Saturday 29 October 2016

Manky and mild but still fun on Curved Ridge

Adam wanted an introduction to mountaineering rope work so where better for a damp day than Curved Ridge than Buachaille Etive Mor? We had a sociable day climbing near my friend Alastair and Calum as we examined various belay techniques and the strengths and limitations of 'moving together' for novice mountaineers. It was hot and sweaty, bizarre after the rime ice of last week on Ben Nevis! Looks cooler again next week though.
Adam took to things well getting the opportunity to use the rope around spikes and Italian hitches as direct anchors, body belay and place his first gear. At the top of the Ridge we went right round to the 'dark side' of Crowberry Tower (looser and more slippery than anything on the Ridge below)|, topped out on the Tower and abseiled into the Gap for good measure. A good use of a damp day and hopefully a good start to Adam's roped mountaineering career!
 On Curved Ridge
 The closest to a view we saw all day
 Adam eyes the hold
 No-one ever called Alastair bonny!
 Adam's first independently placed nut; bomber!
What goes up....!

Friday 28 October 2016

Keeping dry on SPA Training

Dave and I were working for the School of Adventure Studies running an SPA Training this week for 4 students. We spent the first day covering a wide range of topics (PPE, peer belaying, indoor climbing, warmups, movement etc.) at Three Wise Monkeys on the first day, fled the Fort William rain to dry rock at Duntelchaig on the second and again stayed dry today at Polldubh. Pretty good going for late October in the west Highlands!

Monday 24 October 2016

Rimey and spicy on Tower Ridge

Chilly fingers today. After 10 days in holiday and a long weekend at the BMC Coaching Conference + a coaching children workshop (blog to follow) I was out with Diane and Martin again today. They are both pretty confident scramblers but today wanted to combine learning some mountaineering roper work with Tower Ridge. The North face was quiet with one other family group bailing from low on the Ridge and couple of parties on Ledge Route. Every patch of moisture needed treating with care until you figured out whether it was water or ice. We had sunshine but cloud when we topped out and a stiff breeze helped create the rime we found from the Great Tower upwards (large icicles in the tunnel too). There was enough to make pulling onto the Tower and crossing the Gap quite spice. A quick visit to the summit and then we headed across the plateau to catch the last of the sun as we descended Ledge Route to end our day.
I was wearing Rab Sawtooth Pants a thin thermal and the Boreas pullover all day. On the route I tossed on my new Alpha Direct jacket which did a great job in the cold wind and the generous sleeves meant I could use the thumb loops easily- the only reason I wasn't wearing gloves all day long!
 Morning light
 G'day Ben Nevis
 Moon over the Douglas Boulder
 Solo start
 Martin leading the way on the Little Tower
 Diane's turn in front
 Coming round the Great Tower with some rime in evidence
 That looks slippery!
 In the Gap
 Lotsa rime
 Gardyloo Gully
Summit selfie

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Glencoe Weekend

I spent a marvellous weekend with Nick, Di and a dozen students from Scottish Uni walking clubs looking at personal mountaineering skills on a Mountaineering Scotland course. I spent the first day with my team from Edinburgh Uni Hill Walking Club on the north side of Buachaille Etive Beag and then taking in both tops and after a lovely sunrise on sunday morning the team took themselves up Curved Ridge. Many thanks to The Munro Society for supporting the course and the students involved.