Monday, 31 August 2015

Almost too fast on Tower Ridge!

The forecast was for a worsening day and as we walked in to Ben Nevis in mizzle I was preparing for another night based around the drying room. The forecast was nonsense, the day got better and better and Tower Ridge was just clearing as we sat on the Great Tower for an early lunch and we were getting good views from the summit. We took in Ledge Route on the way down and things were just getting pleasant at the end of the day!
Nice to see Chadders, Dave, Andy, Nick and Chappers all out at work today!
 Paul getting in amongst it on Tower Ridge
 Tim and Paul on the side of the Great Tower
 Figures on the summit
 Earky lunch on the Great Tower
 Paul emerges from Tower Gap
 Looking back
 Topping out
 Ledge Route
 Team above us on Ledge Route
Tower Ridge…. done!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Curved Ridge-more rainbows-munros

I was working for Steve Fallon again today and Ross came along to help out taking Iain, John and Jill up Curved Ridge. We had a leisurely ascent with mixed weather, abseiled off of Crowberry Tower and pressed on over the summit in rain. At the lip of Core na Tullaich Gill and I said cheerio to Ross, John and Iain whilst Jill and I headed south to bag the second Munro- only 14 to go Gill, enjoy them!
 'What do you mean smile- I can't look up for this rucksack!'
 A couple of other teams about today
 Jill on the narrow bit
 John and Ian on the narrow bit
 Ross at work
 The party ahead… just before the unfortunate pile of rocks they knocked off fell towards us!
 The wall
 The corner
 The rainbows keep coming
 Not far now lads
Well done guys!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Drowning on the Aonach Eagach

Today was the wettest day I've had the misfortune to be working on for some time. 2 waterproofs, new waterproofs, phones in ortlieb bags, nothing availed. I opened my mouth to speak and the wind blew in so much water I almost choked and drowned. And my phone has drowned :-( Paths looked like stream even on the crest of ridges. We were on the Aonach Eagach and went as far as Meall Dearg and said enough was enough and retreated.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Mike, Ross, Rainbows and Ravens

First it was to be Tower ridge but the forecast and the small chance of thunder on Ben Nevis put me off. I offered Mike Curved Ridge, with D Gully Buttress as a start if he fancied something steeper and he jumped at it. Ross came along to watch preparing for his MIA Assessment and one of us brought the good weather. The lower part of the day was showery but as we hit Curved Ridge and I let Ross take over the rope work we were treated to the most vivid rainbow I've seen in years and the Buachaille Etive Mor ravens seemed as impressed with us. The rain then disappeared until the car park and we counted our blessings on a good choice for the day. More pics at:

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Foundation Coach Training at Alien Rock

Yesterday I went to Alien Rock in Leith, Edinburgh to deliver a Foundation Coach Training course for a team of 8. These are great courses to run looking at how to coach aspects of climbing to groups and individuals (as opposed to the FUNdamentals which look at the what and awards like the CWA which focus on safety and group management). The team today were from a wide range of backgrounds; full time wall staff, students and school teachers making for some great chat. It was an international team with British, American, Canadian and Spanish students.
We looked at the structure of the Mountain Training Coaching Awards schemes, different styles of Coaching and some of the skills of the coach such as; observation, giving feedback, structuring a session, a critical look at learning styles, reflective practise and spent plenty of time on practicals to let the team try things in a climbing setting. A grand day and great to visit Alien which is where climbing coaching started for me with the first FUNdamentals course in Scotland running there back in the late 90s.
 Starting to think about observation
 Part of the group coaching flagging
 Flagging coaching progression
 Which bits of the day were 'low hanging fruit', which were hard to reach at treetop level and which were already rooted in candidates practise?
Brain dump from the day

Greenland 2 first ascents

Another album of pics from this summer's expedition.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Catching up.

A couple of weeks since my return from Greenland- more on that in an imminent blog post- and its been a whirlwind of activity. After a few days hiding with my family I was home to a training day for the Nevis Landscape Partnership's 2015 Ben Nevis Survey and then I had a weekend working with Gordon and Lena prepping for their upcoming MIA Assessments:
Parallel Ropework on Pinnacle Ridge
Next it was into the 5 day survey with lots of guddling round vegetated and loose parts of Ben Nevis, learning more about the geology and botany on our way- we even had a sunny day this year!
Ben Nevis on a fine day
Lots of pics and write ups:

After this I was at Glenmore Lodge working on an MIA Assessment with 4 candidates who all performed strongly at points throughout the week. Monday was a grand day in the Loch Avon Basin climbing Whispers (VS) and Mack's Dilemma- sunny day. Tuesday we were in Glen Nevis for problem solving on Resurrection (VS), Damnation (VS), Repton's Right Hand Route (VDiff) and Cross III (Diff)- hot, sunny and sweaty. Wednesday teams were at Cummingston, Polldubh and I was at Kingussie watching novices being taught to climb- more sunshine. Thursday was a mountain day in Glencoe; up the most interesting line on Dinnertime Buttress and the lines above, over Stob Coire nan Lochan and down the Zig Zags- grey, windy and cloudy but dry. And on Friday it was teaching navigation near Castle Hill and Lurchers Crag- blowing a gale and the waterproof finally went on in a very heavy shower 45 minutes from the end of the Assessment. Almost a completely dry week!
Mack's Dilemma 
Classic Crack
 Dinnertime Buttress

I was due to be working this weekend but I'm going to enjoy a chance to catch up and prep for mountaineering and climbing work on Ben Nevis and Glencoe and a Foundation Coach Training in Edinburgh.