Coigach and Assynt

I’m just back from a three day Falkirk Community Trust climbing and walking trip to the North-West of Scotland. We were based at the Inchnadamph hostel and arrived on Monday to showery conditions. The walkers opted for an ascent of Glas Bheinn from the hostel. The climbers decided on an adventurous day to make the most of the conditions and headed for the rarely climbed short sea stack called the Shark’s Tooth, which is off the sea-cliffs between Achnahaird Bay and Rubha Coigeach. We approached and returned via coasteering and swimming and climbed the South-East arête in wet suits and big boots.

Joanne swimming from the Shark's Tooth.

Joanne swimming from the Shark’s Tooth.

On Tuesday the forecast was better and the walkers made for Suilven, whilst the climbers went to the Old Man of Stoer climbing this classic sea stack via the Original Route and Diamond Face Route.

Joanne, Gerard, Iona and Linda with The Old Man of Stoer behind.

Joanne, Gerard, Iona and Linda with The Old Man of Stoer behind.

Today the walkers traversed Cul Beag whilst the climbers headed up to Stac Pollaidh and climbed the excellent Summer Isle’s Arete Direct and November Groove with both teams taking in the western summit.

Joanne on the easy upper section of Summer Isles Arete Direct, Stac Pollaidh.

Joanne on the easy upper section of Summer Isles Arete Direct, Stac Pollaidh.

Kirkton Burn

Craig and I were in the Kirkton Burn near Balquhidder today Gorge Walking with a group on the final day of the Falkirk Community Trust Summer Programme for kids.

Me below one of the falls in the Kirkton Burn in higher water conditions than today.

Me below one of the falls in the Kirkton Burn in higher water conditions than today.

An excellent way to finish the programme with the kids getting to climb waterfalls, slide down natural waterslides and jump in to deep pools.

Monte Rosa Massif

Paul and Hector Skipworth and I have been out in the Monte Rosa Massif over the last couple of days. Yesterday, in poor weather we made the approach to the Rifugio Mantova. Today we climbed Pyramid Vincent (4215m) and Balmenhorn (4167m). These were Hectors first 4000m peaks aged 14. A great age to start at.

The mountains were in good condition.

Paul and Hector on the summit of Pyramid Vincent.

Paul and Hector on the summit of Pyramid Vincent.

Pentlands

Yesterday evening and early night Cameron and I were out in the Pentlands. We used the Caerketton Crags to look at security on steep ground and then spent time practicing navigation including some night nav.

Moonrise in the Pentlands.

Moonrise in the Pentlands.

It’s worth noting that the Caerketton Crags are very loose/friable and require care and good route choice.

Benny Beg

On Wednesday Mike and I were at Benny Beg near Crieff with a rock climbing and abseiling group from Falkirk Community Trust.

This crag is easily accessible, has a good number of lower grade bolted climbs and plenty of bouldering potential. It faces south, dries quickly and is a sun trap.

Peebles and the Yarrow Valley

Last weekend Kris and I were out in the hills around Peebles and the Yarrow Valley supervising a Silver DofE group for the City of Edinburgh Council.

The summit of Minch Moor with mountain bikers up from Innerleithen and the Cheviot behind.

The summit of Minch Moor with mountain bikers up from Innerleithen and the Cheviot behind.

Starting at Peebles and finishing at the Bowhill Estate and taking in Minch Moor with two wild camps made for a very pleasant route. With just a little rain on Saturday and improving weather to a sunny Monday the hills were drying out well.

La Duchere

Paul, Hector and I have been out climbing on La Duchere crag near Les Contamines. This excellent crag is up to six pitches in height and has grades from F3 to F7B.

Hector and Paul climbing.

Hector and Paul climbing.

Mountaineering in the Chamonix Area

Paul, Hector and I have been mountaineering in the Chamonix area the last three days. After completing an ecole de glace session on Sunday on the Mer de Glace and some rock climbing at Le Fayet yesterday morning, we walked to the Refuge Albert Premier.

Today we climbed the Petite Fourche (3520m) and the Tete Blanche (3421m). The mountains were in good condition. The glaciers were in excellent condition for this time of year.

On the approach to the Petite Fourche.

On the approach to the Petite Fourche.

8 Summits with Willie, Neil and www.frostguiding.co.uk

Willie, Neil and I have had a great weeks mountaineering with www.frostguiding.co.uk.

We spent Sunday and Monday in the Arolla area climbing Point 2943m and the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) visiting the Cabane des Dix on the way. The mountains were in good condition.

On Tuesday during the bad weather we made use  of the day by approaching the Rifugio Quintino Sella from Staffal near Gressoney. After overnighting we traversed Il Naso (4272m) and climbed Piramide Vincent (4215m) before staying at the  Rifugio Mantova.

The line on Il Naso  when climbing from the Rifugio Quintino Sella is not currently that described in the British guidebooks. Rather than climbing the face on the right, it now climbs a rocky ridge which borders the left side of this face followed by a icy nose above which leads to easy ground and the summit. We used ice screws for belays on the nose.

On Thursday we climbed Balmenhorn (4167m), Ludwigshohe (4342m), Parrotspitze (4432m) and the Signalkuppe (4554m) before overnighting at the Rifugio Margherita. The mountains were in good condition.

The Rifugio Margherita is an amazing place to stay being the highest building in Europe and also having some of the best hut food in the Alps.

The weather was poor overnight on Thursday and on Friday morning with fresh snow and high winds giving poor visibility. Using compass, map and GPS we descended to the Punta Indren and then onto Gressoney.

The conditions in the Monte Rosa Massif are currently excellent with much more snow on the glaciers than at this time last year.

There are more photos on the facebook page.

The summit of Ludwigshohe.

The summit of Ludwigshohe.

Pizza Margherita at the Rifugio Margherita.

Pizza Margherita at the Rifugio Margherita.

Pentlands

On Monday and Tuesday I was out in the Pentlands again with a Bronze DofE Group, who were traversing the Pentland Jills from Garvald to Easter Kinleith over two days with a wild camp.

The view from my tent door.

The view from my tent door.

The group were excellent and the weather was generally kind making for a pleasant two days in the hills.