Sunday 29 July 2012

CWA TCA Part the second

Day 2 of our CWA Training and we were at the excellent TCA Glasgow again in the morning. As well as looking at group warmups and the process between training and assessment we had a good look at then basics of climbing movement and the way the centre of gravity can be used in a static and dynamic context.
Then this afternoon it was off to Lapwing Lodge to use the climbing tower that forms part of their high ropes course. We had a friendly reception and looked at some creative approaches to peer belaying as well as the towrope and abseil module.
 Understanding the Centre of Gravity.... or was it the Gay Gordons?
 Hands low climbing
 Encouraging better footwork
 The high ropes course at Lapwing Lodge
On the tower
A great 2 days with 9 keen and interesting folk.

Saturday 28 July 2012

CWA Training day 1 for TCA Glasgow

Weary today after a busy but good day Directing a CWA Training at TCA Glasgow. as well as making use of the great facilities there we also visited Glasgow Climbing Centre for some roped climbing. I have 9 students on the course including 6 from Lapwing Lodge where we will spend part of our day tomorrow.

Friday 27 July 2012

Dry cragging in the Central Belt

Today I was working with Iain and Neil. They've been exploring lead climbing on outdoor rock and wanted some input on what they were doing.
So after Ben Nevis and the mist yesterday we were in search of dry rock and some sunshine today. We travelled from Glasgow to Traprain Law near Haddington in the east to avoid the showers and got away almost completely dry (just the odd shower.... usually when I was on the crux of something interesting....).

We spent the day looking at placing ear, building belays and abseiling from these pleasant if rather polished crags. The guys ended the day by each leading a VDiff- well done.

Thursday 26 July 2012

A proper day's mountaineering.

Ray wanted to do Tower ridge 'properly' which to him means doing the Douglas Boulder too. We walked in at a pretty blistering place as the mist descended and after saying 'hi' to Max and team at the CIC Hut we were soon gearing up at the base of the Direct route on the Boulder. 6 pitches of greasy rock later we were standing next to the abseil anchor next on top. A quick abseil down and we soon caught up Max and his friends who let us pass through. We were hoping for an improvement but it stayed flagged in all the way to the summit. We had made good time so we decided to avoid the pony track and headed for the top of Ledge Route. As we descended this the cloud finally began to get patchier and to give us some views. A great day out and about 3500 feet of mountaineering all told up and down!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Dry! :-)

Today we took the SPA Assessment  to Stirling in an effort to find dry rock. Kips Crag was a new spot for me. Its small but sports a pleasant handful of lines  that would keep a small group of beginners occupied for an evening/ half day. The walk in is short, the aspect open, pleasant, south facing and (important after the last couple of days) dry. The rock was better than expected too.

Monday 23 July 2012

Wet again

SPA Assessment day 1 today. We began at Glasgow Climbing Centre and then moved on to Neilston Quarry. Today i went for Pro-shell over pac-lite. With west Scottish Rain one layer of Gore-tex is never enough. Only my arms were wet and that was from water running down my sleeves as I climbed.
Well done to Jamie and Laura for putting up with the conditions today!
 In the corner
In the rain!

Sunday 22 July 2012

Wet pants... first time this year! Mountaineering on Aonach Dubh

Second day of the AMI Workshop for Trainees on short roping. The guys were up for an adventure, didn't mind the fact that it was chucking it down and blowing a gale (it was almost a refreshing change after the summer here so far.... almost....) and keen to go somewhere new. So I took them to the west face of Aonach Dubh.
we started up B buttress, traversed along the Middle Ledge (like a slightly easier Eastern Traverse from Tower Ridge.... but 300m long) to No. 4 Gully, then headed up and left along part of Rhyloite Romp and finally down Dinnertime Buttress. This route takes you past some really jaw dropping scenery and deserves to be done more. If it were on the continent it would probably be a via ferratta with cables and rungs where needed. As its in Scotland though its a wee gem that many mountaineers and scramblers never experience. Slippery when wet though... you need to be happy on slippery Grade 3 scrambles if its damp.

Saturday 21 July 2012

AMI Shortroping, Karabiners, Mazeno, Trango, Charlie on the rocks and the Loch Oich Loop

Big congratulations to Sandy Allen and Rick Allen on their successful full traverse of the Mazeno Ridge including summiting Nanga Parbat. Back in the early 90s my second expedition abroad included a solo crossing of the Mazeno Pass just because of what I'd heard about this enormous ridge with numerous 7000m+ summits along its length. A real epic feat of endurance and determination. .

A nice wee piece on Karabiners from the BD QC lab: .

Good luck to Tim Emmet and his team of flying head cases in Pakistan:

Lots of people will have seen this but... at least he felt he had to give it a try:

I had a great 50 mile plus ride from Corpach up the Caledonian Canal to Loch Lochy, along its east side, then east of the canal on the old rail track (mistake this... at least 20 trees down, mud and deep water meant 2 miles of lifting bike over obstacles) until back on the Great Glen Way (great this, root but dry and fast but fun) up the east side of Loch Oich, round the head of the loch and steeply up and then down the single track to Invergarry (superb), steeply up again on the forestry road before the fast blast down for a break at the friendly Well of Seven Heads shop then along the single track road back to Loch Lochy and the reverse of the route out up and down along the shore, on the road and single track from Clunes to the Canal and then fast as you can to Neptune's Staircase. Just the odd shower and a good ride.

Finally today I have had 4 trainee Mountaineering Instructors out for the first day of a weekend Association of Mountaineering Instructors short roping workshop. We spent a dry and only slightly midgey day on Lagangarbh Buttress on a busy Buachaille Etive Mor. We spent the day looking at the judgement and systems involved in protecting students in ascent and descent.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Buggy, lichenous cragging. Can't win them all.

Not the  most productive day yesterday. Went to Strathconnon but arrived to late to go to the excellent Creag Ghlas. So we explored some of the smaller crags in the area.
Strike 1: Meig Crag. Slime in the crack on the cleanest rock, big wet streaks, lichen, bracken, ticks, midges.
Jamie B excavating slime from the crack

Strike 2 Scatwell slabs upper. Clean boulder problem starts followed by lichenous looking slabs, more ticks, less midges.
3rd try: Glenmarskie, slight breeze holding off the midges. I took us up some hideous lichenous slabby thing totally failing to trust my feet on anything, Jamie led well on a cleaner steeper HVS, Davey swatted midges and flicked ticks off. Then we legged it before the gate was locked at 5pm. Can't win them all.
Mmmm.... moss.... lichen.....

Much cleaner HVS

In between picking blueberries with sandy today I've added new dates to my NGB Courses. These ones based around Glasgow (see the bottom of the blog).

Here is another book to add to your booklist:

and I thought this explanation of risk and mountaineering in the Guardian was a good primer for the public at large:

Monday 16 July 2012

Another dry day, CMS, Greenpointing and more biking

Another lovely day today and I was at Wolftrax with the family. The day was important as the new Mountain Training Website and Database officially went live today. Take a look at the news release and if you are an award holder then please activate your account:

You need you MT Registration Number.
Click on Candidate Management System
Use the 'Existing Candidates' under option 1, then complete the required fields using making your details match those when you originally registered.
Then you can update your details and access CPD workshops and courses around the country.

Uh-oh, this video shows that the Euros aren't all just into bolt clipping.... when did you last 'greenpoint' a route? This could be bad.... if they get the head for trad they are so strong most of us will look REALLY rubbish:

Here is a quick vid of Sandy at Wolftrax. Its a year to the day since his first unsupported die on a pedal bike. Now that bike has been retired and he's showing better technique than me!
Exactly one year on a pedal bike- Sandy at Wolftrax from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

Stop press: from Nanga Parbat, a successful ascent by the Mazeno Ridge. Now here's to them finishing it off and getting down safely:

Saturday 14 July 2012

Rock climbing MOT

 Pinnacle Ridge
 3 Pines
 Flying Dutchman
 Flying Dutchman 4c Finish
 Not THE most substantial abseil anchor
Today I was out with Matt for an MOT on his rock climbing. He's worked his way up to leading VS but wanted someone to look over his gear placement and ropework. we went to Glen Nevis and were treated to a dry day, a little sun and very few midges. We started with me leading a couple of pitches on pinnacle Ridge and Mat building his own belays before he led us out the top of the route. Then we climbed 3 Pines in a pitch each and dropped down to the middle ledge on Flying Dutchman. I led the main pitch to allow Matt to get to the 4c finish which he made short work of. We abseiled off of the top of the pitch (choosing a slightly more substantial anchor than the one below). We finished the day with Matt leading the classic Resurrection and arranging another abseil from the top.