Monday, 24 October 2016

Rimey and spicy on Tower Ridge

Chilly fingers today. After 10 days in holiday and a long weekend at the BMC Coaching Conference + a coaching children workshop (blog to follow) I was out with Diane and Martin again today. They are both pretty confident scramblers but today wanted to combine learning some mountaineering roper work with Tower Ridge. The North face was quiet with one other family group bailing from low on the Ridge and couple of parties on Ledge Route. Every patch of moisture needed treating with care until you figured out whether it was water or ice. We had sunshine but cloud when we topped out and a stiff breeze helped create the rime we found from the Great Tower upwards (large icicles in the tunnel too). There was enough to make pulling onto the Tower and crossing the Gap quite spice. A quick visit to the summit and then we headed across the plateau to catch the last of the sun as we descended Ledge Route to end our day.
I was wearing Rab Sawtooth Pants a thin thermal and the Boreas pullover all day. On the route I tossed on my new Alpha Direct jacket which did a great job in the cold wind and the generous sleeves meant I could use the thumb loops easily- the only reason I wasn't wearing gloves all day long!
 Morning light
 G'day Ben Nevis
 Moon over the Douglas Boulder
 Solo start
 Martin leading the way on the Little Tower
 Diane's turn in front
 Coming round the Great Tower with some rime in evidence
 That looks slippery!
 In the Gap
 Lotsa rime
 Gardyloo Gully
Summit selfie

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Glencoe Weekend

I spent a marvellous weekend with Nick, Di and a dozen students from Scottish Uni walking clubs looking at personal mountaineering skills on a Mountaineering Scotland course. I spent the first day with my team from Edinburgh Uni Hill Walking Club on the north side of Buachaille Etive Beag and then taking in both tops and after a lovely sunrise on sunday morning the team took themselves up Curved Ridge. Many thanks to The Munro Society for supporting the course and the students involved.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

A windy walk on Ben Nevis (the rule of pints)

Today I was walking with second year students from the School of Adventure Studies at West Highland College. The goal for the day was a steady hill walk to ease them back into the way of being in the mountains. The wind did not help.
We beat a way to the CIC Hut where the number of debaters and decision making was more akin to a winter day than an Autumn one. I clocked a gust of 100 Kph on my wee anemometer at about 650m and we were properly being pushed about. Do you know the rule of the pints and walking in the wind? Each 10mph of wind makes you feel like you've had a pint of beer when it comes to walking and with a steady blow of 30mph and gusts of over 50mph on the walk in there was plenty of staggering going on!
I popped on my brand new Rab Alpha Direct jacket over my Boreas Pull On and was sat at the perfect temperature for a cold, dry windy day!
We abandoned hopes of a high day and scrambled into Coire na Ciste to catch up on Max's team. They had poked a nose towards Ledge Route and scuttled back having almost had it blown off.
A little more scrambling, a find of some minor climbing booty in the screes and we descended. The team polished off almost the last of this years bilberries and spotted some bearberries to, along with some lingering torrential, cross leaved heath flowers, a solitary harebell and the autumnal staple the devil's bit scabious. The chat was good too as my mentioning that the Inuit use crowberry brush to smoke fish led to a discussion on the viking extinction in Greenland and a current TV series that I have apparently missed out on!
 Liam likes blaeberries
 Blustery walk in
 Max windspeed in Kph at the bottom of the screen
 Sheltering in a hollow
 Coire na Ciste
 Spot the students in the screes
Team Max

Saturday, 1 October 2016

A week in the life...

Monday and tuesday saw me at my home walls Three Wise Monkeys and The Ice Factor directing a Climbing Wall Award Training, wednesday was a travelling day off with folk from Scottish walls down to the Association of British Climbing Walls AGM at Plas Y Brenin. The ABC is really coming of age and has grown to encompass well over 100 walls and represents a body of knowledge on what is and has been happening in UK walls and what works, doesn't and needs to be done to run a safe wall that is enjoyed by climbers. After 2 days of workshops (accident investigation, accident statistics from UK walls, route setting and the new ABC Guidelines for me) and being elected to the Training Committee we managed a short window to run up Tennis Shoe in Cwm Idwal before heading north again. This weekend its two more Scottish Walls: Glasgow Climbing Centre and TCA Glasgow for another CWA Training... a world or wall for me!

 A variety of belay devices
 Bells on her... heels?
 Draw your instructor?
I'm not impressed!
 Traversing at the Ice Factor
 Lyon Equipment's Anchora
 The Stal Anchor
 Nate talking route setting principles
 A basic setting kit
 Not a Griffon but has the advantage of being fully releasable
The reason for the increase in anchors available
 CWM Idwal (we are 2 dots high on RHS) thanks to Gerry from Edinburgh CSE for this
 Pete following pitch 2 of Tennis Shoe
 Pete engaging thrusters on pitch 3
Following the 6th pitch at speed, less than 2 hours from PYB