Sunday, 20 November 2016

Winter has arrived!

Ben nevis in winter

Ben Nevis on 18th of November.

The first routes of the season have been done and as I look out the window over Fort William I can see a good covering of snow down to 300m. There is a lot of snow on the western mountains and the snow fell onto wet warm ground so the turf isn't really frozen but it will be getting there. Over in the east the Northern coires are seeing some action, the routes on these crags are less reliant on turf so can be a good bet for early season climbing.

If you are looking to get out, I'd go for rocky mixed climbs that don't have much turf or for the more classic mountaineering routes. Although over here in the west that will involve a lot of digging and wading through soft snow and most loose rock is not frozen in place so some care is needed.

Ben Nevis summit in winter

A summit selfie above the clouds.

Ben Nevis, Ledge route winter.

A lot of deep snow around at the moment.

I have been out on Ledge route and the zig zags up onto Stob Coire nan Lochan which has been a great couple of days to get back into the winter spirit. Fingers crossed that this is how the winter continues but we will have some warm wet periods to put up with yet, after all it is only the middle of November.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Summer is in full swing.

Summer is in full swing in the Highlands, we've been busy throughout the West Highlands doing all sorts of activities including Climbing, Mountaineering, Hill walking and Mountain biking over the last few weeks. We have some dates available for June and July and August are not far away, so why not get in touch and let us help you organise your next adventure. Call us on 07500029783 or email, if you want to keep up to date with what we've been getting up to, 'like' our Facebook pages Kirkhope Mountaineering and Kirkhope Mountain Biking.

Glencoe Mountain biking

Mountain biking Nevis range

Scrambling, Tower ridge, Ben Nevis

Scrambling, Tower ridge, Ben Nevis

Scrambling, Aonach Eagach, Glencoe

Saturday, 27 February 2016

What an amazing couple of days!

The weather in the Highlands has been absolutely stunning the last two days, Steve and I have been out with Scott, Cally, Joe and Will and yesterday we climbed Curved ridge in great conditions. Today we headed round to the west face of Aonach Mor (along with about 40 other people) and climbed Western rib. We thought the weather yesterday was good but today was in another class. Julie was also out with Gerard on Thursday and Friday and the climbed Dorsal arete and School house ridge. I'm not going to say any more I'll let the photos do the talking.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

An alpine Tower ridge

I was back out with the two Dave's yesterday and we had a great time climbing Tower ridge in it's current condition. There is a good track up the route with most of the belays dug out. The route has a good covering of snow and ice making a lot of the climbing a bit more straightforward but it does mean gear is hard to come by on most pitches. We made steady progress up to the little tower but met the crowds at this point, took our number and waited in line. A slightly later finish than normal but it did mean we got to catch the evening light on descent, another great day out in a week of great weather.

Ben Nevis, winter climbing

Fantastic light on the walk in.

Ben Nevis, winter climbing

The Minus and Orion face.

Tower ridge, Ben Nevis

Tower ridge, Ben Nevis, Eastern Traverse

The Eastern traverse.

Tower ridge, Ben Nevis

Busy at Tower gap.

Tower ridge, Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis, Winter

Fantastic light on the way down too.

Ben Nevis, winter

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Western rib, Aonach Mor.

Today I was out with Dave who is up for his usual winter 'hit' and nearly always brings good weather with him. Given the current snow conditions and avalanche forecast we decided on the west face of Aonach Mor along with a few other teams. There was a good track in and it soon turned turned out the the whole face is in great condition. I was expecting to dig our way up the route but all of the loose snow has been blasted off the face, leaving a good covering of firm snow, frozen turf and clear rocks meaning there is gear placements everywhere. We made good progress up the route and passed one team higher up before we topped out into the sunshine. I also had a MIC trainee, Dave Buckett along today for some shadowing as he prepares for his assessment in the future. 

Winter climbing, Aonach Mor

Winter climbing, Aonach Mor

Winter climbing, Aonach Mor

Winter climbing, Aonach Mor

Winter climbing, Aonach Mor

Friday, 19 February 2016

A quick catch up.

On Thursday I was back out with Sarah and after she had loved the little mixed steps on the SW ridge the day before we stepped it up a bit and climbed North Buttress on the Bauchaille. It was a busy day but all five teams managed to move around each other and keep moving. The route was in great condition with some helpful snow in the back of the chimney. We topped out and headed round the ridge as Coire na Tulaich was filling in fast with a lot of snow. A great couple of days climbing and I'm looking forward to climbing with her again next month.
It was then a busy evening at home drying kit and repacking ready for an early start to drive to Torridon for the day for Abacus Mountain guides. Chris, Martin and David had hoped to do the traverse of Liathach but the weather had a different plan. After some discussion we decided to go up and have a look, worst case scenario would be getting the western Munro done at least. The wind was still quite light for most of the way up Mullach an Rathain but the wind picked up just before the summit and we battled our way to the top and ran away again as quickly as we could.

Winter climbing, Glencoe

A glorious morning.

winter climbing, Glencoe

Chris Thorne on the crux of North Buttress.

Winter climbing, Glencoe

Winter climbing, Glencoe

winter climbing, Torridon

The wind just starting to make itself known on Mullach an Rathain.

WInter climbing, Torridon.

Running away!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

SW ridge of the Douglas boulder.

Sarah and I headed up to the Ben yesterday (Wednesday) with a fairly open mind and a rack for all occasions. After lots of discussion about route choice given the conditions and avalanche forecast we settled on the SW ridge. As always it gave three good pitches of climbing with some very helpful neve. It was busy around Douglas boulder with a few teams in the Fawlty towers area, all of us choosing to stay low and avoid the larger open snow slopes above. One team had a look at vanishing gully but quickly returned to their bags because of mushy ice and waterfall gully was reported to be in similar condition.
There looks to be lots of Ice from point 5 round to the minus face but I think the ice will still need a bit of time to freeze as it is being insulated by yesterday's new snow but it is looking good.  

winter climbing, Ben Nevis

winter climbing, Ben Nevis

winter climbing, Ben Nevis

winter climbing, Ben Nevis

winter climbing, Ben Nevis