Friday, 2 October 2015

One of the best day's I've ever had out on Ben Nevis

I'll let the pics speak for themselves.
Ruairidh led Alan up- well done him given that he found Tower Ridge pretty mind blowing the first time I guided him up it.
Amazing weather conditions with Ben Nevis alone in a perfect cloud sea for much of the day!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Ruairidh becomes a climber

So about a year ago Ruairidh came to me with a long term plan to become a climber and a mountaineer. He's been guided up a few things but wanted to do it for himself.
Since then we've been summer and winter mountaineering and single and multi pitch rock climbing and done a few winter routes. He's also filled in skills acquisition charts and been grilled on what he's learnt by me at every opportunity- made to be mindful about every step and drilled in little tips to try and make his performance on the hill a little stronger.
Today he and Alan joined me to go to Buachaille Etive Mor. We soloed up Curved Ridge and he and I swung leads on Agag's Groove both bringing Alan up too. We then scrambled down Curved Ridge with one abseil he helped set up.
Nice one mate- making a better fist of it than many climbers on their first big route!
Nice one to Alan too- not many 69 year olds enjoying that day and setting a pace on the walk out to make me sweat!
Cheers to the two lads who let us jump the queue (one of whom hadn't done the route for almost 40 years!) and nice to see Kenny, James and Ali all out enjoying the impeccable weather too!
 Solo up Curved Ridge
 Ruairidh on the shape end on pitch 2
 alan relaxing with an orange
 Congestion on the middle ledge
 Its raining sunshine on Curved Ridge
 Topping out
 Ruairidh has it all under control
 Down Curved Ridge
 Rannoch Wall still busy
What a day!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A change is as good as a rest- Castle Ridge

Working for UHI today I ended up with Cameron and Rob for a mountain day. Both are summer ML Trainees and Cam has a lot of personal climbing and mountaineering experience. Rob has done plenty of scrambling but not a lot with a rope. The forecast? Immaculate!
We headed in to Ben Nevis to check Cams mountaineering ropework and introduce Rob to some for his personal skills. We took the opportunity to botanise and geologise our way around and descended Ledge Route discussing the limits of the ML Award (and offering advice to some slightly misplaced scramblers).
It was hot. In fact even though its so late in the year that the N Face was mostly in the shade today it was even hot in the shade (perfect for the climbers on Centurion and Bullroar). After yesterday's wee beasting my legs were heavy and the heat didn't make it any easier. I'm not complaining though! I'll take days like today whenever I can get them!
Castle Ridge is the right-hand lump and the ridge faces the camera

Scurvy Grass, Ladies Mantle and 3 types of Sorrel
 A strong stance for Cam
 Rob getting onto the Ridge
The first Crux
Rob following
 Nearing the second Crux
 Cam ready for the chimney
A belay from Rob
 Seconding with the whole face below
 The 'fun' bit
 No worries
 A runner for Cam
Rum and Skye visible
 Looking down to Mull
 Topped out, now a wee walk in the sun before a descent of Ledge Route!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Training days?

After a bothy weekend with the family and a lazy day yesterday the computer beckoned for an office day today.
Not with that forecast!
I'm cack at training these days. Excuses abound: my knees have been diagnosed as "fu@*ed"(the specialists words), the roads round here make biking like riding through a shooting gallery (to the tw@t who overtook me at speed in the 30 zone today- if I can touch your door you are too close!) etc. etc. and I'd rather climb than train for climbing (hmm but is the right kind of climbing training for climbing anyway? Cue articles, books etc.).

But today I decided a bit of a leg stretch was in order. So I pushed the bike up the new N Face Track to the top car park and forced the pace to the hut. There I had a chat (good excuse for a break) with Rebecca and Mike B and a litre of water before hitting Tower Ridge. I could see a fast moving pair (turned out to be local stalwarts Steve and Kevin) well ahead so the target was to overtake them. The weather was… confused… one minute I was baking the next a strong breeze was chilling me. I also spotted a little ice melting on a ditch on the push up to the top car park AND a little verglassey ice weep across the path on the first traverse right on the Ridge. A nice light jacket from Rab did the job and it was a chance to try out my new sack from Lowe. I was a sweaty keep as I overtook the guys and sank half a litre of water on top of the Great Tower. I hit the top and ploughed on round to Ledge Route where there was more chat with friends working (phew- another break) and then it just remained to nip down that scramble and the path back to my waiting bike and onwards down to Torlundy (the fun bit) and home.
A banana and a pint of milk and I really decided to overdo it and hit the dungeon- AKA the pain cave- for a little dry tooling.

Now was it a one off or will there be more prep like this on the run up to winter….?

Oh and I've found that chasing a small girl round a trampoline on a slope from a position seated in the middle of it is AMAZING for your core- who knew?

Just wanted to add a big up to Robbie Phillips (there's someone who likes to train) for his ascent of Dalriada… started in the mist… with damp holds. Anyone who has climbed on the Cobbler in even slightly damp conditions can join me in being well impressed. Nutter.
 Hike a bike up to the top car park
 Ledge Route- the way down
 Some pilgrims heading up
 Steve and Kev
 Sweaty selfie
 The Great Tower
 Tower Gap- looking down Glover's Chimney
 A relatively quiet summit
 Looking back up at Ledge Route
 New sack
The pain cave- I did not last long!!