Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Busy in the Glen!

Today we were all meant to be in class all day giving presentations but unfortunately out tutor couldn't make it. So rather than heading back to the library we headed up Glen Nevis to make the most of the good weather. I headed up with Kev  with vague plans to meet Jamie, Lee, Graham and Craig.

Me and Kev headed up to Pinnacle Crag and climbed Staircase, then moved onto the last pitch of Pinnacle Ridge (severe) as a nice warm up route, then moved upto Styx Buttress. Hear i lead up one of the finest routes in the glen, Resurrection VS***

Near the top of Resurrection  

After this the weather looked to be closing in a little so we decided to head back to the car but en route ran into Lee helping out with an Outdoor Active group, chatted for a while then decided to have a play on Repton Buttress. I soloed Tykes climb (VDiff) while Kev tried out some bouldering problems.

The weather was still holding but we decided to head down anyway but this time we ran into Connor and Jamie on Pinnacle Buttress. We slung a bottom rope down Chalky wall E4 6a and had a bash at it. To my great surprise i managed to finish the route (as far as our rope would allow anyway) although with quite a few rests. Definitely one to work on and try to link up next time.
Kev busting a move on the awkward start of Chalky Wall

While the others all had a go i soloed up the 1st pitch of Pinnacle Ridge (severe), then we all packed up and finally managed to run away!

There were also a good number of larger groups out today with Outdoor Active running an intensive SPA training course on Upper Pinnacle and a few Outward groups on Pine Wall Crag and South West Buttress, showing off their shiny new jackets!

Lets play spot the instructor!

A much better day than giving presentations!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Rock On!

Yesterday was probably the 1st proper day of summer here in Lochaber! Blue skies, sunshine and t-shirts! Unfortunately i was stuck inside studying but when Graham asked if i fancied an evening on rock i jumped at the chance. G had is eyes on Plague of Blazes E2 5b*** but unfortunately the route was still damp from the rain the night before so we headed back down the glen to Dundee Buttress. Here i lead Promises HS 4b**. A nice line i've done before, which made a nice intro back into this rock climbing business after the winter break. Once done G lead Dundee Weaver HVS 5a*, another route i did last year (to date my only HVS lead actually) but another very enjoyable one with a good crux. Finally G soloed The Old Wall VS 4b*** while i played photographer.

Great to get back on the rock but i'm still hoping to get a few more winter routes in before it all disappears!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Back on the water.

Yesterday was another college day out with Matt to look at bio-mechanics in adventure sports. This weeks activity was kayaking. The morning was spent in the Mallaig swimming pool recording footage of different styles and techniques of rolls and braces before moving to Loch Eil Outward Bound to enjoy the glorious sun and get some footage of forward paddling and turning strokes in a variety of crafts. Next week will be spent analysing the footage from yesterday.

On a different note there is still plenty of snow around Lochaber and the conditions up at Nevis Range are said to be brilliant!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Another Overdue update!

CIC Hut!

Last Sunday and Monday Isi, Graham and myself managed to book ourselves into the CIC hut at the last minute. This is the first time any of us have stayed in the hut. Isi and i walked into the hut on Sunday morning, grumbling about the weight of our packs the whole way! We dumped our overnight kit at the hut, stopped for a quick breather and then headed into Corie na Ciste. We were planning to do Green Gully but with heavy cloud cover and perhaps a little less attention being paid to where we were that was wise we ended up climbing North Gully after finding the base of Green then foolishly paying attention to others around us telling us we were in the wrong place! It still turned out to be a nice route however and we took an alternative finish to it which went at about grade III.
Graham walked in and joined us for Sunday night and on Morning we headed back up in to the Corie 1st thing. Once again we headed for Green Gully but were beaten to it by another team who were also staying in the hut and a rather rude chap who rushed past us about 100m from the base of the route, muttering about having a train to catch, and began rigging a belay while his partner (a good few hundred meters behind us) caught up with him. Feeling a little put out by this we decided that rather than wait below him we would climb No. 3 Gully Buttress and come back to Green Gully if we had time. This is a route that i had done earlier in the season but we did an alternate finish to it so i was yet to experience the true final pitch! This involves an exposed traverse, which in the thin conditions we found involved some rather technical dry tooling which we all agreed felt far harder than grade III! Good effort to Graham on the lead!
Tuesday turned out to be a write off with a heavy dump of frash snow overnight and extremely strong winds so we packed our bags and walked out in the morning.

Cairngorm Snow Holing
Yesterday and today i have been over in the Cairngorms shadowing Mike Arkley running a snow holing expedition. It was meant to be a 3 day trip but due to a massive dump of snow (1 foot in 24hrs in the Fort and even more in Aviemore!) day 1 was scrapped with the group having a days cross country skiing instead. I joined them for day 2 and 3. We walked up to the Plateau via the Fiacailli Ridge and headed for Corie Domhain. While the wind wasn't too strong the cloud was thick and we were in white-out condition the entire time we were on the Plateau. This gave an excellent opportunity for teaching and practicing some micro navigation to find the bivi site. Here we excavated an existing snow hole and settled in for the night. The next morning the conditions were very similar to the day before although the visibility was a little better. We looked at some basic movement skills on snow covered ground, axe arrests and basic rope work skills for steeper ground before making to long slog out of the Corie, breaking trail in knee deep powder. Some more nav practice on the way out and we were soon heading down through the ski slopes.
Another excellent 2 days which i learned a lot from.

Tomorrow i'm out paddling with the college.