Tuesday 29 April 2008

Glencoe 29 April

Today Ron and I went for a good long mountaineering day in Glencoe. We started with the Lower Bow (a little damp) and Quiver Rib (must be one of the most exposed Diffs in the UK) on the East face of Aonach Dubh in warm dry weather. We continued up to Stob Coire nan Lochain which still had a great deal of snow in the gullys (see pic below) - bumping into Ron and Fiona from Talisman Mountaineering on the way. Dropping to the col towards Bidean nam Bian we met a couple who had definitely not expected the late winter conditions and were searching for a route down avoiding steep snow slopes. We popped up Bidean (where the weather finally broke, hail on top then light showers for the rest of the day) and then back down to the col. We finished with a long slide down into the Lost Valley and a pleasant walk out through the gorge which is deep in blooming anenomes.

Monday 28 April 2008

Spring conditions on Curved Ridge

Today we went to the Buachaille for Curved Ridge on the back of quite a wet forecast. There had been a light fresh dusting of snow above 900m but the day was mostly quite dry with just a couple of light showers (of snow on the summit). Although the ridges are damp and clear of snow the gully lines still have a good depth of snow (the bottom step to enter Crowberry Gully is complete as is Easy gully after its first step and the basin around Crowberry tower is still full) although in places it is undercut by running water. Looking across to Stob Coire nan Lochain Broad, Boomerang, NC and Forked Gullys all looked full (photo below). We came down the headwall of Coire na Tullaich on deep soft damp snow and were glad of an axe for support (but we didnt need crampons).

Sunday 27 April 2008

Back to work

Tuesday I was working for Crieff Hydro doing some staff training for the team there. On Wednesday and Thursday I was working for Transition Extreme climbing wall in Aberdeen Course Directing a Climbing Wall Award Training course for the staff there. This newest of NGB awards is mostly based around supervison of groups at climbing walls (of all types and sizes) and contains a strong element of teaching movement. The course at Transition was only the second to run in Scotland but I expect it to be a very popular award. After getting back to the West I had a busy couple of days catching up on e-mails, prepping for a series of SPA trainings and Assessments and 2 more Climbing Wall Award trainings over the next month. Today I spent relaxing and soloing in Glen Nevis where I met some of the trainees from Abernethy Trust in Ardgour who I shared a climb with in the sun. Tomorrow its back to the mountains for 2 days mountaineering.

Upcoming NGB courses:

2-4 May SPA Assessment based at The Ice Factor

6,7,13,14 May (evenings) CWA Training at The Ice Factor

26,27 May SPA Training in Glasgow

28,29 CWA Training in Glasgow
If you are interested in a course drop me an e-mail.

Greenland part 2

A second batch of Greenland pics.

Back from Greenland

Got back from Greenland late last Sunday and havent stopped since then. Here are a few pics from our ski touring trip among the icebergs near Tassilaq. We had snow and blizzards making shopping for food a major expedition, blazing sunshine, midnight gales needing us to reset the tent, a polar bear passing a little too close to the tents overnight and a thaw meaning that the last day was spent 'slushing' across a 'frozen' lake and the sea ice before it could completely thaw. Unfortunately my luggage is still in transit but it was a great break. I'll post a few pics and then a video later.

Sunday 6 April 2008

Gone Skiing

2 inches of snow in my garden at sea level in Kinlochleven this morning. I'm off to Greenland skiing for two weeks so I wont be posting any more winter reports this year but I may blog from Tasilaq if I get internet access. Thanks to everyone who has shared time on the hill with me this season. Here is an offering from 2007s summer activities to whet the appetite for this year.
If the video doesnt appear try: http://alanhalewood.blogspot.com/2008/04/gone-skiing_4540.html

Thursday 3 April 2008

Wednesday in Sneachda

Was out yesterday in the Cairngorms. Derek and I did Patey's Route and then I wandered down Alladins Couloir and he went down the Mirror and we met at the foot of the Mirror Direct. Ron and Fi from Talisman Mountaineering were there so we stood and chatted until they were done before climbing the pitch and abing off.
It was warm and sunny out of the breeze (which was also quite mild). Patey's was wet and although there was a good deal of ice it was either thin and brittle or fatter and cruddy. Nonetheless we enjoyed our climb up one of Sneachda's most arresting lines. The ice on the miror direct was more frinedly with hooks and footsteps from previous ascents up steep, slightly damp ice. A stunning day and a drop in temperatures in Friday should firm things up nicely. All the moisture in Patey's should regenerate ice quickly and the easier gullies are full of wet snow. The upper parts of Lochain and Fiacaill Butress area were retaining white cover well where the Pottage and Alladins Butress were losing there's and looking rockier. Again a freze would bring that white stuff back into good climbing condition quickly.