Monday, 7 July 2014

Aonach Eagach

Due too an unexpected alteration with some work today was my last day at work for 10 days and it was nice to finish on another super classic route with two great clients.  Mike has been over the ridge twice before in nice conditions so today we used the rope as it was pretty damp and slippy.  Maria had never set foot on the mountains in Scotland but was very fit and able and we made a successful traverse of the Aonach Eagach ridge.  Despite a wee bit of moisture in the air on the walk up hill it dried off pretty well on the traverse and was super fun.  Maria was happy that she got too experience real Scottish weather.  So 10 days off, forecast looks amazing.  I think I shall go to the Lakes and then Pembroke.  Today I was working for Infinity Mountain Guides.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Agag's Groove

Looking threatening
Dan enjoying the dry rock
Great place to climb
Day two for Jonathan and Dan and we thought another mountain 4 star route is on the cards.  Agag's Groove fitted the bill perfectly and the forecast was looking to hold out.  Unfortunately Jonathan was unable to complete the walk in so after much discussion he insisted that Dan and I proceed.  So Dan and I soloed up Curved Ridge to the base of Rannoch Wall and climbed the classic Agag's Groove in several pitches.  It was great to see two other teams on the crag, one on Fracture Route and one following us up Agag's Groove.  Turned out it was Finn, a client I went up Tower Ridge with last year.  A shower caught us on the last pitch and on the walk out but other than that it was a great day.  This weekend I have been working for Abacus Mountain Guides.

One abseil gets us back to the ground

Dan and his prize

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Tower Ridge

Glad to be back here
Jonathan and Dan striking a pose
It was another stunning day in Lochaber and I enjoyed the day with Jonathan and Daniel on Ben Nevis.  Jonathan had done his research and was really keen to climb the uber classic Tower Ridge and was not disappointed.  A helicopter was buzzing in and out of the north face all morning as it was resupplying the CIC hut with gas bottles, not something we see in our mountains everyday in Scotland so it was nice to see them do their work.  We made good progress on the ridge, passing a team who were trying to make a 'new' Eastern Traverse below the Little Tower, not advisable.  The summit again produced hundreds of people, and the summit experience was not one that Jonathan and Daniel will cherish,  we saw the summit and agreed that was close enough!  The day had taken it's toll on Jonathan's boots, the sole was barely attached as we got back to the car.  A quick stop at an outdoor shop for some boots then a celebratory beer.  Great day.

Don't drop them!

Cloud coming and going

A well earned breather

Busy on the descent

Final hurdle

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Best and worst of Skye

Sue and Steve on Sgurr Alasdair
Sue and Steve had everything.  I'm talking about the weather.  Firstly glorious sunshine, almost too hot, a day of super high winds, a day of constant cloud cover and a day of torrential rain and more high winds.  Their objectives was to gather as many Munro's as possible via the easiest routes as they have very limited experience in the mountains.  They started with 15 Munro's under their belts and no scrambling experience and finished with 23 Munro's after leaving Skye.  A great effort with several long days on the trot.  A well earnt rest for them is required and a tent repairing session for got very windy in the camp site too! :( This work was for Skye Guides.

Sue and Steve weaving pinnacles

Lowering off the In Pinn

Early morning sweat fest

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Neist Point

Piggy Bank goes just right of the arete
Today I managed to get up to Neist point and put a few routes to rest which I have wanted to do for a while and which turned out to be really good.  I headed up there with Ian and it was great temps for climbing, a little cool which helped with friction.  We climbed a good haul of routes ranging from E1-E3 with the highlight being Piggy Bank which is a contender for one of the best E3's i've ever done.  The sea cliff were ideal today, despite the mountains being dry, it was cold up there so tucking out the wind was the logical solution.  Cant wit to get back.
Great place to climb

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Coire Lagan Round

George getting ready for his round
100 things to do before you die - Climb the Cioch
The Coire Lagan Round is one of my favourite single days on Skye, picking off some of the most iconic pieces of rock and some fantastic sections of climbing.  George's aim was to get to grips with some nice scrambling and also summit a few Munro's so the Round of Coire Lagan seemed logical.  We started up the Sgurmain Stone shoot, ascending under the mighty Cioch and bumped into Jamie and his client for a social-able ascent.  We proceeded onto Sgurr Alasdair, the highest peak of the Cuillin, over some fantastic terrain to traverse along Hart's (Collies) Ledge and up onto Sgurr Micchoinnich.  From hwere we proceeded in beautiful weather to the scramble up onto An Stac and finished our day on the Inaccessible Pinnacle.  The Coire Lagan round never disappoints, if you havent done it then you must get it done.  Including the Cioch is even better.

Been there done that, the skyline we just climbed over.

Climbing up An Stac

All done, smiles on the way down

Friday, 27 June 2014


Amazing sandstone with amazing weather
Donald cruising at Bowden Doors
With a little mixed forecast in Scotland, Donald and I decided to nip over the border and find some sunshine at Northumberland.  I have been her before when I was younger and really keen to get back knowing what I know now (and being able to hold on a little longer).  We visited Bowden Doors, Kyloe and Callerheus over the 3 days climbing around 50 routes in various different styles.  Donald brought his big cams so we spent some time climbing very wide cracks, something I am not very good at and demonstrated a complete lack of skill which left Donald crying with laughter.

Donald soloing

Donald on an E4, ger in touch to find out what happened next! ;)

Donald finally got hold of the camera and took a photo of me

Monday, 23 June 2014

Tower Ridge and the CMD arete

Today I was back out with Graham, a client who I was out with last year and wanted to do some climbing on Ben Nevis.  Tower Ridge was the obvious option and was a route Graham has had his eye on for a while.  Fortunately another lovely day and not another soul on the ridge, or on the north side as far as we could see.  I don't know how many times I have done Tower Ridge but I never get bored of it.  Always interesting and exciting all the way to the top and everyone responds to the difficulties in their own way.  On the top was a different story, lots of folk shouting, smoking and falling over.  We thought lets head for Carn Mor Dearg, a Munro Graham hadn't done...and some peace away from the crouds.  Another great day and now for a few days off.  No pictures today.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Super Skye

Mark and Dan ready for action
Dan enjoying summit views
Another two super days work on Skye covering all the Munro's in the Southern end of the Cuillin and up to the In Pinn.  I was out with Mark and Dan and working for Skye guides.  Day one was the nicest so we hit Sgurr Mhiconnic and followed with a peaceful ascent of the In Pinn.  We shared no summit with anyone and passed only a couple of people which was a lovely chance from the masses I sometimes encounter on the Pinn.  Day two was a little overcast and a wee damp so it was ideal for the southern end finishing on Sgurr Alasdair.  It was a great couple of days and get me fit and ready for a weekend of wedding celebrations.  I shall allow myself some beer and champagne.  For these two days I was working for Skye Guides.

In Pinn happiness

Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Lou on Scultress
Last night I managed to steal an evening at Ardmair after work with Lou and returned today for another few routes before the rain.  We had a nice tally of routes, all of which were really good fun and it feels like a long time since I last went climbing in my own time.  Arms felt weak, flexibility was restrictive but things improved as the day went on.  I really should take more days off.

Nice evening location

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

North West Rock

Father and son on Stac Pollaidh
Ed loving the friction
Reed ready to walk the plank
Ace place to work
Over the last 3 days I have been based in the North West and doing a spot of climbing with Reed and his son Ed.  We covered most bases when it comes to traditional climbing.  Mountain crags, sea stacks and single pitch sea cliffs.  We started up at Stac Pollaidh and Climbed 2 VS's, Summer Isles Arete Direct which was great followed by Bats in the Belfry which was OK.  We were lucky with the weather and climbing in the sun all day.  Unfortunately it was a little bit moist on our second day and we planned for the Old Man of Stoer.  Unfortunately the rock was damp and Ed was unable to climb the slimy pitches in the rain, nothing was easy as it should be so we decided to bail and after some interesting abseiling we made it back to the Tyrolean.  Our final day was great and made up for day two as we climbed heaps of routes and Reed and Ed got up every single route and with smiles and eagerness for more

So far yet so close, then so close but so far :/
We didn't top out but this was fun
One of the 10 routes we did on our 3rd day

After a long day, coiling the rope is always a hard task