Thursday 22 September 2016

T-shirt rock in Glen Nevis

Today I was working for West Highland College and the School of Adventure Studies. I was given Jenni and Fergus to take climbing in Glen Nevis. After a cool misty start the rock dried and the sun shone. Great to get an other day's t-shirt climbing in as we bouldered to work on some footwork and shifting weight and then climbed Pinnacle Ridge (Severe), a pitch of Styx Buttress Right Wall (VDiff) into the top of Iche (VS)- it just looked so clean and dry and inviting and finished with the guys leading The Gutter with little input from me. Happy days!
Fergus's fancy footwork in the mist
 A bit of climbing in series to give them a chance to build anchors and belay from above
 Jenni makes a new friend
Looking down the final pitch
 No hands climbing
 Fergus topping out on Pinnacle Ridge
 Not a bad view to end the route on?
 Jenni building another belay
All set
 Fergus cruising the slab
 Jenni setting out from the belay
 Softly, softly...
 The low hand improving her base of support
 Ace slab climber!
 First lead
 On the sharp end
 Safe stance
 Last pitch for us
Nice work- time to go!

Wednesday 21 September 2016

FUNdas and SPAs

Been a good few days beginning on Sunday with a FUNdamentals 1 for the MCofS at TCA Glasgow. I was running this for some of the Above Adventure team who will hopefully son have their own climbing wall to put things into practise on.
Monday morning was an SPA Reassessment with a successful outcome at Neilston Quarry for the candidate.
Then monday evening I began a busy SPA Assessment working with Andy at Glenmore Lodge. We paid visits to Cummingston (sunny) and Kingussie (stayed dry but cool) and used the Lodge wall. Great to have a clean sweep of 7 successful candidates!
Getting a feel for handholds
 All SPA Assessments should begin this way
 Precision and accuracy
 Ropes out
 Doddle Deirdre in the shade
 Well placed runners
 Out into the sun
 The loneliness of the long distance assessor- Andy waits on the stack
 Into the cave
 Andy ensuring the professionalism of the next generation...

Friday 16 September 2016

One more time... on the Aonach Eagach

I seem to have been here a lot this year and have been quite lucky with the weather. Today I was working for Steve Fallon again and Mick and I took Christina, Sarah and Ian along the Aonach Eagach. Christina and I were on a fateful attempt last August that felt more like November (freezing rain and wind) and today felt like it was going to be the same as we made a chilly slimy descent from Am Bodach. Luckily after Meall Dearg things improved and we had sunshine and views most of the afternoon. After a slow slippery start the team responded well and we made good time to Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh and they were positively speedy in descent (it was during the descent that Sarah pointed out that at some point I had changed her name and called her 'Clare' for most of the day- humiliation, senility is setting in, much hilarity from rest of team). Nice to see some overseas runners out receding the route for the Skyline Race this weekend- best of luck to all competitors! End of a great spell of mountaineering with 8 routes in 8 days and some great people to spend time out with. Cheers to Mick who is working towards his MIA and has been out with me this week- great craic and lots of chat, see you in the winter.

Thursday 15 September 2016

Finding clarity on Tower Ridge

It was grey and humid again today and the forecast suggested fog on Ben Nevis. Nonetheless Mick and I took Jonathan to the north face and on to Tower Ridge for the day. The first chimney was damp and slime and the lack of wind had done little to dry the lower half of the ridge. The cloud base seemed high though and we only disappeared into the mist properly at the Eastern Traverse. As I belayed the guys up onto the Great Tower I began to get warm and realised the sun was beating on me from a hole in the mist above and then as we paused for lunch the clouds rolled back to give Jon his first views from near the top in 4 visits. This let us put on a good show at the Gap for the tourists on top and the view lasted until the clouds rolled across the plateau with us to the top of Ledge Route. In Coire na Ciste the visibility dropped to about 30m and came and went until we hit the path just below the Hut. Nice to get some clarity unexpectedly at the summit though! Today's work was for Lochaber Guides- thanks Dave!