Glen Clova

Robin and I were out climbing in Glen Clova yesterday with a Falkirk Community Trust team of Emanuelle, Iona and Wilson. We’d chosen the venue to stay away from the rain further West and this worked well, although the crag was relatively busy, presumably for the same reason.

Wilson and Emanuelle relaxing on a stance above our third pitch on Twenty Minute Route.

Wilson and Emanuelle relaxing on a stance above our third pitch on Twenty Minute Route.

Emanuelle, Wilson and I had a good day climbing Twenty Minute Route in five short pitches with a Severe variation; Three J’s Chimney and Parapet Route Direct Start. Robin and Iona climbed Proud Corner, Zigzag Direct and Wandered. Based on the guidebook I think that counts as a creditable total of 10 stars for the team on the day.

Coasteering, Gorge Walking and Rock Climbing

I spent last week working for Falkirk Community Trust on their excellent Summer Programme for kids.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

During the week I was out with groups on The Chain Walk and Coasteering at Elie; gorge walking near Balquhidder and at Muiravonside and rock climbing at Traprain Law.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

High Tops with John

John and I have had a successful week in the Alps visiting two different areas.

On Sunday we walked to the Hotel Fluhalp to overnight before climbing the Rimpfischhorn (4199m) the next day. The route was quiet and in good condition. On the facebook I have added the www.camptocamp.org topo which is useful for those doing the peak.

We walked to the Dom Hutte on Tuesday. The next morning we climbed the brilliant Festigrat to the summit of the Dom (4545m) before descending the Voie Normale. The Festigrat was in reasonably good condition. There are some sections of ice and we pitched the steeper ice section as mentioned in the guidebook. The Voie Normale was in good condition. However, the track is too close to the seracs so I put in my own line.

Yesterday we traversed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) above Chamonix. The rimaye is currently climbable at a number of locations.

Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

Hawkcraig

Most of this week I’ve been working on the Falkirk Community Trust Summer Programme. This programme gives an excellent opportunity for kids to try all sorts of outdoor activities, develop lots of skills and get out and about in the Scottish countryside.

A photo of the Hawkcraig from another with the tide out.

A photo of the Hawkcraig from another with the tide out.

The highlight of the week for me was a sunny day spent scrambling, rock climbing and abseiling at The Hawkcraig near Aberdour. The tide was high during the morning and we spent the early part of the day scrambling and exploring the East end of the crags near the old lighthouse. This is an area normally ignored by rock climbers, but was ideal for the size and age of the group.

A Days Cragging

Ivor and I were at Rob’s Reed today. We normally climb here in the spring and autumn and I was surprised how much undergrowth springs up around the crag in the summer and how much the trees shelter the crag from the sun.

We did have a good day but some routes are a bit damp and the friction was not as good on the harder routes as it is when the vegetation is low.

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Monte Rosa with Karen and John

For the last three days of our www.frostguiding.co.uk trip, Karen, John and I have made the ascent of the Duforspitze (4634m) from the Monte Rosa Hut.

The glacier above the hut was in excellent condition, the easiest I have seen it in. The ridge was in good condition although it has a lot of snow on it meaning many of the normal spikes are not there.

Currently one of the fixed ropes on the descent is broken and the Guardian at the hut is advising groups to descend the ridge which is what we did.

Lots of photos on the facebook page.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.

Pentlands and Lammermuirs

This week I’ve been running a Silver DofE training for The City of Edinburgh Council. This included navigation in the Pentland Hills on Tuesday and a three day practice expedition in the Lammermuirs.

The group approaching the Meikle Says Law trig point.

The group approaching the Meikle Says Law trig point.

The expedition took in Meikle Says Law and some delightful and, at times, tough walking terrain with a couple of beautiful camping spots. The group coped very well with some very mixed weather, which changed from heavy rain to bright sunshine on a fairly regular basis.

Arolla Mountaineering with Frost Guiding

This week I am with Frost Guiding who are based in Evolene in the Arolla Valley. Karen, John and I have climbed three peaks over the last three days.

On Sunday we traversed Point 2943m which gives a nice rock climb and scramble. the rock was in excellent condition.

Yesterday we traversed Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) from the Dix Hut to the Vignettes Hut. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed the Pointe d’Oren (3525m) before descending to the valley. The mountain was also in good condition. The bergshrund on the descent was easily crossed.

There are more photos on the facebook page.

Descending the Point d'Oren.

Descending the Point d’Oren.

 

Glen Clova

Today a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors climbing team of Bob, Gregor and I headed for Glen Clova to try and get away from the rain. This worked well. We had light showers and some dark clouds as well as sunshine early on, so we climbed the four pitch Twenty Minute Route on the Lower North-West Crag.

Gregor and Bob on the first pitch of Twenty Minute Route.

Gregor and Bob on the first pitch of Twenty Minute Route.

After some lunch the rock was still pretty dry and there was only the odd very light shower, so we headed across to the South-East Crag and climbed Parapet Route Direct Start and the excellent Flake Route.

Beinn a’Bhuird

On Saturday and Sunday John and I were in the Cairngorms with a Falkirk Community Trust Climbing Team of Andrea, Christine and Marco and Craig was out with a High Tops Team of Alec, Davie and Norrie.

After dropping the walkers off the climbers cycled up Gleann an t-Slugain before putting up tents below Clach a’Cleirich. We had a heavy shower as we arrived at the campsite and when this eased we headed up to Gharbh Coire with thoughts of possibly climbing Squareface that afternoon. However, lots of snow in descent gullies and more rain showers meant we just stashed some gear for the better forecast day on Sunday.

Mitre Ridge, Beinn a'Bhuird.

Mitre Ridge, Beinn a’Bhuird.

An early start on Sunday saw us climbing the classic Cumming-Crofton Route on Mitre Ridge with Bell’s Variation once the ridge itself was reached. This gave interest all the way, particularly in the bottom three pitches, which were wet and required care.

Andrea and Christine on Mitre Ridge.

Andrea and Christine on Mitre Ridge.

We then returned to the campsite and the cycled out. A good effort from the team particularly as they’re from a sports climbing background with very limited trad and multi-pitch experience.

The walkers had an excellent two days taking in Beinn Bhreac, Beinn a’Chaorainn, Beinn a’Bhuird and Ben Avon. See Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors facebook page for a report and photos from Craig.