Winter Mountaineering Course - Scotland


ROCK CLIMBING - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 to 4 days),
SNOWDONIA (3 to 5 days)

NAVIGATION Courses - CUMBRIA (Lakes) (1 or 2 days)

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Rock climbing on mountain crags in Cumbria - April 2011

We've been making the most of the dry spell to get to some of the remoter mountain crags in Cumbria;

High Crag, Buttermere
Borrowdale - Shepherd's Crag - 3 routes including 'Kransic Crack Direct' (5a)
Ennerdale - Boat Howe - remote, fantastic rough rock, limited protection, and beware the grades!
Buttermere - High Crag - a fantastic crag. 2 routes including 'Foul Play' (5b) a superb route.
Wasdale - Buckbarrow - 2 routes including 'The Mysteron' (5b)
Langdale - White Ghyl - another 2 routes, including 'Do Not Direct' (5b)
and a quick trip to Trowbarrow - Assagai Wall (5a?)
High Crag, sheltering from strong winds!
The rain arrived yesterday which meant it's time to do some paperwork.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Recce routes on Ben Nevis

Headed up Ben Nevis with Bryn from MLTA to check out climbing routes and areas.

 Whilst sitting eating a late lunch, contemplating the great views and planning a casual walk down to the car we heard "Help. Hey can you rescue us" Two guys had got stuck on some slabby rock without any protection so Bryn and I headed over to help them down to safety. I climbed across to one of them, put a rope over him, hammered a medium hex in and then decended out of the way whilst he was roped down. 

My Hex is just above him, if you find it I'd be pleased to get the Krab & Hex back

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Glover's Chimney IV, Ben Nevis

Today Ian had a quiet day whilst Ann and I headed up Ben Nevis to climb Glover's Chimney IV

Number 3 buttress, Glover's climbs the dark, steep area on the middle/right
Pitch 1 of Thompson's
Pitch 1 of Thompson's
 This great route climbs the buttress to join No 3 Gully buttress for the last pitch. I feel the direct finish is the best finish.

Final direct pitch, after joinign No. 3 Gully Buttress
Whilst sitting on the summit, taking in the rope for Ann, a helicopter came in and collected a climber who'd fallen on North Gully and broken his ankle. Chatting later over food it turned out another instructor, Dan Robinson, who I was eating with had witnessed the fall and arranged the rescue.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Aonach Mor - the Web and other excitement

Today I was working for Alan Kimber and took Ann and her son Ian climbing at Aonach Mor.

There's been lots of snow blowing around so we headef off to The Web (Grade III) and did the first pitch before heading off to the main area where the wind had been moving more snow around.

Soon we saw worring snow "sloughs" coming from the cornices above and down the gullys.
Take care tomorrow folks, we saw 4 small avalanches and heard a few "crumps" before we decided to exercise caution and take a safe route out.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Leading in winter - Aonach Mor

Today it was blowing hard, but we went out to climb and explore the area near Golden Oldie, a route Kai would like to lead someday soon.

 The winds got stronger and we reverted to plan B, and practiced winter skills and shelters.

In the Gondola going down
The descent in the Gondola was the windy-est, most swaying I've ever experienced.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Leading in Winter - Curved Ridge

Today Kai and Claudia climbed Curved Ridge on the 'Buchail.

We topped out in poor visibility and practiced using a Satmap navigation system for the walk off. Very impressed.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Practicing leading in winter - The Nid

signpost on Aonach Mor
Today I was out with Alan Kimber of West Coast Mountain Guides and 2 clients, Kai and Claudia.
I've never seen so much Arcteryx kit on one person - if they make underpants, boots and socks maybe Kai would've been 100% Arcteryx-man.
This was Claudia (Kai's girlfriend)'s first experience of Scottish winter and she's a fast learner.

We headed off  to the Nid area to practice basic winter skills and to ascend up the gently mixed groud, learning techniques.

We did a stacked abseiled into Easy Gully and climbed up out from the rocky buttress.
in Easy Gully
On the walk out we met some Dutch climbers who were using their Lowe Carry-On bag as their winter packs.
Alan Kimber with the new Alpine Attach pack from Lowe

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Technique practice

Ian making the moves on steep ice
Yesterday was a long day for Ian, Paul was ill, and today the weather wasn't loking good, so we headed to the indoor ice to practice footwork, using 2-tools, and other steeper climbing techniques.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Vomiting and Boomerang Gully

We were up early this morning and headed off aiming to be the first on Dorsal Arete in SCNL. On the way there we sought out toilets in Ballachulish but the smell of fried potatoes was just too much for Paul, so we detoured back to Roy Bridge.
After this Ian and I arived at the crag later and I have NEVER seem such a crowded route, so we diverted to Boomerang Gully, a very pleasant route itself.

Ian high up on Boomerang Gully

Friday, 11 February 2011

Golden Oldie

Today I joined a Plas y Brenin group led by Dave Evans and Dave Rudkin on the West Face of Aonach Mor
I went up the superd "Golden Oldie" alongside Dave E, Mike and his son.
Dave E & Mike
Mike & his son
Dave Rudkin took a party up the ridge alongside.  
Dave Rudkin & party

Monday, 31 January 2011

Guided Climbing on Ben Nevis & Aonach Mor

Working for Adam Hughes this weekend.
Callum hasn't done much winter climbing for many years but he's a very experienced fell runner so confident on his feet and keen.
On Saturday we headed up Ben Nevis in a whiteout and climbed Number 2 Gully Buttress, a great route.
Sunday saw us on Aonach Mor along with Adam and his other instructors (Kenny, Campbell, and Adam). The forecast was for strong winds so we were all concerned that the gondola might shut early but Callum and I climbed Tunnel Vision and Left Twin, and were in the cafe enjoying cake and coffee before catching the last gondola down.

Climber ahead of us on Tunnel Vision

Friday, 14 January 2011

Winter Mountaineering - Day 5

A poor weather forecast, but we went to Stob Coire nan Lochan and had a fantastic mountain day using skills learned this week.
The weather was wet as we stepped out of the minibus and headed up the path, but it was kind to us with breaks in the cloud as we got higher, and gave us a wonderful challenge with 35 mph wind and hail on the summit.

The North East ridge was wonderful with the chance to use many of the skills we'd practiced.
asending the Nort East ridge

On the summit we experienced the wind, and hail.
Adam felt some hail sting through his Goretex and fleece as we moved on and down.

A swift adjustment of the rope before navigating around the corrie rim and down the ridge to the West and North.
A great Scottish mountaineering day, with the challenge of the weather adding to the day.

A mug of tea and detailed chat about the day and week before we said gooodbye, maybe to meet in a few weeks on a winter Climbing course.

TOP TIP - don't let your clothes get too wet under your goretex jacket.
You'll feel cold even in the Instructor's warm belay jacket (and he may be quietly frustrated if you damage his expensive inner down vest).

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Winter Skills - Day 4

Weather was terrible today and outside the rain hammered loud on the roof and windows.

We headed off to the local ice climbing wall where we practiced rope techniquest, climbed indoor rock roues, and then kitted up and went into the massive freezer box to climb with one and two ice tools.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Winter Skills - Day 3

Yesterday was glorious and we ascended the Zig-Zags in Glencoe, where the student saw the use of a rope over short steps.
Today we explained some of the detail and headed into Glencoe to practice bucket seats, buried ice axes, snow bollards, and snow shelters.
The freezing level has moved above the summits today but it didn't stop us from having a great day. 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Winter Skills - day 2

Scotland, 11th January 2011

Today's weather was FANTASTIC and much better than expected as we headed into Glencoe to ascend the Zig-Zags (grade 1) to put into practice the footwork skills introduced yesterday;
We also used a rope on short steps.

Roped support on the Zig Zags

Asending into the sun

Across the tops

camera didn't "stitch" the panorama so well this time