked their way up a faint ridge just south of the 1049m south summit looking at group management on steep ground and then carried on over to the summit looking at a couple of ways of  'winterising' their navigation. We then descended South and back to the bus. Congratulations to everyone, with everyone putting in a strong performance.
Watching the clouds clear from the summit.