Sunday, 28 June 2015

A proper mountain day

I'm spending the weekend with MIA Trainees Jess, Gordon and Lena. Today they wanted to look at what they will be assessed on on their mountain day. I offered them a pretty standard up and down day on the Buachaille or a 'serious' challenge. They opted for the latter…
We started up B Buttress on the West face of Aonach Dubh in Glencoe discussing some of the local botanical life on the way. After Gordon negotiated the team over the greasy steps to the middle ledge Lena took over and traversed the Middle Ledge into No.4 Gully. From the consequential but easy path along the ledge things got steeper, looser and damper in the bed of No.4 Gully. We paused to admire the amazing rock architecture of this quiet part of Glencoe (once upon a time the rock climbs here saw regular ascents now they are less frequented) before Gordon took over again to take the team up the slab, north along Rhyolite Romp and down into the Ampitheate at the top of Dinnertime Buttress. I jumped in for a short way to give an example of how I move a roped team around the mountain before handing things back to Lena for the last couple of slippery tiers as we dropped back down the Buttress.
The weather was on, off as were the waterproof trousers. We could often see sun over Ballachullish whilst we were being rained on but it was rarely too bad.
The guys stepped up to the mark with a day designed to stretch them all round. Despite not reaching a top its a 'proper' mountain day.
 Geared up, ready to go
 A rare spike on B Buttress
 Jess and Lena
 High above Glencoe
 Starting out on the Middle Ledge
 Lena on the sharp end
 Small ledge, big exposure
 In No. 4 Gully
 The 'spike' belay
 Lena on the rib
 Great scenery
 Jazz hands- Lena's Michael Jackson gloves (are these yours Max ;-)
 Big rock architecture
 That way!
 Gordon getting some friction
Last steps
 Top team!

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