Elie Chain Walk

Out on the Elie Chainwalk again today with another group from the City of Edinburgh Council Summer Programme. The sun shone and we avoided the heavy localised showers, which made for a great day. We bumped in to a group from The Low Port Centre, West Lothian, who looked to be having fun coasteering the same section of cliff.

Elie Chain Walk

Out today in Fife on the Elie Chain Walk with a group from The City of Edinburgh Council Summer Programme. The chain walk is currently the closest Scotland has to a via ferrata, although an easy one. If you’re doing it for the first time, it’s definitely worth checking tide times as it would be fairly easy to get cut off on some sections as the tide comes in. 

Typical scenery on the Elie Chain Walk with a chain visible in the notch

Typical scenery on the Elie Chain Walk with a chain visible in the notch

Moorfoots

Out Gorge Walking/Ghyll Scrambling in the Moorfoots again yesterday (Friday) with a group from The City of Edinburgh Council Summer Programme. The gorge/ghyll was still very dry despite the recent heavy thundery showers. Sunny and dry all day, but showers were visible in the area.

La Duchere

Lydia, Jo, Colin and I had a fun day out at La Duchere crag near Les Contamines. We climbed the classic multi pitch route, ‘Le Nain Jaune attend’ (translated as ‘The Yellow Dwarf waits’). The route is very well bolted with excellent belays and two possible escape routes making it a good introduction to multi pitch climbing.

Jo and Colin on 'Le Nain jaune attend'.

Jo and Colin on ‘Le Nain Jaune Attend’.

 

Lydia arriving at 'Le Nain Jaune'.

Lydia arriving at ‘Le Nain Jaune’.

 

Dunfermline Climbing Wall and Rosyth Quarry

Out with a group from The City of Edinburgh Summer Programme today. We visited the very good bouldering wall at the Carnegie Leisure Centre in Dunfermline in the morning to avoid the rain. The staff were extremely helpful and the group had a good time. In the afternoon we climbed at Rosyth Quarry, which was damp, but still allowed plenty of climbing on real rock and without any precipitation whilst we were there.

Moorfoots, EICA Ratho and The Cairngorms

On Monday and Tuesday this week I was working on the City of Edinburgh Summer Programme. Monday I was Gorge Walking in the Moorfoots, or more accurately dry, but fun, ghyll scrambling given the conditions on the day. Tuesday I was inside at EICA Ratho with a climbing group, which was excellent given the local heavy thunderstorms.

Steve on No Blue Skies

Steve on No Blue Skies

Today John and I were out with Alec, Clare, John and Steve on a Falkirk Community Trust multi-pitch climbing day. Heavy showers were forecast for lots of areas, so we headed up to Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. This paid off as John, John and Steve climbed No Blue Skies and Alec, Clare and I climbed Trunk Line on the Mess of Pottage on dry rock.

Clare and Alec topping out on Trunk Line

Clare and Alec topping out on Trunk Line

Coire an t-Sneachda is better known as a winter climbing venue, but these two starred VSs gave good routes for the day. It’s a high North-West facing crag and subject to lots of frost action in the winter so some care is required on the crag with the odd loose block.

A happy team after he routes

A happy team after the routes

Jegihorn, Lagginhorn, Triftgletscher, Glacier de Moiry

 

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

Matt climbing the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn.

For the past three days Matt and I have been in Switzerland. On Monday morning we drove from Saint Gervais to Saas Grund before using the Hosaas lift system to quickly gain height. This gave us access to the Sudgrat on the Jegihorn (3206m). The route is 350 metres long on excellent gneiss. We finished the route a couple of minutes before the hail arrived, perfect timing. Once in waterproofs we continued our day by ascending to the Hosaas Hut to overnight.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

Sunset from the Hosaas Hut.

The next morning we climbed the normal route on the Lagginhorn (4010m). The route was in good condition with lots of firm snow. On the descent we pitched one rope length using an ice screw belay to safeguard the most steep and exposed traverse.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

Matt on the summit of the Lagginhorn.

After a fast descent to the hut and a quick drink we continued our day by practising crevasse rescue on the Triftgletscher. Normally, at this time of year the glacier is fairly dry and the crevasses are obvious. However, due to the large amounts of snow this past winter the glacier is still very wet and great care is required when practising skills.

Following our descent to the valley we drove round to the Moiry Dam. Our aim for this morning was to traverse the Couronne de Breona but as the alarm went off at 4.40am we could still hear heavy rain. Following a long lie until 7am we walked up and onto the Glacier de Moiry. We then had a great day practising lots of essential skills; prusiking, prusiking past knots, hoist systems, ice climbing skills for steep ground and building ice climbing anchors. The glacier was dry making it a good venue for practising these skills.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.

Matt climbing ice on the Glacier de Moiry with the Couronne de Breona behind.

 

 

More Buachaille and Ben Nevis Photos

John’s kindly sent through a few additional photos from Friday and Saturday, which show the current conditions well. 

Climbing in to the sun on North Buttress

Climbing in to the sun on North Buttress

Harvey on Tower Ridge

Harvey on Tower Ridge

Heading towards Tower Gap

Heading towards Tower Gap

Bramois, Aiguille d’Entreves, Le Petit Flambeau

Matt enjoying the Aiguille d'Entreves.

Matt enjoying the Aiguille d’Entreves.

Approaching Le Petit Flambeau. The pinnale is La Vierge.

Approaching Le Petit Flambeau. The pinnacle is La Vierge.

It has been a busy few days out hear in the Alps. On Thursday and Friday I was at the Bramois crags near Sion. We climbed a mixture of single pitch and multi pitch routes such as the classic ‘Arete Sud’. The multi pitch routes are bolted but feel a bit like climbing on Gogarth. The rock has a similar texture and the quality varies in the same way. The single pitch routes tend to be on good solid rock.

After a days road cycling yesterday I was back out on the hill today above Courmayeur. Matt and I used uplift to gain the Vallee Blanche before traversing the Aiguille d’Entreves and Le Petit Flambeau. Both routes were in good condition. The rock was dry on both routes and the Arete on Le Petit Flambeau was good snow rather than old glacial ice.

Buachaille Etive Mor and Ben Nevis

John, Harvey and I have spent the last two days in Glen Coe and on Ben Nevis. On Friday we climbed North Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor and descended Curved Ridge.

Harvey and John on North Buttress

Harvey and John on North Buttress with lots of exposure to Rannoch Mor

Today we climbed Tower Ridge, which was suprisingly quiet for a sunny Saturday, on Ben Nevis. We then headed around over the Carn Mor Dearg Arete to the summit of Carn Mor Dearg to add to John and Harvey’s already high Munro tally for the month.

Part way up the Great Tower on Tower Ridge

Part way up the Great Tower on Tower Ridge

The weather was glorious for both days with sunshine and light winds. The rock was dry, which made these classic Scottish climbs and scrambles a joy to climb. Both days included a dip in the river on the walk out, which shows just how warm it is. With the high pressure set to continue for a little while at least it’s worth taking plenty of fluids and suncream, sunhats etc. if you’re heading for the hills at the moment.

Harvey and John with the upper section of Tower Ridge behind

Harvey and John with the upper section of Tower Ridge behind