Tuesday 31 December 2013


Well I've been labouring under a stinking cold but at least the weather means I haven't been missing too much.
Until both I and the weather improve here is a little retrospective on 2013. Many thanks to everyone who has walked, mountaineered, biked and climbed with me this year and here is looking forward to seeing some of you again and meeting some new folk in 2014.
All the best and slàinte mhòr!

2013 from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Trench warfare

Man there is a lot of snow up there. Today I was working for Max and Hunter Mountaineering and took Clare to Ledge Route. I'd spoken to a friend who was there yesterday about snow conditions and was concerned about how much precipitation had come down overnight and the fact that it seemed milder than forecast. At the base of No.5 Gully the snowpack seemed friendly but there is an awful lot of snow above you there and the lack of debris but amount of snow led me to believe (correctly) that there would be biiiig cornices above and a well loaded top of the gully. We broke straight out of No. 5 and climbed some small ice smears/pillars out of the line of fire onto the start of Ledge Route which is as buried as I've ever seen it. There was a soft layer of newer poorly bonded snow 2 to 3 inches thick atop the older wetter snowpack at this level. It was falling away in small sections as we stepped through it. There was no evidence of anyone passing that way the day before at all and after a little wading we again broke right up some short steep grooves giving some III/IV climbing (gear was almost impossible to come by, if you could find the rock every crack is choked with ice) onto the area where the route becomes a ridge. From there to the top was a wading, floundering, gasping effort through snow that was calf to waist deep. We left quite a trench.
We saw climbers on Castle Ridge, heading into the SW Ridge of the Douglas Boulder area (but think they ran away) and someone atop Trident Buttress. Hard work to get anywhere or get any gear if climbing today.
Over the top we dropped into the Red Burn and followed it all the way down to the track.
Think I'm going to hurt tomorrow.
More pics on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/climbwhenyoureready.mountaineering/media_set?set=a.648581215184999.1073741893.100000993792059&type=3&uploaded=11
 Snow… lots of snow
 The ramp and the ice we used to access Ledge Route
 Clare following
 Climbers atop Trident Buttress
 Clare making it look stylish
Wading to the top

Saturday 28 December 2013

From this… to this...

Back to Scottish Winter tomorrow!
 Last few days
Driving home today

Tuesday 17 December 2013


I've had to skip staff training at Glenmore Lodge to look after a couple of small children recovering from a virus but we braved the stormy weather to give them a little fresh air near the house today. We went for a look at some of the trees blown down beside our neighbours garden.
Windy, cold and snowy on Ben Nevis today.
 Trees down
Ben Nevis this morning

Sunday 15 December 2013

End of the season's wall work

Its been the busiest Autumn i can remember. Articles to write for TGO (thanks for the many retweets, glad they've been so well received) and Climb Magazines on behalf of Glenmore Lodge, a slide show on Afghanistan, 3 of the new MT Coaching Award courses, CWLAs, FUNdas 1s and 2s for MCofS all around Scotland, CWAs, expels and indoor climbing for West Highland College, moderations for NICAS. Hard work, lots of travelling but lots of learning and experience for me too. Nearly time for a family holiday before winter kicks in again in earnest!
CWLA training for 5 candidates at GCC today. Thanks to Pamela Millar from EICA for the input and assistance.
Be good to cough the dust from the walls out of my lungs now!
 Tailed traverses
 How do we teach clipping anyway?
 Attentive 'm' belayers
 Offsetting the 'm'
Exploring limits

Saturday 14 December 2013

Foundation Coach Training

9 Students exploring the coaching process at GCC today. Plenty of discussion and opportunities to practise on and off the wall.

Friday 13 December 2013

Summer walking exped with UHI. Bring back the snow!

Winter is coming back -next week, thank heavens but I've just been on a walking exped with students from the ACOL course at West Highland College. Bothies, maps, compasses, rain, bog and lots of sweating!
 In the beginning
 Walking in
 Candle light
 Bothy crew
 Ryan and the river
Scott… oops
TGO have also made my avalanche articles from the last few issues available as a PDF which from the Twitter chat seem to have been well received.

Monday 9 December 2013

Final FUNdas of 2013

Back at Glasgow Climbing Centre for an MCofS FUNdas 1 today. Finally feel I've done enough of these that they are starting to flow a bit easier now and that makes it easier for me to adapt them to the audience I get on a particular day. 8 experienced wall rats today but within that team people studying sport science academically, NICAS Instructors and pensioners still cranking 7a, instructors with an excellent range of outdoor education knowledge- a good range of backgrounds to get sharing ideas.
 Volcanos or craters?
 Back slap circles
 Foot of the floor
 Tim before he became unbalanced...
 Rob already unbalanced...
 and the less said about Colin the better!
 Willie in perfect control
 Forcing Bruce to look down
 Laser plumbline
 Euan goes hands free

Sunday 8 December 2013

FUNdamentals 1 at Gordonstoun

Nice to visit one of the homes of outdoor education today and make use of their new climbing wall. I was directing a FUNdas 1 for the MCofS, assisted by Duncan and with a good group of keen school staff and external instructors in attendance. It was good to have Scott Muir there who was one of the first people to recognise the potential for coaching in climbing and worked hard to establish and enthuse  youth squads before these ideas were commonly accepted (the climbing walls he builds these days are pretty cool too). Another wall, another group of keen coaches and another, different course.