North Wales and the Isle of Skye

I have just had a great seven days on the mountains and rock faces of the North Wales and Scotland.

Following the Lowland Leader Award Course last Sunday I drove to North Wales to meet Andrew. We had a good three days climbing on Tremadog, in the Ogwen Valley and on Gogarth.

The majority of the time the weather was excellent allowing us to complete the following routes; Christmas Curry (Micah Eliminate), Yogi, Shadrach, Ordinary Route on Idwal Slabs, Cneifon Arete, single pitch routes on Holyhead Mountain and Lighthouse Arete.

After our final route I drove North to meet the Falkirk High Tops Team. We drove to the Isle of Skye before having three good days in the Cuillin.

Emmanuelle, Gayle, Andy, John and I completed; Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastier, the Bhastier Tooth, Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, the Cioch and the traverse of Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh.

Nigel, Alec and Norrie completed; Blaven, Bruach na Frithe and Sgurr na Banachdich.

Once more Skye provided great adventures and great memories.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Great scrambling on Skye.

Great scrambling on Skye.

 

Lowland Leader Award

I am currently involved in the delivery of a three day Lowland Leader Award on behalf of Falkirk Community Trust. This training course and subsequent assessment course qualifies individuals to lead walking groups in lowland terrain. It is a great introduction to the Mountain Leader Training UK (MLTUK) qualification system.

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Two Days in Sunny Glencoe

For the past two days I have been out in Glencoe with the Falkirk High Tops Team.

On Wednesday Lucy, Bob and I climbed January Jigsaw on Rannoch Wall. The crag was in excellent condition.

Yesterday, Isobel, Duncan, Alasdair, Loren, Dani, John and I completed the Sron na Lairig scramble before continuing over Stob Coire Sgreamach and returning to the van. The ridge was very dry and great fun in these conditions.

More photos on the facebook page.

Nice scrambling on Sron na Lairig.

Nice scrambling on Sron na Lairig.

Bob climbing on Rannoch Wall.

Bob climbing on Rannoch Wall.

Pointe Percee

Martin and I spent the final day of our alpine rock climbing in Les Aravis climbing on the highest peak in the chain, Pointe Percee (2750m).

We climbed L’ombre Chinoise on the Paroi de Gramusset. At the top of the route we scrambled to the summit via the continuation arête at UIAA II/III.

After a tea break we descended the Cheminee Sallanches before returning to the Col des Annes.

A great day out and a nice way to finish our trip. There are lots more photos and a video on the facebook page.

Martin on pitch 8 with the Pointe Percee beyond.

Martin on pitch 8 with the Pointe Percee beyond.

Val Ferret

Monts Rouges de Triolet from the Val Ferret.

Monts Rouges de Triolet from the Val Ferret.

Martin climbing on Placche Pre de Bard.

Martin climbing on Placche Pre de Bard.

Martin and I drove through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc today to visit the crags of the Val Ferret. First, we visited Placche Pre de Bard. The harder routes we had hoped to climb were all wet but we still had a nice couple of hours climbing one of the easier eight pitch routes.

After this we visted Mochet. This crag gave nice single and two pitch routes on perfect granite.

 

Mountaineering in Les Aravis

Martin and I have had a great couple of days out in Les Aravis. This limestone mountain range overlooks Mont Blanc and provides a good number of technical mountains with many routes on excellent rock.

On Tuesday, we traversed La Mamule (2404m) and La Petite Miaz (2359m) before bivouacking for the night.

Today we traversed Mont Charvet (2538m) via the Pilier sud-ouest.

The trip gave us 3 mountain summits, 22 pitches of technical rock climbing, lots of scrambling and 1 bivouac. All in all an excellent couple of days out.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Rock climbing on Mont Charvet with La Mamule in the background.

Rock climbing on Mont Charvet with La Mamule in the background.

 

Pointe du Midi

Perfect limestone on the Pointe du Midi.

Perfect limestone on the Pointe du Midi.

Martin and I were out in the Chaine du Bargy mountain range today. We climbed Tchao Godillo on the Pointe du Midi. This gave an excellent 300 metre route and abseil descent which will be a perfect warm up for our next objective.

This is the second route Martin and I have climbed on this peak. Both have been on perfect limestone and have been very varied in their climbing.

Via Ferrata Tour of the Alps

Rosie and I have just had a good few days completing a number of Via Ferratas. These were; Les Bettieres, Roc du Vent (2360m) and Le Belvedere at Nax. On the way we visited Annecy, Bourg Saint Maurice, Aosta and Evolene.  A great way to spend a few days.

A wire bridge on the Roc du Vent.

A wire bridge on the Roc du Vent.

North-West Sea Stacks, Cragging and Walking

The last three days I’ve been away with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors trip to the North-West of Scotland. After meeting up with the rest of the group in Aviemore on Monday morning we headed up to our base for the trip at the excellent Inchnadamph Hostel. A quick turnaround at the hostel and we dropped the walking group of Craig, Anne, Cath, Isobel, Lorn and Wilson off to do a traverse of Breabag. The climbers then headed to the Point of Stoer and the target for the day of the classic sandstone sea stack of the Old Man of Stoer.

The Old Man of Stoer

The Old Man of Stoer

There were several parties on the stack, so we asked permission to use their Tyrolean to get John across and then set up our own to the Southern side of the stack. Once across Gayle and Iona climbed with John, whilst Graeme and Tam climbed with myself with both teams climbing The Original Route.

Iona and Gayle just below the top of the Old Man of Stoer

Iona and Gayle just below the top of the Old Man of Stoer

On Tuesday we dropped the walkers off to complete an unusual full traverse of Quinag, which several described afterwards as their best day walking in the hills. The climbers headed North and walked in towards the beautiful Sandwood Bay. We cut off before the bay itself and descended steeply to the base of the cliffs near Am Buachaille.

Am Buachaille from near the base of our descent

Am Buachaille from near the base of our descent

After a change it to wet suits, a slippy boulder traverse and a short swim we climbed the second classic sandstone sea stack of the trip, Am Buachaille. We climbed this via The Original Route.

John, Graeme and Tam crossing the channel to Am Buachaille

John, Graeme and Tam crossing the channel to Am Buachaille

The rock is more friable than on The Old Man of Stoer, the climbing is bolder and there’s more loose rock on ledges, so care is definitely required.

John leading the first pitch on Am Buachaille

John leading the first pitch on Am Buachaille

A good look at tide tables and a fairly quick ascent is also needed to avoid a long swim. However, on the day we had plenty of time and the swim with the tides we had was no more than 8m.

Graeme and Tam on the second belay ledge on Am Buachaille

Graeme and Tam on the second belay ledge on Am Buachaille

On Wednesday I got up to drop the walkers off for a traverse of Cul Mor and then the climbers had a more relaxed day at Reiff, where we climbed a range of routes, mostly on bottom ropes, up to E3 5c.

Graeme bottom roping Pop-out at Reiff

Graeme bottom roping Pop-out at Reiff

We had sunshine and dry weather throughout although it was windy and cool on the tops at times.

Ben Nevis

I’m just back from five days away, the first two of which were spent on Ben Nevis with Scott & Tina. On Saturday the 23rd we walked up to the CIC hut and then climbed Tower Ridge starting via The East Gully of the Douglas Boulder.

Tina and Scott on Tower Ridge

Tina and Scott on Tower Ridge

We descended Ledge Route as far as the “Jenga” boulders and traversed around Number 5 Gully to reach Number 4 Gully and return to the hut. The weather was mixed, with some cloud, some sunshine and even a couple of snow showers.

Tina & Scott on Direct Route

Tina & Scott on Direct Route

On Sunday we climbed the Direct Route on the Douglas Boulder in 8 pitches, abseiled into the Douglas Boulder Gap and down the East Gully. The day was sunny with light winds. There was a fair bit of seepage on the route and we varied the line to try and make use of the drier rock.

Abseiling in to The Douglas Boulder Gap

Abseiling in to The Douglas Boulder Gap

A great weekend in excellent company and Happy Birthday to Scott for Monday.

Scott & Tna with The Douglas Boulder and Tower Ridge behind

Scott & Tna with The Douglas Boulder and Tower Ridge behind