Arbroath Sea Cliffs

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.

Martin climbing in the sun at Arbroath.

Martin climbing in the sun at Arbroath.

Skye Scrambling

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.

Mary and Siobhan looking relaxed on Am Basteir.

Mary and Siobhan looking relaxed on Am Basteir.

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.

The team on the summit of Am Basteir

The team on the summit of Am Basteir

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.

Norrie in the cloud happy to be completing his Skye Munros.

Norrie in the cloud happy to be completing his Skye Munros.

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.

Lynne and Lorn on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

Lynne and Lorn on the summit of Sgurr na Banachdaich.

A great few days with seven new Munros for some of the team and some excellent scrambling despite fairly unfavourable weather at times.

Chasing the Sun with George and Paul

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.

George and Paul near the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

George and Paul near the summit of the Aiguille Dibona.

Mountaineering with Team Lincoln

Paul and I had a great nine days mountaineering in the Monte Rosa Massif, Mont Blanc Massif, Chaine du Bargy and the Valais with Paul, Nick, Mark, Dean and Neil who are all based in the Lincoln area. Thanks also to Kenny Grant who joined us for the last three days. We completed the following;

  • 4th September. Ecole de Glace on Mer de Glace.
  • 5th September. Overnight at Rifugio Mantova following crevasse rescue on the Indren Glacier.
  • 6th September. Pyramid Vincent (4215m), Balmenhorn (4167m) and Corro Nero (4322m).
  • 7th September. Punta Giordani (4046m).
  • 8th September. Crag session at Le fayet followed by approach to the Robert Blanc Hut.
  • 9th September. The brilliant Arete des Lanchettes to the summit of the Domes des Glaciers (3529m).
  • 10th September. Via Ferrata at Pic Jallouvre.
  • 11th September. Ice climbing on the approach to the Moiry Hut.
  • 12th September. The traverse of Pigne de la Le (3396m).

Lots more photos can be seen on the facebook page.

The team on the summit of Dome des Glaciers.

The team on the summit of Dome des Glaciers.

Summer Isles Sea Kayaking

The last week Jen and I have been based up at Reiff with Jim and Jules and Ruaraidh from Norwest Sea Kayaking. On the way up Jen and I broke the journey with a stop at Strathpeffer and a quick walk up Cnoc Mor and along the Cat’s Back ridge. This little hill gives great views to the surrounding hills and coast.

Beinn nan Caorach and Ben Mor Coigach

Beinn nan Caorach and Ben Mor Coigach

On the Monday there was a fairly strong wind, which seemed to constantly shift to be in to our faces. However, after setting off from Badenscallie we visited the islands of Meall nan Gabhar, Horse Island, Carn nan Sgeir, Eilean Dubh and Tanera Mor before returning to our starting point.

The kayaks in a bay on Tanera Beg

The kayaks in a bay on Tanera Beg

Tuesday saw us leaving Old Dornie and heading South down the coast before crossing to Tanera Mor and stopping in to have a look at the old herring processing buildings. We then headed north around the island and out via Eilean Fada Beag and Mor before stopping for lunch and a walk up to the high point of Tanera Beg. After lunch we kayaked back up through Caolas a’Mhill Ghaibh and had a chat with the some of the guys on a Bear Grylls survival course before returning to Old Dornie. On Tuesday evening I went for a run up Meall an Fheadain. This small hill, which sits east of the Altandhu to Polbain road, gives stunning views of the area and has a small slabby crag on the west side of the summit, which gave some delightful easy climbing.

The view from a cave on Rubha Coigeach

The view from a cave on Rubha Coigeach

Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day and we used it to kayak around the Rubha Coigeach peninsula from Achnahaird Bay to Reiff. This was an excellent way of seeing the main climbing areas of Reiff and we were lucky enough to get an excellent view of a sea eagle along the coast.

On Thursday we set off from Old Dornie again, but this time visited Isle Ristol, Eilean Mullargach, Glas-leac Mor and Sgeir Dhubh before heading back to a sandy bay on Isle Ristol to try some rolling practice. Pete who’d been staying with us, but not coming out in the kayaks, had made use of the good weather and spent the week walking up Ben Mor Coigach, Sgurr an Fhidleir and Ben nan Caorach; walking around the Rubha Coigeach peninsula; walking up Cul Beag and cycling to Lochinver.

Jules, Jen, Jim and Ruaraidh with Cul Mor, Stac Pollaidh and Cul Beag behind.

Jules, Jen, Jim and Ruaraidh with Cul Mor, Stac Pollaidh and Cul Beag behind.

Jim and Pete headed off early on Friday and Jen, Ruaraidh and I made for Ardmair. From there we kayaked north and then west along the coast underneath the Postman’s Path before cutting back south to Isle Martin and around its west coast in beautiful sunshine. After a last lunch stop on Isle Martin we paddled back to Ardmair.

An excellent week in a stunning area with good company and some very kind weather.

Kirkton Gorge

On Thursday this week I was gorge walking in Kirkton Gorge with Nigel and an excellent group from Graham High School in Falkirk.

Old photo showing typical conditions in Kirkton Gorge.

Old photo showing typical conditions in Kirkton Gorge.

 

Ben Nevis

A belated report from last week on Ben Nevis. On Monday 31st John & I headed up to the CIC Hut with a Falkirk Community Trust team of Bob, Joanne and Linda. After dropping kit we climbed Tower Ridge before dropping back around to the hut via Coire Leis.

Joanne and Linda taking a break on a flat section of Tower Ridge.

Joanne and Linda taking a break on a flat section of Tower Ridge.

On Tuesday we climbed North-East Buttress in some cloud, mist and drizzle, but managed to get back to the hut via the half way lochan ahead of the forecast heavier rain.

Linda, Joanne and John outside the CIC Hut with the North-East Buttress behind.

Linda, Joanne and John outside the CIC Hut with the North-East Buttress behind.

Wednesday we climbed Observatory Ridge. This was greasy in places after the rain and required some care. We then dropped back to the hut via Coire Leis again and headed home. Three days on Ben Nevis and three classic ridges.

Linda and Joanne on a tricky corner on Observatory Ridge.

Linda and Joanne on a tricky corner on Observatory Ridge.