Monday, July 11, 2011

Washed out from the Cullins, but happy.

Colin came back for a couple of days for a re-match on the Cullin ridge traverse. However the weather gods have a habit of laughing at the plans we make so we retreated to the mainland where we managed on the whole to dodge the showers (and flash flooding!) and find some dry multy pitch adventure climbing.
Colin was suffering from damage to his toes from running an ultra marathon the previous weekend (he takes his Cullin training seriously it seems!) and couldn't wear rock boots but heroically managed to second many HVS pitches in his trail running shoes. And this from someone who's previous rock climbing experience was just the day with me on the Cullin ridge traverse! What he will be capable of if his feet recover enough to wear tight rock boots we will see (he's coming back in a couple of weeks hoping for thirs time lucky...)

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cullin Ridge Traverse

I have been on the Cullin Ridge on Skye attempting a traverse. The weather last week was pretty poor but it came good for us at the weekend. However it has deteriorated somewhat in the last few days with high winds and heavy rain. Fingers crossed that the summer actually makes an appearance before the winter comes; perhaps i should re activate the winter section of the site!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Time to go back to Skye

For those who keep half an eye on this blog you will wonder what has been happening lately. The short version is that i took on a short term teaching contract this spring and so haven't been up to much guiding lately.
It's now the last day of term here in the Highlands and this evening i'm heading over to Skye for a traverse and then plan on another next week, but we will see what the weather brings; Scotland is our oyster for the week and we will go where ever the weather dictates.
I'll blog early next week to report back on the conditions on the ridge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Skye and the Cullin ridge

Well what can i say about the weather! It has been quite spectacular indeed with several inches of snow and at times near hurricane force winds. Not surprisingly the Cullins were quite over the weekend even though this is the Edinburgh bank holiday weekend and usually spare tent space in Glen Brittle is hard to come by. This weekend there was loads of space; some spaces were recently vacated by dint of tents being blown away!
Coin was on standby for a rematch of his previous 1 day traverse attempt on Sunday but we wisely postponed until a time when crampons and two sets of water proofs are not mandatory. However it must be said that Andrew and Moira managed to remain smiling on their recent ascent of the Inaccessible Pinnacle which would better be described as grade III. I'm told that the snow has mostly gone as of today (Tuesday) but there is just accumulations of pockets of hail in the hollows. What joy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sea cliff climbing and Creag Ghlas

The weather has been decidedly moist in the hills and particularly so in the West and NW. Sea cliff climbing and low level craging in the East has been good though, even whilst the dark rain clouds have been looming close. In some ways abbing into a new sea cliff and having a poke around can be just as 'exciting' as pushing it out on a high mountain crag, but with more sunshine and often an ice cream at the end of the day. What's not to like?!
Also of note is that Creag Ghlas (home of excellent mid mountain easyish access quality multy pitch routes) is ok to climb on. I thought the Golden Eagles were nesting there this year, but it seems i was wrong and the RSPB have agreed that the nest is not in use this year so we can all go and play (when it dries out).
I'm on Skye at the end of this week and may stay for the weekend if any more work comes in. Fingers crossed for the weather.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

NW Climbing and Skye

The fine weather continues. However every silver lining has a cloud and many places are suffering from large heather and vegetation fires. Glen Torridon is quite bad at the moment and it seems that some folk on Liathach had to get choppered off as they were trapped by the fire. I don't think that it is under control yet. It has also been a busy weekend on Skye with 3 calls to the mountain rescue on Sunday. I don't have any specific details of these but it is very important at this time of year to not be too trusting of the rock as it may be loosened after the freeze thaw of the winter.
I have been dodging the heather fires and have been investigating new sea cliff venues and going back to old haunts such as Ardmair near Ullapool. Ardmair is a venue that takes no prisoners and does not suffer fools. I like to go there at the start of the rock season for a real working over. I have been climbing today at my local sport crag, Moy Rock trying the new lines that Andy Nesbit and Ian Taylor have bolted. I found two of them (both quite easy, 4+ to 5 terrain) and was pleased that one of them was a line that i had done before on a top rope and thought it would make a good bolted line. There is still a lot of scope for development at this crag and other easier lines are still waiting for ascents. It has the potential to be one of the best sport crags in the Highlands. Well done to Ian and Andy for their hard work.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Blog catch up; Ski touring and Skye

Winter ended all too suddenly for most people; it seemed like one day is was touring the Cairngorm 4000ers with clients car to car on skis to having to walk for 45mins to the snow line to baking hot temperatures calling for the rock boots to be dusted off and the skiing had became more a chore to link patches of shrinking snow.
However the silver linning is that the early spring has mean that the hills are clear of snow and climbing and scrambling at all altitudes has been a viable activity for nearly a month now.
I have got back from my first spell of the season on Skye, this time preparing for and attempting a one day traverse of the Cuillin Ridge. My client, Colin, was an Ultra Marathon runner and i don't mind saying that he was fitter than me! However he had very little scrambling experience and no rock climbing experience at all. Importantly had never been to the Cuillins before so my job really was to lead all the rock climbs and show the way on all the scrambling sections and route find (and try and keep up with him when the terrain occasionally kicked back to walking territory!)
We made excellent progress on the day of our traverse up to the point where a twisted ankle descending easy ground on the way to Bidean Dhruim nam Ramh forced us to hobble back to Glen Brittle.
The fine settled weather looks like it will be continuing for quite some time yet and the hills will probably remain very quite for some time yet; a great time to get out just now.