Saturday, August 15, 2009

Skye Munros

Well, i think that the summit photo on the top of Sgurr Alasdair says it all! The rain has been torrential these past couple of days on the Cullins and the high winds today made us realise the futility of a ridge traverse attempt so we've bailed and will have some fun on dry rock in the Inverness area.
The story of the panorama picture of the South end of the ridge from the glen brittle campsite is revealed in the detail: have a look at the bundled up tent by the side of the bin and various other broken and sodden camping equipment in the bins as many camping holidays were abandoned this week!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Gogarth Main Wall

A late-ish start today was made to allow low tide at 2pm to give James Thacker and I access to the left hand side of main wall. However there was quite a swell on and as i needed to make my 7pm flight at Manchester we stayed on the right hand side. A party was on the E1 Gogarth and the E2 to its right. Thanks to James T for 1. Telling me how to put inks in blogs, 2. Getting me to the airport and most importantly, 3. Taking over when i couldn't find the line through the enchanted broccoli madness!
I'm off back to the Highlands now to train hard for a Gogarth re-match in September.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Navigation and climbing on the slate

The weather has been a little less wet and wild in the second half of the week but the animals in Llannberis pass have still been lining up two by two searching for an ark. The rivers have been extremely high and i'm told that the local rescue team had 11 calls out last week.
I have been out working on navigation skills and have been on the slate a but for the odd cheeky after work route. The filming of the Hollywood film Clash of the Titans continues in the state quarries but access into Vivian and Bus-stop seems to be fine.
I've not been using the new Lx3 lumix camera too much as i'm still treating it with kid gloves and hiding it from the weather. However, the shot of the North side of the Llanberis pass was taken with it on Thursday when the weather was better.
Sunday is my last day down here and then i'm back home to the Highlands for a month before coming back down to North wales for September.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scrambling in the Ogwen valley

Last night the rain was monumentally heavy. Very high winds in the valley didn't bode well for today so we wonderd what the day would bring. As it tured out the secnd weather front seemed to have caught up with the first, hence the spectacular results last night. We went round to the Ogwen valley and went up and down various scrambles including the excellent Cneifon Arete.
Who knows what the weather will do in the next rew days but it was nice today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wet (again) Tremadog and Great at Gogarth

The rain was very heavy at Tremadog today so we lowered our aspirations and kept the big boots on.
Yesterday at Gogarth was very windy. A big swell was on and high tide at 2pm encouraged us to go to Holyhead mountain where we enjoyed ourselves on a host of single pitch routes.
The weather looks to continue being wet and wild for the next few days.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wet at Tremadog, Windy at Gogarth, Wild at Idwal

I though i better update this as i am running out of adjectives beginning with W and am having a day off so i don't need to use weary!

Iv'e been down in North Wales this last week but the weather has been similar to the Highlands, wet and windy. Ive been searching out dry rock at Tremadog and big boot climbing in the wet. We have been looking at advanced problem solving and crag rescue with scenarios such as an unconscious leader fall hanging in space on a traverse 5 pitches up and the more exciting leader triggers a landmine in a crack and must have his second come and de-activate it and then rescue them (we got a bit creative).

Gogarth has been damp but dried out well in the strong winds and gave good sport. Well done to the Scottish ream on Positron; good effort. As is the way, Gogarth has seen much better weather than Llanberris and where there has been an inch of standing water in the pass there has been sunshine on Anglesey.

Idwal has seen a few teams on the slabs, we have been using this as a venue for teaching scrambling and the efficient use of a short rope.

I've been shooting on a new camera this last week, a Panasonic LX3. The 24mm to 60mm lens is very nice and early results are promising. It is a compact that allows you full manual control of aperture and shutter in the way of an SLR and can work with filters which is a real bonus when you are shooting at altitude or in snowy conditions. it is obviously not as weather proof as the Pentax Optio range so i will have to take a bit of care with this one. I'm hoping for some good shots next week as we go on a few journeys around the Snowdonia classics and i actually read the instructions this weekend.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Long distance walking in the lake district

I'm now back in Scotland watching the rain lash the window after returning yesterday from the lakes. We walked over several peaks and passes each day and looked at detailed navigation work as we went.

The high crags were all dry last week but the rain sweeping the country will have changed that drastically. The picture shows Pavey Ark above Langdale.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Scrambling in the lakes (and dodging the rain)

The contrast to last weeks wall to wall sunshine is very apparent. The lakes have seen some heavy showers but thankfully none have been for more than 30min to an hour and we have had sunshine each day allowing the sunny aspect crags to dry from what i have seen.
We have been out in the hills around Buttermere and Grassmere and are moving on towards Langdale and Scarfell and then back to Buttermere at the end of the week.

Hopefully the weather will be kind.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Cairngorms, Skye, The Cullins and West coast sea cliffs

I'm 'between computers at the moment and so haven't been updating this blog. Ive been in a variety of places recently, the heat (and the midge) drove me to the high cairngorms where there are still decent size snow patches in the north facing corries. The biggest is on the west flank of Corrie an Lochain. The picture shows the corries of Brariach.

Other venues that i have been going to have been the sea cliffs of Reiff and Rhue just north of Ullapool. These short sandstone cliffs can provide pretty fierce challenges, quite similar in many ways to gritstone.

I've also been over to Skye where is has been in the high 20's C and climbing in the high corries has been pretty warm. I've been teaching multipitch lead climbing and have also been guiding classic routes on the magnificent 300m high face of Shron na Ciche, including as Arrow Route, Wall works route and the Cioch.

I'm going to be in the Lakes till the 10th July, but will try and post when I'm there if Internet access is available. Whether the weather will hold i can't say, it feels like we will be due a big thunder storm in the Highlands at the moment.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dodging the raindrops

It has been a mixed week weather wise; sunshine bright enough to hurt your eyes followed by torrential rain in some places. In other places we were chased off the cliffs by the midge!
However, one is generally onto a winner at places like Reiff and the Stone Pig cliffs. These perfect hard sandstone cliffs are 30mins north of Ullapool and have hundreds of fantastic lines from 8 to 40+m.
Pictures show me (yellow helmet) leading up a new route at the Stone Pig cliffs. Man and Buoy, 20m is just left of the E5 Clatterbridge on the concave face that gently overhangs at the top. The route was not climbed on sight unfortunatly as i had to abb down and push off a very large block to make it safe but was done ground up on the lead without any practice.
The other picture shows Martin Hind seconding with a buoy tied to his harness just to demonstrate that he is much stronger than i am!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Training for the Cullin Ridge

Ive been working with James recently preparing him for a forth coming trip to Skye. We focused mainly on good practice in abseiling completing several single abseils then a more complicated 3 pitch abseil descent down the crag. Oh, and we also climbed several routes in the process!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

'Summer' Navigation in the Cairngorms

Plans for Summer navigation practice up on the tops were re drafted with the fresh snow we have had in the Cairngorms over the last few days. What a contrast to last week where the temperature has been in the high 20's.
Instead we switched to low and medium level altitudes and suffered hail and rain rather than sleet and snow. Thank heavens for little mercies. I'm teaching rock climbing and absailing and personal rock climbing this week hopefully we may see the sun again this week.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Skye ridge and the Cullin traverse

More perfect weather and sunshine in the Cullins. Ive been doing the sections of ridge on different days rather than the whole thing in a push. This allows for a more relaxed approach and, perhaps more importantly the chance for a hot bath and a couple of pints each evening!

Ive heard a rumor that the weather will break mid week, I'm hoping that it is unfounded as the weather makes the Ridge one of the best places in Europe at the moment.

I'm over there again this week and will try and report back at the week end.

Friday, May 22, 2009

NW Scrambling

The weather has been quite variable this week in the North West. We have had sunshine and snow on the the tops, sometimes within the same hour. There are very very few small snow patches up high now as heavy rain has mostly washed them away.

The forecast looks to improve for the next few days. I'm out again in the NW on Sunday onwards.

Pictures are from scrambling on Slioch, where we took a more interesting way to the top of this munro.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Skye ridge Munros

The weather at the weekend was much better than forecast. It stayed reasonably dry on the whole and the wind, though strong, was not too bad.
We visited many of the Munros and tops on the southern end including the Inaccessible Pinnacle which we had to our selves on Saturday (amazingly!).
I'm out again midweek, i'll report back towards the end of the week hopefully. The forecast could go either way as it is very difficult to say exactly where the low pressure system will track as it moves across.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cullin Ridge Traverse (Skye)

The weather has been getting better and better since the weekend. I havejust done my second successful traverse of the season and the weather looks like it may hold till the weekend. I'm out again on Skye at the weekend so I'll report back next week.

The air has been incredibly clear giving fantastic views over to the Cairngorms and Ben Nevis (which looks like there might still be some easier winter/alpine style climbing to be had on it as it was a big white blob on the horizon).
Anyhow, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves; who needs the expense of the Alps when you can go to Skye?!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

NW and Skye

The picture is looking over to the west from Ben Wyvis (near Dingwall)
This week the weather has been very unsettles. There has been snow in places down to 600m at night but this hasn't lingered there more than a few hours before being chased back up the mountain by the warmth of the day.

There is still snow in the gullies in the Northern Corries, the majority of the Cairngorms snow in on Breriach, rather than on Cairngorm. The fresh snow didn't make it as far as An Teallach which was bare today, but there is still a healthy amount on the high hills south of there. I have been out and about in the NW but am on Skye next week for a ridge traverse course.

I have began 'summerising' the web site and filling in the details of the summer courses and guiding. They are not all there yet, in the mean time give me an email, of leave a message on my phone. The weather is looking very promising for the coming week, it got steadily worse apparently since i left Skye last weekend (i was pleased to find out!).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Skye Munros

Photos are: Looking over to An Stac in corrie Laggan, Near the 'Bad Step' on Am Basteir and Crossing the new bridge near the Sligachan at the North end of the Cullins.

Ive been on Skye again lately, scrambling on various Munros. The long spell of fine dry weather was interrupted last week and the weather was quite wild and wintry. It was quite quiet this bank holiday weekend and the In Pinn has not seen its usual queues of late (it could be something to do with the snow at the weekend!).
However it was typical Skye weather on occasion with snow on the tops, rain and cloud in the corries and sunshine in the valley!
I currently have two free days on Skye this coming Saturday and Sunday if anybody wants to experience some of the best scrambling in the British Isles.