Monday, 27 October 2014

Some longer winter preperation

Easy climbing done, warm jackets on.
Me passing the large chockstone on amazing ice
Tony on the last climbing pitch before more easy romping
Today we opted for a half day for some reason.  We topped out on the 1000m Eugster Couloir Direct  route at 10.30 am.  No we didn't get the lift up, we just set off super early.  We opted for a bivi near the Midi Plan station, we settled in our sleeping bags at 6.30pm trying to get some sleep.  This didn't happen for me but I did count 25 shooting stars and wished for Tony's snoring to stop.  At 3am my wish came true.  So Murdoch, Tony and I brewed up at 3am and wandered over to the route.  From the start we made swift progress up the initial snow slopes to the main section of climbing.  4 or 5 pitches of Scottish 5/6.  6 hours after starting the route we arrived at the Aguille du Midi lift station and headed down for lunch.  It was a brilliant route, Murdoch's first Grande Course, just a shame the difficulties were for only a few pitches.  Now we rest for a day and seek out a route of a more sustained nature...
Murdoch and I with chamonix in the background
Murdoch and his extra long arm

 If you want to climb in Scotland or climb winter routes then click here.

Sorry Murdoch.  I couldn't resist
Tony and I not paying attention to Murdoch

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Winter preperation

Non walking approach
Not stellar weather but still very good
So I'm currently out in the Alps doing a little bit of winter preparation as conditions are very good out here at the moment.  We arrived yesterday so we opted for a short 'Scottish Style' route on Aguille Du Midi.  Now, given this is a very short approach (A lift then 4 abseils off the lift station) and it was the weekend, we were not the only one's with this idea.  So choice 1 was out of the question but we found space on the brilliant Vent Du Dragon (TD-).  I had done this route in the past but in terrible conditions.  Today was bliss compared to when I last did it.  The ice was great and fat, there wasn't waist deep snow and the mixed sections were very accommodating.  Felt like Scottish 6 which is about right.  It felt like Scottish 7 last time.  We topped out onto the Cosmiques Arete and up to the lift for a leisurely afternoon.  Time to plan next route.

Lots of teams seeking out good conditions
Murdoch remembering how to ice climb
Tony, Murdoch and I on the Cosmiques Arete
Murdoch running up the crux of the CA
Great alpine visions
Wedding bells were ringing at 3800m

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Winter is around the corner

Blizzards still mean fun in Glencoe.
Solitude in the Cuillins, Isle of Skye

Having come back from America's rock climbing road trip, I am feeling the urge to swing ice axes, dig for cracks, shiver on belays and see the mountains come alive with snow.  Infact, I believe there has been a small amounts of snow on the tops already.
Mountaineering the North West Highlands

Blizzards on Beinn Eighe
So I'm hoping for a great winter of lots of walking, mountaineering and climbing.  I'm looking forward to climbing new routes, classic repeats and hard mixed lines.  I love visiting new areas and crag and summits I haven't been on so the next while will be spent looking through guidebooks and scanning some maps and making sure partners are psyched.
Mixed climbing, Murdoch on Great Overhanging Buttress VI,7 on Beinn Bhan

Learning to lead in Glencoe
I believe pre planning helps to have a successful winter, make time to enjoy the mountains as you'll miss out if you don't.  Make tick lists and be open to changeable conditions, try not to be too obsessed with one particular route.  Any day in the winter mountains will be a good one.
Happy team on top of North East Buttress IV,4, Ben Nevis
New routing in Norway

Click here to check out the Winter Page to get the ideas.

Mountaineering on the Forcan Ridge

Perfect weather on An Teallach

Does it get much better than this?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

America - too many photo's to deal with

I am now back from one of the best climbing trips I have ever had.  The trip originally was meant to be based in Yosemite for the month but after a week of moving campsite every morning we decided to go on a road trip instead.  So from Yosemite we headed to Tuolumne, Mammoth, Zion (Amazing place), Moab, Indian Creek and Royal Arches National park.  Here are a few photo's from the trip.  We climbed pretty much every day so feeling pretty broken now.  Not the best prep for winter so I'm scooting off to the Alps on Friday to get back on some snow and ice.
Guy high up in Tuolume...amazing granite

The Valley from Nutcracker

Donald and I on top of Castleton Tower in Utar

Me rapping off Castleton Tower

Warm up crack at Indian Creek.  Perfect hand size crack

Donald high on a tricky number, think we all took air time on this one

Donald on some shady Zion slab

Donald, me and Guy at the top of Made to Be Broken, Zion.  Amazing line.

Guy and Donald in Iron Messiah...a highlight route

A route called headache...3 pitches of brilliant climbing in Zion

Guy Seconding the first pitch of Shuan's Buttress.  Haaard warm up!

Donald shuffling up Castleton Tower