Wednesday 30 June 2010

Wave Buttress

Crack Attack E3 5c
Bewsey Crack HVS 5a
Ground Zero E2 5c

This afternoon Kenny and I headed up to Wave Buttress above Steall Meadows at the head of Glen Nevis. This 100ft sheet of perfect rough schist is split by a few obvious cracklines. Kenny led us up the classic Crack Attack (E3 5c) which spat me off twice on my way to the top :-(. Then I led Bewsey Crack (HVS 5a) and Kenny rounded off with the bold and technical Ground Zero (there is an RP placement but Kenny had no micros making it seem more E3 5c than E2 5c- and there is NO WAY it is E2 5B whatever Gary Latter says ;-) which I managed to cling on for.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Douglas Boulder Video

A quick video of yesterday's route on Ben Nevis.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Douglas Boulder Direct Route and Tower Ridge

Today Rich and I took a team of 4 up the Direct Route on the Douglas Boulder (VDiff but finishing up the top pitch of Black Donald, Severe) and then on up Tower Ridge. I had Lisa and James (aka Andy- don't ask) who were great company and really enjoyed their first day's outdoor climbing and mountaineering. The weather was fine and there were plenty of teams out on routes including Minus 1 Direct, Centurion and Observatory Ridge. Near the Little Tower we met Phil and Mikey who had wandered a little off route. Mikey had a bit of a tumble whilst belayed by his dad and was having difficulty climbing up to him. I managed to get my rope to him, help him onto the regular line and reunite him with Phil.
The summit plateau was typically busy for a saturday and teams of 3 Peakers and Charity walkers were still heading up low down on the mountain as we descended.

Friday 25 June 2010

SPA Day 2

Midge hooded climbers on 3 Pines

And the all over midge jacket in action on Flying Dutchman

Female Gold Ringed Dragonfly Ovipositing

I do like it when people pass Assessments. Well done to my 3 SPA candidates today who all demonstrated that they were at the right standard. We were at Glen Nevis along with a fair few other climbers. One of the military instructors was even sporting a natty all over midge protecting jacket whilst leading up Flying Dutchman. An occaisional breeze stopped things getting too bad and there were Golden Ringed Dragonflys (we saw a female laying her eggs), the first blueberries of the season and a huge green catterpillar for me to look at whilst the team performed their tasks.

Thursday 24 June 2010

SPA Assessment

Another NGB course today and after a visit to the Ice Factor we headed east to a dry Kingussie Crag. It was very busy but sensible choices by the various groups and their leaders meant no queuein or route conflict. Day 2 tomorrow.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

On your bike!

I've taken 2 days over at Glenmore Lodge to do my Trail Cylce Leader Training- just for a spot of fun and to help improve my biking skills. A great sunny day today looking at bike skills and maintenance amongst other things on day 1 and day 2 was spent on a longer ride around Glenmore looking at practical applications of these skills, navigation, leadership styles and group management.
This evening I attended a meeting of AMI members to discuss the future of the Association with the new Development Officer, Ed Chard.

Saturday 19 June 2010

MLTA Regional group meet

This weekend I have been hosting a meeting of the Scottish Regional Group of the MLTA.- the representative organisation for UK Mountain based National Governing Body Award Holders. On Saturday the 6 people attending decided on a climbing based day and we went to Kingussie Crag. People were working at all levels: from Cath who led her first route to Duncan and Wendell who are preparing for their MIA assessment. Fine weather and a good chance to get a few routes in whilst networking and picking the brains of other people working in the outdoors.
On Sunday we again had 6 people and Rich Parker of BigSky Mountaineering kindly donated his time to join us. Duncan, Mark and I climbed No Blue Skies (VS 4c) in Coire an t Sneachda in a cold northerly wind with a little water on it whilst the other 5 made a careful massed ascent of the classic (and very loose) Finders Ridge (Diff) in their walking boots. A grand day out and hopefully useful for those who attended.

Friday 18 June 2010

CWA Assessment

Last of this week long batch of NGB courses today with a CWA Assessment including the Abseil module at Glasgow Climbing Centre. Off to Newtonmore for the weekend... here's hoping for more sunshine.

Thursday 17 June 2010

SPA Training

Picking a route...
Climbing up...
And ab'ing down...
Setups and problem solving...
Sunshine, hot weatyher, no midges..... I have spent the last 2 days Directing an SPA Training for Glasgow Climbing Centre. Yesterday we climbed at the Quadrocks with stunning views out to Cumbrae. Today we were continuing our sun tanning at Neilston quarry. A busy course with 8 students!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

NGB Week

Personal lead climbing
Movement and technique
Taking falls

This week I am based in Glasgow and Stirling running courses at Glasgow Climbing Centre and the Peak Climbing Wall. Yesterday I ran the first part of a Climbing Wall Leading Award in Stirling and today after a Climbing Wall Award Assessment (well done, 4 passes) I was back in Stirling to finish the CWLA off. Tomorrow and the next day are very full days with a Glasgow based SPA Training before another CWA Assessment on Friday (this time including the Abseil Module..... its all go!

Sunday 13 June 2010

Wet on Tower Ridge

Neal pulling up onto the Great Tower
Neal crossing Tower Gap

With a disgusting forecast I allowed my client for today to postpone Tower Ridge for another day. Didn't put me off though. Neal had been working on his computer all day so this afternoon we drove the van up to the dam car park on Ben Nevis. 2 hrs 42 minutes later we were back having nipped up the Ridge for ourselves. I love that route its a great long, mountaineery line that I just don't tire of.... summer, winter, rain or shine! Neal's first time on the Ridge in summer and it was good to get out together as some further training for our trip to the Afghan Pamir in about 6 weeks.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Tower Ridge

Today was Emma's birthday trip up Tower Ridge along with Anatole and George. It was fairly busy with at least 20 people on the ridge but most were moving well together so any traffic jams were short lived. The irdge was dry (and is free of snow) but was shrouded in mist from half way up. We topped out into the bedlam on the summit and headed down into the brighter weather. Happy birthday Emma and well done for not baulking the gap!

Friday 11 June 2010

Tour De Lochaber

The river crossing at Luibeilt
The new path near the Leacach Bothy

With a damper forecast I decided to take my new bike for a run to bed it in. I cycled from home to Glen Nevis, made the long pull up the West Highland Way which I followed through the Lairig Mor to Mamore Lodge above Kinlochleven. Then it was onwards past Loch Eilde Mhor and Loch Eilde Beag to the river crossing at Mheanach/Luibeilt. Then its the long carry over to the Lairig Leacach bothy- made slightly shorter due to a rideable new path extension. After that the long coast down to the shop at Spean Bridge (the previous 7km took and hour and a half, this 7 km about 25 minutes). Finally along the A82, into the forest at Leanachan and on to Corpach. 75km and about 1750m of ascent in 7 hours. I'll work out the stiffness tomorrow on Tower Ridge!

Short video of the carry up from Mheanach bothy- listen carefully and you'll hear me gasping!

Thursday 10 June 2010


Despite a bit of a head cold today I went with Rich to take advantage of the sunshine and went to Carn Dearg on Ben Nevis to climb Centurion (HVS 4c,5a,4b,4b,4a,5a,4c). The first pitch is an awkward crack which led to a nice sunny belay for me whilst Rich got to grips with the long sustained second pitch- which was a bit damp- nice lead from him! We alternated leads on the easier 3 middle pitches but I jumped in to take the second 5a pitch which was also a little damp. This left Rich the last 4c pitch which saw him climbing a series of booming flakes that he was able to play like the drums!
It was a busy day on Ben Nevis (for a midweek day), John and his team went to ski Tower Gully, teams were visible on Tower Ridge and we chatted to two pairs who did Route 2 Direct. Great conditions in Lochaber for mountain rock but we did experience a midge or three all the way up the route.
Awesome climb......