A Fine Day in Sneachda

Well the day turned into something better than forecast. With lighter winds and even the odd spot of sun. Which happened to coincide with me topping out of two lovely grade 1 gullies.

As part of the consloidation for my winter ML i have to have climbed 10 named winter gullies att the grade. I have been waiting for the avalanche forecast to drop below cat4 on cat3.

Today the whole cairngorms was coloured green for go. The conditions in the gullies was superb. Nice consolidated snown so i managed to solo up central gully, then reverse down left central gully avoiding the ice before traverseing across under the pygmy ridge to aladins mirror. Then i headed up aladins couloir and across to and down Jacobs Ladder.

Att simply superb day out. I was worried that there might be some windslab in the gullies. When i first looked up. However save for att small patch in central gully that was avoidable near the top all was good.

I maanged them att with my one walking ice axe as well. As well as stopping to dig a couple of practice T-axe belays. If only all my hill day could have been this good!

Sorry not pictures as my camera is still drying out for the previous horrorshow of a day over on meagaih.

creag meagaidh

Well i got an early start and headed up to loch laggan. To attempt the few munros that lead to the window on meagaidh. The weather was attrocious.

I battle up to the first top with the wind behind me. In heavy rain that turn to sleet and snow on the top. I then had a 5km ridge to get to the window. There was just about enough snow and ice to make it a winter traverse.

It was all head to wind head down suffering to get to the window. Soaked to the undies i headed down from the window under the main crags, which if the temps dip will still be in nick. Especially the ice routes!

On my way i got a flat from a pot hole. So i am waiting for the AA,as the new car a doesn’t have att spare. Gutted!

No Rest for the Wicked

Well i had a lovely day in the Mambo cafe in aviemore, watching the rain hammer against the window. I was glad i was inside and not out there in the thick of it like my temporary landlady rocio.

Both her husband and I sat enjoying the best of the interweb and Tea and cake. The weather looks like it is set to steadily improve over the coming days. So i am back on the stomping programme, head toward craig meagaidh for att bit of a change from the main cairngorm range.

So wish me luck back out there!

Coaching Workshops @ LLAMFF

After chatting to the organisers at LLAMFF, it looks like I am going to be delivering some coaching workshops through the Beacon Climbing Centre. As well as giving a slideshow of Rock Climbing in the Americas. If you are interested in a bit of activity inbetween the awesome line up of films and presenters then you can sign up via the Beacon Climbing Centre during the coming weeks. I also think that eventually you will be able to book online from V12 and possibly Joe Brown’s.

Technique Workshop

Saturday 11am to 1pm

A workshop aimed at helping novice and intermediates climbers improve their movement technique. This is a practical workshop so bring your climbing gear.

Mind Games Workshop

Saturday 2pm to 4pm

This workshop is aimed at intermediate and improving climbers to help address some mental skill for success. Including an introduction to imagery, the use of self talk and planning for success

These workshops will take place at the Beacon Climbing Centre and can be booked through the Climbing Centre. Tel:01286 650045 at a cost of £20 per session. All session are restricted to a maximum of 6 people.

NB: If you are not a member of the Beacon Climbing Centre, some form of ID will be required to use the wall

Nearly Got up Breariach

The Chalamian Gap

Well another great day on the hill, I had an early start to make sure I had enough daylight to get up and down one of the Cairngorm 4000′ Breariach. The weather was thawing and the avalanche conditions had come down, so I went for it despite the threat of 60mph winds on the tops. After a bit of a hike to actually start the route via the Chalamain Gap, an aptly named geological feature and the Laraig Ruh.

I even met some of the Reindeer from the Cottage, on the way back they were so chilled out I got to walk among them, but I suspect that this is the herd they use to show the tourist, so they are very tame and used to use humans by now.

Anyway, back on the mountain the over night frost had cause a surface crust that I broke through almost constantly, usually with a few expletives to go along with it. It rain, it sleeted, it snowed, and I even got those 60mph winds the met office had promise. So a proper winters day on the hill. I made it up to the final short ridge to the summit platueax, about 500m away from the summit, and decided that the winds were too strong for me to attempt it. I had already been in the whiteroom for over an hour making my way point to point, and now had to head back through feeling my way back, now with even less of a view, as I needed googles to keep the sleet, snow and rain out of my eyes.

Anyway total goosed now, and the weather has 90mph tomorrow, so I feel more rest coming on as the weather is improving for sunday, monday and tuesday.


Laraig Ruh (sic)

Me suited up for the whiteroom
The view I had had for a couple of hour today! and 3 and 4 and 5 and.....

Blood Bath at the Bank

Well I knew that going to Scotland was going to be expensive, but I seem to be spending more and more cash. Today I had a rest day and tried to find some anti-balling plates for any one of the 3 pairs of crampons that I own. One pair isn’t even made anymore, another pair even the manufacturers DMM don’t have them in stock and nor did any of the shops in Aviemore, and the third pair are my climbing crampons rather than walking. So I had to buy a new pair of crampons with Anti-ball plates at £125.

Then I realised that I needed a watch for my navigational timing, and that an altimeter would help on the navigating as well, so that was another £165 on a Sunto watch, which is currently weight my wrist down. I haven’t worn a watch in over 10 years, and this bad boy is massive!

I then notice my googles were cracked, so brought a new pair of them. Finally I booked myself on my Winter ML assessment at Plas Y Brenin which cost another £550. So my bank has been loosing funds hand over fist! Although I did also get myself booked into do some shadowing at Plas Y Brenin in Scotland at the end of this month in preparation for my Assessment.

I booked on the assessment, as when I did the training back in 2005, i didn’t feel confident at all with navigation, however in those 6 years I have spent so much time with a map and compass on the hill in a variety of weather and conditions that I actually feel confident in the whiteroom! I just need to work on a little steep ground work and teaching winter skills.

On the 7th Day I Rested!

Whilst I am not comparing myself to God, I too needed to rest after six days of spanking myself on the scottish hills. My plan is to relax and eat, and probably spend even more cash, as I now need anti ball plate so will probably need new cramponsn and an altimetre watch.

Anyway today I was out with Jim Potter from the conway centre, we headed up out of glen feshie. Tick a summit via some time in the white room. Then back down and dug a small snowhole for lunch. Before the long walk out where we past Alex from the reindeer cottage in glenmore.

I am now resting in Ibex Guides HQ in scotland, with rocio and owen. I get a link up to there website when I get to the inter web cafe. As I can’t do it off my mobile.

Three days in the Gorms

Walking into the Hutchinson Memorial Hut

Well, I have been up in the cairngorm walking for three days. I headed in from Lin of Dee to the hutchinson hut, then walked over Ben Macdui, it was a pea souper until I was 100m from the summit. When I was glad to see my navigation was not as rusty as I thought. In was then going to climb up another munro, but the sun sets at 3pm, so I headed down to the corrour bothy where I met a few other walkers, the first people I had seen in two days!

They were a great bunch, and they thought I was mad when I proclaimed I was heading up Cairn Toul and then digging in and spending another night. As I left the bothy in the morning I didn’t make it that far, when I realised that the 60pmh wind and driving snow, were going to make it a very interesting day up there. I then headed back to the bothy and met up with the group who were going to walk out to Glenmore, They made it almost as far as I did before turning round and walking with the wind.

So I ended up drive Alex back to Glenmore, where he lives at the reindeer centre. So my little friends would love where I am now, with rudolf resting up after his christmas tour. I shall have to buy some soft cuddly toys! Anyway I have a few pictures, and plan on heading back out over the next few days on a smaller day walks. As winter is down to the car park, and it is set to thaw and rain by wednesday. So three days down only 17 more QMD’s to go before I have ticked the boxes for my Winter ML.

Weather Closing in as I reached the HMH
Looking out over Cairn Toul from Ben Macdui after the weather cleared
Me on Ben Macdui after the Clag lifted
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