Glen Shiel and Skye

I got back late last night from a three day Falkirk Community Trust winter mountaineering and walking trip based in Plockton. We had excellent weather and conditions throughout making for some great days.

Jim, Wilson, Gareth, Joanne and Linda with The Forcan Ridge behind.

Jim, Wilson, Gareth, Joanne and Linda with The Forcan Ridge behind.

Having travelled up on the Thursday evening we headed for Glen Shiel on the first day with mountaineers heading for the classic Forcan Ridge on The Saddle and Craig and the walkers on the North Side of the Glen completing the three Munros of The Five Sisters.

John, climbing the main, but not crux, ice pitch of North Gully.

John, climbing the main, but not crux, ice pitch of North Gully.

On Saturday we made use of the excellent winter conditions on Skye with Craig and the walkers ascending Bruach na Frithe, whilst a team of John, me, Gareth, Jim, Joanne and Linda climbed North Gully on the Glaich Moire Face of Coire a’Mhadaidh. This gave a very good route. We got in at the bottom of the feature and soloed easy angled ground with tricky steps before climbing 7 fairly long pitches. Worth noting the guidebook length is 120m and it may, therefore, bank out lower down sometimes. On the day there was also a very short section of Tech 5, which may also bank out. We descended the open easy gully left of the crag looking up.

Joanne and Gareth with the obvious feature of North Gully between them.

Joanne and Gareth with the obvious feature of North Gully between them.

Yesterday we needed a shorter day before travelling home and gambled on Marsco. This gave a superb day for both teams with Craig and the walkers reaching and returning from the summit via the Eastern Spur of Coire nan Laogh. John, me, Gareth, Joanne, Linda and Lorn were aming for Wooly Gully, the only route in the guidebook in Coire nan Laogh. However, once in the coire this looked banked out and the obvious S-shaped gully feature in the centre of the coire looked too good to miss.

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Linda and Lorn finishing the first pitch in Coire nan Laogh, Marsco.

We soloed easily through dramatic scenery on the lower part of the S before putting ropes on for the last rightwards slant of the S up from the large ledge separating the two left hand crag tiers in the coire. This gave a delightful ice/snow ice pitch. Above this the face could be climbed almost anywhere on ice and snow at about grade II with John and I taking parallel lines, his more rocky and mine more icy, mostly due to the gear we were carrying. The route brought us out about 100m East of the summit. The upper face has a serious feel despite it’s easy angle and warthogs and ice screws were definitely useful. Overall it was about Grade III and possibly a new line on an excellent, although I suspect rarely in condition, face.

The view to the team back along the summit ridge of Marsco with Clach Glas and Blabheinn behind.

The view to the team back along the summit ridge of Marsco with Clach Glas and Blabheinn behind.

A great trip with near Alpine conditions. I’ll put some photos on the ClimbNow facebook page today and Craig will add photos to the Falkirk Community Trust Facebook page.

Creag Coire an Dothaidh

John and I were out today with a Falkirk Community Trust Ski-Mountaineering team of Becky, Emanuelle and Kevin. We made for Bridge of Orchy and Creag Coire an Dothaidh . We had to carry our skis up to about the 600m contour, but were then able to skin to just below the base of crags. We then put skis back on our packs and climbed Centigrade, which had some good ice on it. Once we topped out it was back on with the skis to skin up to point 989m near the West Top before ski-ing back down to the bealach and in to the coire.

Emanuelle, Becky and John with Creag Coire an Dothaidh behind.

Emanuelle, Becky and John with Creag Coire an Dothaidh behind.

There was a good amount of ice on the crag, but it was catching the sun all day and becoming hollow in places. Turf was generally well frozen, the buttresses were becoming black lower down and where catching the sun. Quite a few teams on the crag with Fahrenheit 451 and the turfy buttress just to it’s right being climbed and teams on Creag an Socach. Snow cover in the area generally wasn’t deep except in a few sheltered locations. No new snow during the day and no wind. I’ll add a few more photos to the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Emanuelle taking a well earned rest above the difficulties on Centigreade.

Emanuelle taking a well earned rest above the difficulties on Centigreade.

La Cattedrale

The highlight of today was our ascent of La Cattedrale – ramo destro. This is one of the great classics of the area and provided a brilliant route to finish our trip on. It was also Ivor’s 71st birthday today making the route even more special for him.

Martin and I will both be reporting from Scotland next week.

Martin abseiling down the Cascata.

Martin abseiling down the Cascata.

Ivor below La Cattedrale.

Ivor below La Cattedrale.

Skiing the Marmolada and Arabba

Today we opted to go skiing in the Dolomites to allow yesterdays snow to settle before we climb again tomorrow. We had a great day in the Marmolada and Arabba areas of the Dolomites. The conditions on piste and off piste were good.

There was significant avalanche activity on sun affected slopes.

The team on the Marmolada viewing platform.

The team on the Marmolada viewing platform.

Here Comes the Snow

Large volumes of snow arrived overnight in the Dolomites. This coincided today with an Italian Mountain Guides assessment in the gorge. This meant that less routes were available than normal. We did however have a great day climbing Cascata della Luna, Baby and another tricky mixed route.

Baby is currently not completely formed and requires mixed climbing (and trad kit) to get to the ice.

Ivor on one of the mixed routes in Serai di Sottoguda

Ivor on one of the mixed routes in Serai di Sottoguda

Ivor climbing Baby.

Ivor climbing Baby.

 

Cascata and a Little Bit of ‘M’

We have had another good day today in the Serai di Sottoguda. Highlights of the day were Cascata delle Attraversate and one of the new mixed routes in the gorge.

The Cascata was thinner than normal due to the lean season that the Dolomites is experiencing this year but still brilliant. It is probably harder than the suggested grade in the guidebook.

Ivor on the Cascata.

Ivor on the Cascata.

Graham on the 'M' route.

Graham on the ‘M’ route.

Time for some Cascata

Ivor, Graham, Martin and I arrived last night in the Dolomites. Today we had a warm up day climbing in the Serai di Sottoguda. We completed; Arbre Magique, Palestrina and Cascata del Gelato. Conditions on the routes were good.

Martin climbing Cascata del Gelato.

Martin climbing Cascata del Gelato.

Four days with Finn

A great spell of weather for climbing with Finn.

We started of on the Buachaille with North Buttress on Tuesday.

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North Buttres

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Central Gulley RH

Then over to the cairngorms on wednesday for an ascent of Fluted Buttress Direct.

The Ben delivered the goods for Ice on Thursday we climbed Cental Gulley RH and Green Gulley.

Blair and Brodie borrowed a few ice screws from us for an ascent of Une Journie Ordaniere.

A short day to finish on Friday waterfall gulley provided a safe option while teams reported avalanches higher in the ciste.

There was lot of snow being transported with spindrift avalanches sweeping down harrisons climb.

A great few days thanks Finn.

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Zig Zags

I have been out today on the Zig Zags on Gearr Aonach. After lasts nights deep freeze the terrain was well frozen and heavily verglassed. Crampons were useful from the first ‘Zig’ upwards. We descended via Stob Coire nan Lochan. The crags were white.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

Walking towards SCNL.

Walking towards SCNL.

Sneachda and Lurchers

Yesterday I went to a very busy Coire an t-Sneachda. As we arrived late due to our drive from west the popular routes all had team(s) on them. Therefore we climbed a route in the Forty Thieves area. This gave a good sixty metre II/III ice pitch followed by pleasant mixed ground. The crags were white and everything was well frozen.

Today to avoid the crowds we visited Lurchers Crag. After descending South Gully we climbed Pinnacle Ridge in good conditions. We were the only climbers on the crag.

Climbing Pinnacle Ridge.

Climbing Pinnacle Ridge.