It was beautiful today at Midlothian Ski Centre in the Pentland Hills where I was teaching skiing. This season I will be writing reports from next month onwards from ski touring days both in Scotland and the Alps. The first of these will hopefully be soon as it looks like the conditions may not be far away.
This past weekend I have been working on a Lowland Leader Award training with John Jackson and Craig Mclaren on behalf of Falkirk Community Trust. Today we were at Dalmeny Estate near South Queensferry which provided a great venue to look at a number of aspects of the syllabus.
Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying climbing, scrambling and walking in Scotland and the Lake District.
I have visited Kirrie Hill with Gordon and Greg sports climbing. This crag is an excellent choice at this time of year as it is very sheltered and catches the sun.
With Colin, Chris and Paul I visited the Lake District. We had a good couple of days scrambling in Sourmilk Ghyll and bouldering at St.Bees. The great advantage of visiting the Lake District at this time of year is that it is very quiet. We were the only climbers at St.Bees.
Andrew flew up on Wednesday and I picked him up from EICA Ratho, where he’d visited Alan Lockhart who’s working with him to solve some long term injuries. We then headed North with the aim of four days of mountaineering/climbing. Andrew is planning some long term goals in the Greater Ranges and the idea was to improve Andrew’s efficiency of movement on alpine terrain, look at some specific skills and also have a good time ticking some Scottish classics without aggravating any injuries. As we drove North we were lucky enough to get a great view of the Northern Lights along Glen Dochart and North of Crianlarich. On Thursday we climbed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and descended Curved Ridge taking in Crowberry Tower. We had sunshine at times and the rock was surprisingly dry with most of Rannoch Wall looking dry enough for climbing.
We then headed up to Skye as Andrew had never been in the Black Cuillin and was keen to get a feel for the ridge. The weather on Friday was unfortunately worse than earlier forecasts, so Andrew didn’t get much chance to see the hills. However, we ascended Sgurr Dearg via Coire na Banaichdaich and it’s North-West Flank; climbed the Inaccessible Pinnacle by it’s East Ridge and descended the South-East Flank of Sgurr Dearg to the An Stac Screes. Having been in constant steady rain and cloud for most of the day we then decided to bail down the screes and out via Coire Lagan.
With the forecast not looking great on Skye for Saturday we had an early start and made for the Cairngorms. Here we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda. After a pleasant chat with Glenn and Euan who were headed for Hell’s Lum Crag we climbed Pygmy Ridge. We approached this via the line of Central Gully Left Hand and it’s worth noting that there a couple of sizable perched blocks in this area at the moment. Once on the plateau we headed down Coire Domhain and around to Stag Rocks where we climbed Afterthought Arete, sticking to the ridge as much as possible to maximise the climbing.
We had accommodation booked over in the West for Saturday night and needed a shortish day to allow for flights on Sunday, so the final day saw us back in Glen Coe. We climbed Barn Wall Route on the East Face of Aonach Dubh, this requires a steady approach as although there are excellent positive holds throughout there isn’t a lot in the way of gear. We then headed around under Stob Coire nan Lochan, so Andrew could get a look at this as a potential future winter venue, before heading out along Gearr Aonach and descending The Zig-Zags.
Four days of Classic Mountaineering in mostly very good weather for the time of year with the exception of Friday. If you’re heading out it’s worth knowing that we haven’t had a proper frost yet and hence the midges are still around and biting, thankfully for me they seemed to prefer Andrew.
Yesterday saw Ivor, Nettle and I up early to catch the train from Crianlarich to the Corrour Halt on the West Highland line. We were on a fairly tight schedule to walk up Beinn na Lap and be back down for the 12:30 train, so climbed the hill by the easiest line and returned by the same route.
The tracks from the station to the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel and the base of Beinn na Lap have been improved fairly recently and make for easy going. The path up the South face of the hill was dry following the recent good weather, but could be very boggy after rain.
Unfortunately, there was cloud above 800m, so we didn’t get the excellent views from the summit. However, we were up and down in time to beat the heavy rain and to get coffee and a scone at the station before catching the train home.
I was out today in the Arrochar Alps with a Falkirk Community Trust High Tops Team of Billy, Claire and Imran. Starting from Succoth in fog we climbed up Beinn Narnain and through the cloud in to sunshine and a beautiful cloud inversion, which lasted most of the day.
After the steep ascent of Beinn Narnain we headed out over Creag Tharsuinn and up to the top of A’Chrois. We descended the South ridge of A’Chrois, which is rough and pathless in places before returning to Succoth.
Once above the clouds we were in glorious sunshine all day with only the odd light breeze. Suncream, sunhats, shades and plenty of liquid was the order of the day.
Martin, Ivor and I have had a nice day out today climbing at the Arbroath Sea Cliffs. This excellent venue has routes from F3 to F8A. It is a sports climbing venue, however, it feels adventurous with abseil approaches to many routes and sometimes variable bolting. We had a great day climbing a number of routes including Original Route on the Deils Heid.
I’m just back from Skye with Euan, John and a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Team of Isobel, Linda, Lorn, Lynne, Mary, Norrie, Siobhan and Wilson.
After driving up on Thursday Linda, Wilson and I traversed Sgurr Thuilm in fairly horrible weather including driving sleet and hail. The rest of the team went up to An Dorus and climbed Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh.
On Friday John, Linda, Lorn and Wilson went in to Coire Lagan and after heading up the Sgumain Stone Shoot traversed Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Thearlaich, Sgurr Mhiccoinnich and descended the An Stac screes. The rest of the team headed to the other end of the ridge and after walking up to the Bealach a’Bhasteir scrambled up Am Basteir via the East Ridge Direct. After returning to the bealach we then climbed Sgurr nan Gillean West Ridge via Tooth Groove and Arete and descended via the South-East Ridge. This was the best day of the trip for weather and views particularly at the north end of the ridge.
On Saturday Euan, Linda and Wilson scrambled up the Sron nan Gobhar Ridge to Sgurr na Banachdaich whilst the rest of us headed around to Coire a’Ghrunnda. We then scrambled up Sgurr nan Eag via the Right Hand Flank of the North Ridge and then descended to the Castle via the North Ridge. After nipping behind the Castle we climbed Sgurr Dubh na da Bheinn via it’s South Ridge and then headed down the East Ridge and up to Sgurr Dubh Mor. We then returned over Sgurr Dubh na da Bheinn and descended it’s North-West Ridge to regain Coire a’Ghrunnda. This day completed the Skye Munros for Norrie and he seemed suitably pleased despite having been in cloud for most of the day.
Yesterday Norrie and Isobel decided on a well earned rest day whilst Lynne, Lorn and I walked up Sgurr na Bannachdaich via Coire an Eich with a detour to An Diallaid in descent. Euan, John, Linda, Mary, Siobhan and Wilson avoided the worts of the wind by scrambling up The Spur on to the excellent peak of Sgurr an Fheadain.
A great few days with seven new Munros for some of the team and some excellent scrambling despite fairly unfavourable weather at times.
The weather was a little mixed last week in the Alps. However, by being flexible in our plans, George, Paul and I had a brilliant week climbing amazing mountains away from the crowds.
We began our week by visting the Vanoise. This is one of my favourite alpine regions as it is far from the crowds and very unspoilt once away from the ski lifts on the edge of the region. From thr Refuge Col de la Vanoise we completed the brilliant traverse of Mont Pelve (3261m). Details of this AD- route can be found on the website camptocamp.
As we completed the route late season, ice screws were required to climb over the bergshrund and a 60 metre rope was required for the abseils (unlike the 50 metres suggested by camptocamp).
The next day after returning to Saint Gervais les Bains we completed Aiguille de Toule (3538m) from the Punta Helbronner which is located on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. The conditions were very Scottish e.g. whiteout and deep fresh snow. Needless to say, we did not see any other climbers!
For the last three days of our trip we travelled to Les Ecrins. This is another of my favourite areas in the Alps and it was great to return here to finish the last part of my alpine season.
Following walking in to the Refuge du Soreiller on Wednesday, we had a late start on Thursday to allow the weather to clear before completing Le Voie du Nain and Aiguille Centrale du Soreiller (3338m). This is an excellent rock peak situated behind the iconic Aiguille Dibona which is rarely visited.
On Saturday to finish off our trip we climed the Voie Boell with the Stoffer variation to the summit of the Aiguille DIbona (3130m). This was a great route on a great summit to end another excellent summer in the Alps.
Many more photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.