Tuesday 28 April 2015

Back to work, walls and unseasonably snowy rock

Not much to add to the shocking situation in Nepal. Tragic.

Since my lovely mini break climbing in the Lakes I've been in Aberdeen running a CWA Training for 6 students at RGU and Transition Extreme. Then there was a day in Glen Nevis with Dave and Andy. Dave is prepping for his MIA Assessment and the day was mostly about problem solving to see how well he is applying the set pieces he learnt at training in response to scenarios. The snow was falling on us but we also got lucky with some dry rock between the showers.
 RGU Climbing Wall
 Time in the sweatbox!
 Bouldering games
 Dave on Hangover Buttress Left Edge- earliest recorded route at Polldubh
 Solving the problem
 Cross 3
 A little soggy
Coming down

Snowy rock climbing spring 2015 from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

Friday 24 April 2015

4 days in the Lakes pt 2

Day 3 of our mini break and we were joined by the legend that is 'Monty' Monteith. Black Crag in Borrowdale was the venue and we had it to ourselves. Monty and I took the road less travelled with Troutdale Ridge which was a little gorsey but the holds were clean between the bushes. Then we did the Shroud with a great first corner, incredible each through the overhangs of the second pitch and a traverse to a bottomless groove on the third that my pruner, the master of understatement described as 'airy'. Bill and Sandy climbed Troutdale Pinnacle Direct, The Mortician (I remember that well from this time last year) and T P Super Direct.
 Troutdale Ridge
 Monty navigates the gorse
 Happy climber in the sun
 Sandy on Pitch 1 of the Mortician
 Monty on the soaring first corner of The Shroud
 Sandy getting to grips with the steep entry to the groove of Mortician
 Monty inspects the 'airy' traverse on P3 of The Shroud
The blues dots centre right are the team whilst I head back to prep dinner!
Fourth and final flu day of climbing and the boys humoured my desire for slabs and less polish and we headed to Sergeant Crag Slabs where I helped place the abseil bolts 4 years ago. This steep 5m slab is a relatively new addition to the local crags and boasts rough rock at a reasonable angle. We took it in turns leading and stripping routes on abseil so we could all enjoy them on the sharp end and climbed Lakeland Cragsman, Revelation and Terminator 2. Top rock, top fun.
 Sandy heading up for the bolts after Terminator 2
 Down time
 Monty the safest climber I know on 4 ropes? (2 are the abseil lines)
 An attentive belayer
 Sandy on Lakeland Cragsman
 Great route
 bill's turn on LC whilst Monty does T2
 Not a bad spot
 Stripping routes on descent
 The best climber at the crag
 Spot the clean rock
Bill feeling the fear and revealing his squirrel phobia
All in all a grand few days with some great mates, relaxing, climbing, eating, climbing, bullshitting and climbing. Thanks to Sandy for the sausages (they weren't that burnt), Bill for opening the window and not really minding our snoring (did you find those rocks in your sack yet mate?) and Monty for being a legend and showing us how its done (and, more importantly, for the beer)!

4 days in the Lakes pt 1

Bill and Sandy and I had been planning to attend a training event this week that we were all invited to but when it was cancelled we took the opportunity to go climbing.
I joined them heading to the Lakes on Monday where after dropping the gear at The Climbers Club Hut in Grange we headed for Shepherds to make best use of the remaining time. The well polished Borrowdale volcanic rock is a far cry from Ardnaumrchan Gabbro as well as being a bit steeper and Adam felt a bit of a pull whilst Ardus was a walk by comparison.
 Bill getting steep on Adam 
 Sandy fighting his floating feet
A walk on Ardus
Day 2 and the weather was as glorious as predicted and we headed to Gimmer Crag. Lichen Grooves was the warm up route (it was right above us when we opened the Guide) and better than the name might suggest. A quick abseil took us down to the gear and a shuffle left saw us Kipling Grooves- the last pitch of which I found 'Rudy-'Ard' indeed! The day ended appropriately with a beer in the ODG- how else?
 Bill on P2 of Lichen Grooves
 Composed on the belay
 looking down the Lichen Chimney
 Not a bad day
 Sandy commits to the undercling pitch
 And then a wee pull to...
 …a very wee stance for 2 big chaps!
 Heading down
 End of the day
 Roadside cragging… by Scottish standards!
The way to end the day!

Sunday 19 April 2015

A day indoors...

…at the Peak climbing wall in Stirling assessing 3 successful candidates for their CWLA. Well done Susan, James and Gary and thanks to the students from Strathclyde Uni Mountaineering Club plus Laura and Charlie for being guinea pigs.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Ardnamurchan Rock

Top day climbing with some current and ex West Highland College at my favourite early season venue. Lots of grade pushing and mileage going on. Well done to Kate leading Yir and Greta Gabbro and to Ben for his first VS!
After a lightly damp warm up I had fun sprinting up the top pitch of Volcane ahead of a shower (there were a few and it was freezing when the sun went away) and after the seeps dried out enjoyed Up Pompei (bottom end E2 5b).
With 3 of the guys we then headed to Creag and Airgid to see if there were any routes to be had not in the guidebook. Will and Dan had a short pitch as did Brodie and I but the rock was the roughest I've ever climbed on- massive gabbro crystals pitting our palms and making us unwilling to put fingers into cracks because of a slip. Worth it for the view atop this wee hill though!
 Dan dodging the seeps and the cold wind waving the ropes!
 Bright between showers
 Dan on P1 Crater Comforts
 Dan racing up P2 of Volcane before the next shower
 Kate on Yir
 Kate on Yir and Will getting to the run out crux of Up Pompei
 Ben and Magnus on Greta Gabbro
 Dan following Up Pompeii P1
 Dan on the steeper but short P2 of Up Pompei
 Edith following Kate on one of the Variation P2s of Yir
 Perfect rock, great view doesn't get much better!
 Kate finding faith in friction of Greta Gabbro
 Brodie questing for a new route 
 Ouch- I know my hands have been in gloves for months but that is ROUGH
 Will searching for climbing not in the guidebook
The Ring in Spring!