Friday, 8 August 2014

A week on Skye with family and friend

We did all sorts on Skye, both in the mountains and as tourists.  Skye highland games was a particular highlight, I think I will enter next year!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Ledge route Stag do

Before, stag on the right
First hands on rock
Today I was back on Ben Nevis with 4 lads from London who have come up for the weekend.  There was meant to be more but by the sounds of things they bailed out as they thought they were not fit enough. So with our strong team we made a rapid ascent upto the CIC Hut, bearing in mind we left the car at midday after the guys had a long drive up from London.  We tackled Ledge Route, picking out lots of little tricky sections just to add spice to the day.  We reached the top, made our way to the summit, where there were still plenty of walkers on the tourist route so we carried on away from the crowds

Still lots of snow up there

Dream Team

and came down into Coire Leis vis the old abseil posts.  A brilliant day for the lads as the saw the best part of the mountain and had a great challenge.  I hope their night out in Edinburgh was a success too.  3 weeks off for me now, week one family holiday on Skye, week two and three in the Alps.  Have a good August!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Salvage Day

Today was my last day out with John after our ridge traverse attempt.  We opted for a section of the ridge that John hadn't done before so we went up from the fairy pools and up Sgurr an Fheadain and then on up to Bidean Druim nan Ramh.  From here we went over An Caisteal and up onto Bruach na Frithe before coming down its north west ridge.  I didn't take my camera with the given forecast, it actually turned out quite nice.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

You win some, you loose some.

A promising start to the day
More mist
I cant quite decided if we have won or lost over the last two days.  How do you measure success and should we be unhappy with failure?  My client John wanted to do a Cuillin Ridge Traverse,  he has 20 years of Cuillin experience, he knows the Isle of Skye better than I do.  But at the age of 60, he needed a helping hand along the ridge.  The plan was south to north including everything possible.  Munro's and all the rock climbs.  Day one went well, we moved through the cloud all day, climbing the TD gap, third time lucky for John and an big weight taken off his shoulders, up King's Chimney, another big ambition, Sn Stac, In Pinn and on the the bivi at Sgurr a'Ghreadaidh.  Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse and persisted through the morning.  We made the decision to head off the mountain as it was going to be very slow progress and pretty unpleasant.  So unfortunately not a complete traverse but John succeeded in two ambitions on the first day.  A success within a failure I guess.

John in the TD Gap

More Mist

Bivi in a cave...sub optimal

Sunday, 27 July 2014

He who dares my son, he who dares!

Brothers Mike and John

Coming up the Pinn

Somewhere on Skye...Could be anywhere

Top of the Pinn

Team summit selfie

Tried to clear out but not quite

John backing up mike on abseil

Persistanced paid off today for John, Mike and I.  Our combined team age of 174 years (I'm 27 by the way) watched as two other guided parties drove away from the car park as it was raining.  I convinced John and Mike that it was to clear up and we pressed on.  3 hours later we were stood at the foot of the Inaccessible Pinnacle deciding whether to climb it or not.  It didnt take long, we were going for it.  The rain had subsided, the timing was perfect.  As we made many pitches up the ridge the rock was so warm and was drying off perfectly.  It was a dream come true for John and Mike.  Unfortunately the cloud didnt lift but this left us with some very atmospheric situations.  We all abseiled off and headed down into Coire na Banachdich just as the rain started.  Persistance paid off.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  We ventured and John and Mike achieved a lifetime ambition.  A great day in sub optimal conditions.  Sweet!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Church Door last!

Iain enjoying the exposure on the top pitch of Temple of Doom
I have wanted to climb here for a long time.  Probably Glencoe's finest crag but one that takes a long time to dry.  Fortunately the weather has been warm and dry and the crag was perfect.  I made the long walk up to the 950m high crag on Bidean nam Bian with Blair and Iain, both who made the walk up earlier in the week to climb a new route on the crag which Iain graded E7.  Fortunately for me, E7 wasn't on the cards today and we chose to climb 3 of the uber classic routes.  We worked from right too left starting on Temple of Doom (E3 6a), a superb route with 2 outstanding pitches feeling like old school E3...which means quite hard.  We had an abseil set up so we made rapid descents back to the ground before setting up on the Lost Ark (E4 6a).  Again another sensational route and worthy of it 3/4 stars.  The exposure and positions on the routes were just incredible.  Finally we finished on Kingpin (E3 6a), a 4 star route, and Extreme Rock tick and just pure brilliance.  The rock on the crag is so rough, very similar to gabbro found on Skye.  It was a great day, we finished our last route at 10pm, back to the car at 11pm and having dinner at midnight.  What a great day! Shame the rain is on its way now.

Iain setting off on The Lost Ark

Iain on the 

Iain heading into nothing on the crux

Dr Fyffe's attentive belaying

Blair on the top pitch of The Lost Ark