Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Curved Ridge-dodging the weather bullet

Today I was joined by Keith for a day's mountaineering. We had planned on the Aonach Eagach but with pretty steady rain and a cool breeze forecast I suggested we leave it for a more enjoyable day. So we went to Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor which gets a lot of shelter from westerly winds. 
Despite a little drizzle around the bulk of the mountain protected us well and we cruised up the Ridge and Crowberry Tower not even needing waterproofs trousers until we summited. The descent was much damper walking into the rain and breeze! There is a picture of a tiny spruce tree that continues to survive climbing to the northwest side of Crowberry Tower. It'll never thrive I fear as its only growing in a couple of inches deep patch of moss!

SPA Assessment

Congratulations tl my 3 candidates yesterday who all passed their SPA Assessment! Busy day at Auchinstarry Quarry too, nice to see so many young folk out climbing.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Retirees Aonach Eagach Dry and Goats

I was expecting to get wetter this morning but after meeting Mike, Will and Patrick (who are all enjoying the benefits of an active retirement and gave great craic) and flogging up Am Bodach in the drizzle the cloud rolled back early and we were dry all the way along the Aonach Eagach today. On our descent I got my first view of the whole herd of feral goats in Glencoe for a few years... 17 of them. I was working for Steve Fallon today.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Reopening a climbing wall East Kilbride

I just spent the last 2 days doing some training and helping the team at Playsport in East Kilbride prepare to reopen the climbing wall there. The wall has been closed for a few months and underused before that. Initially it will be open to instructed groups and climbers to see what kind of demand there is for it. If you live in that neck of the woods and want another venue to climb at then get in touch from next week. If climbers express an interest then they are willing to invest in holds and route setting to meet the need. Use it or lose it and spread the word.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Catching up...

Just back from Canada and here is a quick catchup blog from the 2 days before I went. I was providing an AMI MIA Trainee workshop for Alex, Jess and Graeme. We did a day on problem avoidance and solving and a day's mountaineering on Buachaille Etive Mor's Lagangarbh Buttress which got very wet later on!
Big thanks to DMM for the Dragon Cams and Pivot belay devices in use today- Trainees all converted!
 Gold Ringed Dragonfly
 Raining and we don't care
 Heath Spotted Orchid
 Low on Lagangarbh Buttress
 Jess taking over the lead
Testing the limits of our waterproofs!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Its pink and its wet

Today was the end of a long spell of varied work for me, NGBs, mountaineering guiding, teaching climbing at single pitch, multi pitch and mountain venues what a great summer!
Today was no exception. I was working on one of the MCofS Scrambling Courses and was teamed up with Isi and Paul who yesterday went up Dinnertime Buttress looking at movement, route finding and 'rope only' rope work skills. Today we fed them some more skills as the 3 of us ascended the Pink Rib on Beinn a Chrulaiste. Despite living close to it for 13 years now it was the first time I've done it and I was glad to finally get to go and have a look. The guys led themselves up the route using a variety of belaying techniques and we kept the runners simple limiting them to spikes. It rained. And when we topped out and headed for the summit it rained even harder. And, of course, when we descended to meet the other courses members back at Lagangarbh it stopped!
 Paul belaying with Buachaille Etive Mor beyond
 Isi following
 Isi using an Italian Hitch as part of a direct belay
The Pink Rib lies above left of the guys in this shot

Monday, 27 June 2016

Wetter than an otter's pocket

The met office forecast for Glen Nevis was a tad optimistic today (unlike recently when its often been nicer than expected). It rained. We got wet. I was working for Glenmore Lodge on a day with Staff from Kilbowie Outdoor Education Centre. They were looking for some input on their climbing movement and some tips for dealing with anxiety on the lead on trad gear.
We began the day at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing Wall where we revisited some earlier work we've done on movement of slabs: shifting centre of gravity, use of hand holds to help this, where to initiate the movement and momentum from and performing an efficient rockover. We went into a corner and looked at bridging, using opposing forces and pushing rather than pulling. We also looked at slightly steeper walls and twisting and reaching and using the legs to provide upward motion. The surfaces and angles visited were all selected to reflect what they might experience of the kind of trad routes they are leading.
We had a chat about anxiety. About making things easy for ourselves rather than hard through route selection and reading, designing an efficient personal racking system, use of different types if self talk and breathing and not avoiding or denying anxiety but confronting it and working through it. Then we went outside. I don't know if the team were anxious but I was looking at the water coursing down the rock wondering how it was going to go. I needn't have worried. Glynis, Keith and Fiona took a pitch of the Gutter each and made it look easy. Then Keith and Fiona led Styx Buttress Right Wall in style whilst Glynis followed even though the water was coursing down it and the rain descending in sheets!
Interesting work and good fun if a little cold (almost forgotten what that was like) and damp!
 Glynis happy even on wet schist
 No problems for Keith
 Fiona getting another runner
Wet V Diff? No problems...