Wednesday 20 June 2007

Spartan Slab

Ed and I had a spare half day free and he'd never been to the Trilleachan Slabs in Glen Etive before so we went up to climb the classic 5 pitch VS Spartan Slab. The slabs can take all morning to dry after rain but we were lucky and only the first pitch was damp (or Ed was lucky as that was my lead!).
Many years ago this was my first VS lead and I never tire of the easy angled granite slabs up here. Spartan has good gear and belays (as does Hammer) compared to many of the harder routes here.
The third pitch, pulling over the overlap will be the crux for some (especially the short) and as the photos show - Scots bred climbers can't jam! Others will find the more delicate 4th pitch the harder of the two.
After 5 pitches of great climbing we scrambled off and down to get Ed back for his shift at The Ice Factor.

Friday 15 June 2007

Aonach Eagach

Don and I traversed the Aonach Eagach yesterday. No matter how often I do this ridge I never tire of it. It really is the best mainland ridge scramble in the UK. Today started windy as we made our way to the top at the east end. Fortunately the breeze dropped as we passed the pinnacles before strengthening again as we descended. We chatted to lots of people on the ridge and stopped to admire the many marsh orchids, beds of tormentil and Globe Flowers on descent. At the weekend I was working at Glenmore Lodge on an SPA training and on Tuesday I was doing some staff training for the Xscape wall and Skypark at Braehead - a good varied week!

Friday 8 June 2007

Last day of our Lead climbing course

For our final day we went to Kingussie Crag. Again the group were all working on their own lead climbing but we also went onto the steep HVS Right Hand Crack.

Sunshine at the Ardnamurchan Ring Crags

Continuing our stunning day on the gabbro of the old volcanic ring on the Ardnamurchan peninsula we applied our suncream and the students began their own lead climbs. We all moved over to another butress to try some harder routes like Claude (HVS) and Greta Gabbro (VS4b) before adjourning to the Kilchoan Inn for a well earned drink.

More lead climbing teaching

I was working for 3 days with Lochaber College's SVQ students again this week as well a Frank a visitor from Vermont and Tom a placement student from North Devon College.
Monday morning started grey and we bagan indoors before heading to Glen Nevis to battle the midges. On Tuesday we got an earl atart and drove out to Ardnamurchan in blazing sunshine.
We were joined by Jamie the owner of The Ice Factor and spent the morning loking at placing gear and on routes like Krakatoa, Crater Comforts and the classic of the crag Yir.

SPA Assessment at Glenmore Lodge and Talisker Trek

I spent the weekend observing Pete Gwatkin working at Glenmore Lodge on an SPA assessment. We went to Cummingston on the first day and Kingussie Crag on the second. The first day was mostly about looking at candidates personal climbing, the second more about ropework for working with groups. Themes like environmental impact at crags and courtesy to other users ran throughout the weekend.

The weekend after I was working for Glasgow Climbing Centre on Skye. For a change I wasnt on the ridge but helping with a corporate event for the charity The Woodlands Trust. One of the celebrity guests was former England Ruby international Martin Bayfield. As well as being a superb after dinner speaker he dwarfed everyone else there at almost 7 ft tall! I helped co-ordinate a dozen teams of instructors teaching navigation and supervising tasks at various locations on the hill and also teams of the press and celebrity guests.

Introduction to outdoor leading for Lochaber College students

Monday and Wednesday this week I was working with Coralee and Kelly-Ann, 2 students from a party of SVQ students from Lochaber College. We sepnt both days in Glen Nevis. On the Monday we did Reptons Right Hand Route, 3 Pines, Pinnacle Ridge and Flying Dutchman. After an indoor session on Friday Morning we went back to the Glen and they led The Gutter and Styx Butress Right Wall in damp conditions. They and the others from their course had a good first experience leading and can head off and go climbing themselves!