Kirkton Gorge

Yesterday Steve and I were gorge walking with a group from the Falkirk Community Trust summer programme in the Kirkton Gorge, Balquhidder. This excellent gorge has lots of options for falls to climb and some good slides and jumps.

Typical conditions in the Kirkton Gorge.

Typical conditions in the Kirkton Gorge.

Alpine Mountaineering with Frost Guiding

Sharna, Pok and I have been out this week with ww.frostguiding.co.uk. On Sunday we completed an Ecole de Glace session before continuing to the Moiry Hut where we spent two nights.

The weather was excellent on Monday so we traversed the Pointe de Mourti (3564m) and the Dent de Rosses (3613m). The conditions on the traverse and on the glacier were excellent. After overnighting the second night at the hut we traversed the Couronne de Breona (3159m) which is a brilliant rock ridge that leads back towards the car park. The heavy rain on Monday night made the condition’s more challenging but we still made the car park before Tuesdays afternoon rain started.

On Wednesday we climbed at Bramois and looked at rescue techniques before walking to the DIx Hut on Thursday. We completed the traverse of Pointe 2943m on the way to the Dix. This is a lovely little rock ridge which is climbed on mostly perfect rock.

To complete the week we climbed Pigne d’Arolla (3796m). There are a good number more crevasses now than when I was there 3 weeks ago. It may be worth chatting to the guardian about the best line on the lower glacier.

The summit of the Pigne.

The summit of the Pigne.

Beautiful sunrise from the Pigne.

Beautiful sunrise from the Pigne.

Glen Coe

Robin and I were out today with a Falkirk Community Trust scrambling Team of Devon, Jack, Janice, Mary and Sarah on the Aonach Eagach in Glen Coe. We went along the ridge from East to West taking in Am Bodach, Meall Dearg, Stob Coire Leith and Sgurr nam Fiannaidh.

Janice, Mary and Sarah moving through The Pinnacles with Robin behind.

Janice, Mary and Sarah moving through The Pinnacles with Robin behind.

The weather was excellent with high broken cloud making for great views; a light breeze and the rock was generally dry, which gave great scrambling conditions.

Blackford Quarry and Clachan of Campsie

Monday to Wednesday this week I was working on the Falkirk Community Trust Summer Programme for kids and this included climbing at Blackford Quarry and gorge walking at Clachan of Campsie. These were both with the younger age group based out of Action Outdoors in Brightons and the venues worked well for these groups.

Typical shot of the main slab at Blackford Quarry.

Typical shot of the main slab at Blackford Quarry.

Glen Clova

Robin and I were out climbing in Glen Clova yesterday with a Falkirk Community Trust team of Emanuelle, Iona and Wilson. We’d chosen the venue to stay away from the rain further West and this worked well, although the crag was relatively busy, presumably for the same reason.

Wilson and Emanuelle relaxing on a stance above our third pitch on Twenty Minute Route.

Wilson and Emanuelle relaxing on a stance above our third pitch on Twenty Minute Route.

Emanuelle, Wilson and I had a good day climbing Twenty Minute Route in five short pitches with a Severe variation; Three J’s Chimney and Parapet Route Direct Start. Robin and Iona climbed Proud Corner, Zigzag Direct and Wandered. Based on the guidebook I think that counts as a creditable total of 10 stars for the team on the day.

Coasteering, Gorge Walking and Rock Climbing

I spent last week working for Falkirk Community Trust on their excellent Summer Programme for kids.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

During the week I was out with groups on The Chain Walk and Coasteering at Elie; gorge walking near Balquhidder and at Muiravonside and rock climbing at Traprain Law.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

High Tops with John

John and I have had a successful week in the Alps visiting two different areas.

On Sunday we walked to the Hotel Fluhalp to overnight before climbing the Rimpfischhorn (4199m) the next day. The route was quiet and in good condition. On the facebook I have added the www.camptocamp.org topo which is useful for those doing the peak.

We walked to the Dom Hutte on Tuesday. The next morning we climbed the brilliant Festigrat to the summit of the Dom (4545m) before descending the Voie Normale. The Festigrat was in reasonably good condition. There are some sections of ice and we pitched the steeper ice section as mentioned in the guidebook. The Voie Normale was in good condition. However, the track is too close to the seracs so I put in my own line.

Yesterday we traversed the Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m) above Chamonix. The rimaye is currently climbable at a number of locations.

Lots more photos on the climbnow facebook page.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

The Weisshorn from the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

John on the summit of the Dom.

Hawkcraig

Most of this week I’ve been working on the Falkirk Community Trust Summer Programme. This programme gives an excellent opportunity for kids to try all sorts of outdoor activities, develop lots of skills and get out and about in the Scottish countryside.

A photo of the Hawkcraig from another with the tide out.

A photo of the Hawkcraig from another with the tide out.

The highlight of the week for me was a sunny day spent scrambling, rock climbing and abseiling at The Hawkcraig near Aberdour. The tide was high during the morning and we spent the early part of the day scrambling and exploring the East end of the crags near the old lighthouse. This is an area normally ignored by rock climbers, but was ideal for the size and age of the group.

A Days Cragging

Ivor and I were at Rob’s Reed today. We normally climb here in the spring and autumn and I was surprised how much undergrowth springs up around the crag in the summer and how much the trees shelter the crag from the sun.

We did have a good day but some routes are a bit damp and the friction was not as good on the harder routes as it is when the vegetation is low.

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Monte Rosa with Karen and John

For the last three days of our www.frostguiding.co.uk trip, Karen, John and I have made the ascent of the Duforspitze (4634m) from the Monte Rosa Hut.

The glacier above the hut was in excellent condition, the easiest I have seen it in. The ridge was in good condition although it has a lot of snow on it meaning many of the normal spikes are not there.

Currently one of the fixed ropes on the descent is broken and the Guardian at the hut is advising groups to descend the ridge which is what we did.

Lots of photos on the facebook page.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.

A brilliant ridge in brilliant surroundings.