Mountaineering from Champoluc

For the past three days John and I have been mountaineering from the Champoluc valley in Italy. On Monday we walked to the Rifugio Mezzalama in heavy rain to ensure we were in the correct position to utilise the good weather forecast for Tuesday.

We left the hut early Tuesday morning before making ascents of the Breithorn (4164m) and Pollux (4092m). Due to the recent heavy snow the glaciers and both mountains were in excellent condition. After the second peak we then made our way to the Rifugio Guide Val d’Ayas to overnight.

This morning we traversed Castor (4228m) passing the Rifugio Quintino Sella hut in excellent conditions before making the long descent to Champoluc.

John climbing fixed ropes on Pollux.

John climbing fixed ropes on Pollux.

 

Carn Dearg Mor and Meallach Mhor

I was out yesterday in the big remote area between Glen Tromie and Glen Feshie with Craig and a Falkirk High Tops team of Alan, Lorn, Ros and Terry. We cycled moastly against the strong southerly wind from the car park at Torcroy down Glen Tromie as far as the upper weir/dam on the Allt Bhran. We crossed the dam, which is fine with good balance in dry conditions, but would be tricky if the moss on the concrete was wet, and then headed East towards Carn Mor Dearg.

Terry leaning in to the wind approaching Carn Dearh Mor

Terry leaning in to the wind approaching Carn Dearh Mor

Having used the track to skirt around the side of Carn Dearg we headed up to the col and into the wind to reach the summit of Carn Dearg Mor. We returned over Carn Dearg before dropping down to the headwaters of Allt an Dubh-Chadha and then up over Meall a Dubh-Chadha to the summit of Meallach Mhor. A quick descent South then led to the bikes and a swift return down Glen Tromie with the wind behind us.

Craig learning to sky dive in the wind on Carn Dearg Mor

Craig learning to sky dive in the wind on Carn Dearg Mor

This was an excellent big day to two remote Corbetts with around 29km of mountain biking, 13km of walking, a lot of which was pathless, and 1200m of ascent. The weather was sunny and dry, but the wind was strong all day and in excess of 40mph on the tops.

Alan, Lorn and Ros on the summit of Meallach Mhor

Alan, Lorn and Ros on the summit of Meallach Mhor

Tete Blanche (Chamonix)

Paul and I walked to the Refuge Albert Premier on Friday before climbing the Tete Blanche (3421m) on Saturday morning. The mountain was in good condition and the newly restored hut was excellent.

Approaching the Tete Blanche with the Aiguille du Chardonnet behind.

Approaching the Tete Blanche with the Aiguille du Chardonnet behind.

Rosyth Quarry

I was out today with Bob at Rosyth Quarry looking at leading on rock. The venue worked well as although we had a couple of quick showers the rock dries quickly and we were able to climb all day.

Bob leading The Sickle with a "ghost" rope.

Bob leading The Sickle with a “ghost” rope.

Three Regions in Four Days

Paul Skipworth and I are climbing together this week basing our trip from Saint Gervais Les Bains.

On Monday we spent the day on the Mer de Glace above Chamonix completing an Ecole de Glace session. We then made the short drive to Les Aravis on Tuesday before completing the traverse of the Pointe Percee (2750m). This is a beautiful peak with lots of good rock routes on it in a stunning limestone location.

On Wednesday morning we travelled to the Zinal valley before walking to the Tracuit hut. We were accompanied by snowfall above 2700 metres. Yesterday, we climbed the Bishorn (4153m). The mountain was in excellent condition due to the large quantities of new snow. This new snow will however make the rock ridges of the Valais very difficult.

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North-West Sea Stacks Trip

Monday to Wednesday this week I was up in the far North-West of Scotland with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Trip climbing and walking trip.

John making the swim at the Old Man of Stoer

John making the swim at the Old Man of Stoer

After driving up on Monday we dropped off the walkers at Inchnadamph to tackle Ben More Assynt and Conival. John, Linda, Gillian, Steven, Tony and I then headed for the Old Man of Stoer.

A view of the top two pitches or so of the Old Man of Stoer

A view of the top two pitches or so of the Old Man of Stoer

We rigged a Tyrolean to the South-East corner of the stack and climbed it via the Original Route missing out the initial traverse pitch. Conditions were perfect with sunshine and a light wind.

Steven and Tony after the Old Man of Stoer

Steven and Tony after the Old Man of Stoer

On Tuesday we dropped Craig and the walkers at the start of the way up Arkle. The forecast wasn’t great, but the climbers decided to head up to have a look at Am Buachaille anyway. It was misty down low all day, but the forecast rain never really appeared in earnest and when we reached the bottom of the sea stack the rock was damp, but looked climbable.

A damp first pitch on Am Buachaille

A damp first pitch on Am Buachaille

Again we climbed it by the Original Route. This gives three pitches of good climbing, but there is loose and friable rock and care is required. Additionally there’s still Fulmar chicks around and one on the first ledge of the first pitch requires care to avoid. It’s late for the chicks to still be on ledges, so I’d guess it’s a second brood or second attempt given the variable summer. Am Buachaille is definitely an adventure with a longish walk in, a fairly serious grassy scramble to get down and up, a swim for everybody and tidal time constraints.

Gillian about to abseil off Am Buachaille with the flash making the mist seem worse than it was

Gillian about to abseil off Am Buachaille with the flash making the mist seem worse than it was.

On Wednesday the walkers headed for Canisp and great views, whilst the climbers had a few hours climbing and coasteering at the Pinnacle area of Reiff in glorious weather. All in all a very successful trip.

Pentlands and the Trossachs

I’ve spent quite a lot of the last two weeks supervising Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) qualifying expeditions for the City of Edinburgh Council Outdoor Education.

Evening light on Stuc a'Chroin

Evening light on Stuc a’Chroin

The expeditions included traverses through the Pentlands and the Trossachs. The weather was generally very kind, but a couple of the Silver Groups did particularly well to keep good spirits through a day and night of fairly incessant rain in the Trossachs.

Wild camping above Callander.

Wild camping above Callander.

Curved Ridge

Alex, Ivor and I had a great day out today climbing Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. This is a classic Glencoe scramble and highly recommended.

Great rock scrambling in Glencoe.

Great rock scrambling in Glencoe.

Another Great Week in the Alps

The weather continues to be excellent in the Alps allowing plenty more opportunities to climb great mountains. This week on behalf of www.frostguiding.co.uk I have been out with Gordon, Ben, Emma, John and Andy Teasdale.

We began the week by going to Cabane de Moiry and on the way completed an ecole de glace session. The next day we traversed the Pointe de Mourti (3563m) and the Dent de Rosses (3613m). This lovely AD route was in good condition.

On Tuesday we walked into the Britannia Hut from the Platjjen lift station in Saas Fee arriving just before the very heavy rain that was correctly forecast for the afternoon. The next morning we completed the Hohlaubgrat on the Allalinhorn (4027m). This is a beautiful snow and ice ridge with one rock step near the summit. At the moment the ridge is fairly icy and good sharp crampons are advised.

The next day following another early start we traversed the Grand Perron (2674m). This is another excellent AD ridge that involves sustained rock scrambling, some rock climbing and five abseils. The rock on the route is mostly excellent.

Yesterday we went multi pitch rock climbing on the Dent de Follieches near Arolla before revisiting our prusiking skills to finish off the week.

There are many more photos from the last two weeks on the climbnow facebook page.

The summit of the Allalinhorn.

The summit of the Allalinhorn.

Red Head Abseil

Yesterday I was up at Red Head on the Arbroath Sea Cliffs running an abseil for Ian, Irene, Kitty and Olesya. Ian had organised the abseil as a fund raiser for the Save the Children charity.

Irene setting off on the abseil.

Irene setting off on the abseil.

Red Head is the highest point of the Angus Coast and the abseil was around 90m, approximately 300ft. The first 50m or so was on a vertical to overhanging cliff and the lower part on a very steep bank to reach the beach. Irene and Kitty were first time abseilers and did very well to take a very adventurous abseil in their strides. Thanks to all those who came to help out and support.

Olessa setting off. It's worth clicking on the photo and zooming in to see the people on the beach for scale.

Olesya setting off. It’s worth clicking on the photo and zooming in to see the people on the beach for scale.