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

Argentiere Basin, the Aiguilles Rouge and Les Ecrins

Paul and Frank are just back from Les Ecrins where they had a great time climbing the Aiguille Dibona (3130m). They bivouacked before their ascent as the hut is currently being renovated and a little bit dusty! As usual the Dibona provided amazing climbing in a stunning setting.

Rob, Andy and I have had two brilliant days in the Mont Blanc Massif followed by a great day in Les Aiguilles Rouge. On Saturday we climbed above the clouds on the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) in perfect conditions before descending to the Refuge d’Argentiere to overnight.

We left the hut on Sunday morning in falling snow before emerging from the clouds into the sunshine to climb Pointe sup des Amethystes (3586m). A few notes on this mountain. Firstly, two axes are useful (the lads had two, I had one!). Secondly, two 60 metre ropes are very useful. I had one and therefore had to build anchors on wires and an abalakov thread to get back down.

Today we traversed the Aiguille Crochues (2837m). This is a really enjoyable route and great for practising moving together on.

Many more photos can be found on the facebook page.

The summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

The summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Rob and Andy on the summit of the Petite Aiguille Verte with Les Drus behind

Rob and Andy on the summit of the Petite Aiguille Verte with Les Drus behind

Two days from the Torino Hut

Andy, Rob, Frank, Paul and I (Euan) have just had two good days mountaineering from the Torino Hut which is accessed from the Helbronner lift and located in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Yesterday, Paul and Frank climbed the Dent du Geant (4013m) while Andy, Rob and I climbed the Aiguille Marbrees (3535m) and the Aiguille de Toule (3534m). Conditions were good on all three mountains however as the Aiguille de Toule does now not have much snow cover, care is required with the rock and it is best to avoid being under other parties.

Today we all climbed La Tour Ronde (3792m). Paul and Frank climbed the Gervasutti Couloir in good conditions and Andy, Rob and I climbed the Voie Normale. Snow cover has decreased on the Voie Normale since last week and therefore an early start or descent is useful.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Rob and Andy climbing mixed ground on La Tour Ronde.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Frank in the Gervasutti Couloir.

Tour Ronde and the Dent du Geant

Yesterday, John, Harvey, Paul and I travelled through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc to Italy and used the Helbronner lift to access the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. From the lift we climbed the Tour Ronde (3792m) via the South East Arete and descended the Voie Normale.

The route was in snowy but good condition. Please note for those intending to climb the South East Arete, that the route is given AD in the French guidebooks not PD as in the British guidebook. It is best using the French versions.

Today, John, Harvey and Paul had a great day climbing the Dent du Geant (4013m).

There is a short video and a number of photos of yesterday and this morning on the climbnow facebook page.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Returning to the Torino Hut with the Dent du Geant visible beyond.

Three Days in Les Ecrins

John, Harvey and I drove on Wednesday from Chamonix to La Berarde in search of some sunshine. Heavy rain accompanied our drive until we arrived in the village at which point the clouds cleared and the sun came out. We then had a pleasant walk to the Refuge Temple Ecrins. For those planning on going in the next couple of days to the Refuge de la Pilatte, check on access locally as one of the bridges is down due to recent floods.

The weather yesterday was perfect. This allowed us to make the ascent of Pic Coolidge (3775m). This is an excellent, long and varied alpine route and was in good condition.

After overnighting at the Centre Alpin in La berarde, today we climbed the 2611m summit of the Aiguillette du Lauzet utilising the via ferrata. The sun was out all day and we only encountered rain on our return to Chamonix.

Lots more photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

On Pic Coolidge with Harvey and John. L'Ailefroide can be seen in the background.

On Pic Coolidge with Harvey and John. L’Ailefroide can be seen in the background.

Benny Beg and Ratho Quarry

Yesterday (Wednesday) I was out working with Neil & Neil during the day for Falkirk Community Trust on their kids summer programme. We were climbing at Benny Beg, which was sunny and popular.

Ivor warming up on Peashooter

Ivor warming up on Peashooter

In the evening Ivor and I were out climbing some of the bolted routes in Ratho Quarry. It’s worth noting that with all the rain at the weekend there was a sizable rockfall in the quarry between Shear Fear and the Corrieman. Both these routes seemed ok and some work has been done to remove loose blocks from the area in between, but care should be taken in this area.

Aberdour

I am currently back in Scotland for a couple of days and had a nice afternoons climbing today at Aberdour with my nephews; Jacob, Ethan and Isaac. The boys did really well climbing. The rock was dry and the sun was out at this lovely little crag.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA