Monday 29 February 2016

Grand old Duke of York...

Day 2 of the PYB MIC trg today and we went to Stob Ban to put yesterday's mountaineering skills into a more serious environment both in ascent and descent. So we were like the Grand old Duke of York going up and down the East Ridge of the North Buttress with the trainees taking point. We also looked at some of the skills required to teach lead climbing. Damper, cloudier but not as windy as it might have been.
 Marching up to the top of the hill...
 ...and marching down again
 Shortroping- a dark art?
 The direct on the tower
 2 teams
 The knife edges
 The last bit...
 Weather not quite so nice
 Down the North Ridge
  The Easter Bunny strikes again

Sunday 28 February 2016

Working on the west... in the sun!

12 and a half years ago I turned up in Wales more than little nervous to face my MIA Training at Plas Y Brenin. I left with a very full brain and a lot of ideas to go and play with. Today I've been working on an MIC Training based at Plas Y Brenin's Scottish winter base; Alltshellach. Feels like a long journey. 'Nuff said on that, feast your eyes on the fine weather pics from today on Dinnertime Buttress!
 Lena enjoying the sun
 Mandy on point
 Picking a line on the upper buttress
 Direct belay
 The mug on the move
 Stuart leading the way
 Good snow
 Stonking views
 Into the coire
 Mandy enjoying the 'French bum belay' (don't ask)
 Views out to Schiehallion
 Pano 1
 Pano 2
Look! The Easter Bunny has been!

Thursday 25 February 2016

Warmer Cairngorm Climbing

Like yesterday I was observing climbing Instruction at Creagan Coire Cha No. Plenty of soft snow had fallen overnight.
 A meeting of minds?
 Abseil from the top of Jenga Buttress
 The mugonthemove at a busy crag today
 Bottom of Duke's Rib
 Time to go back up again
 Strath Nethy below
 Teams on Dukes and abseiling Jenga
 Ian getting 3 D on Jenga
 Higher up on Jenga
 Advice on the move
 Heading for gear
 More Jenga action
 A wave from the crest of Duke's Rib
 Heading for the top
 Another good bit of climbing
 And another
 Last belay
Lets go!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Diary of a human icicle

This week I'm Assessing candidates at Glenmore Lodge for the Mountain Instructors Certificate, the National Governing Body award for teaching all aspects of the skills involved in winter walking, mountaineering and climbing in the UK. This means I get to meet lots of people who have been on a very long journey through the Mountain Training awards spending years building up the necessary personal and teaching/working experience to present for assessment. It also means I spend much of the week standing on snowy ledges watching other people work.
Today I was at Creagan Coire Cha No. I was wearing 7 layers, I consumed a litre of warm blackcurrant cordial. After 4 hours in a warm room I can feel my toes again. It was cold and snowy and rather lovely once the visibility cleared.
 Only 4 layers on at this point
 Looking for a belay
 Abseiling down the line
 Today's 'mug on the move' shot
 Anvil gully
 Under the anvil
 Top of pitch 1
 3rd man up
 Looking across Recovery Gully
 3 happy climbers
 Andy over near the top of Duke's Rib
 Pitch 2
 Swing it like you mean it!
 That was quite snowy!
 Andy's team coming up to join him
Cold but pretty good really!