Dunkeld and UHI Perth College Climbing Wall

Euan, Ivor and I were out again today. We visited Myopic’s Buttress and Upper Cave Crag at Dunkeld, but both crags were suffering from seepage / dampness on the routes we were looking to get on.

Euan on the campus board in the training zone.

To save the day we dropped in to the University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College Climbing Wall for a bouldering and training session. None of us had used this facility before and it’s well worth a visit if in the area and the crags are wet. The reception and wall staff were helpful and friendly; there are routes on a good variety of angle of wall, which will benefit from regular route setting; there’s a good bouldering area and an excellent dedicated training zone.

Kirrie Hill

Euan, Ivor, Nettle and I climbed at Kirrie Hill, Kirriemuir, today. The crag was a little wet in places and the atmosphere was very humid, which didn’t make for the best climbing conditions. However, we were able to climb a number of routes and work on some projects.

Nettle working “Touch Too Much” on a top rope.

Trainer and Assessor Skills Workshop

The last two days I’ve been attending a Mountain Training Scotland Trainer and Assessor Skills Workshop run by Al and Sandy. It was hosted by Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors and based at their Muiravonside centre.

Some of the course discussing navigation training techniques.

The workshop is aimed at those working on or thinking about working on Mountain Training Awards. It gave a good insight in to the roles of trainers and assessors, looked at a variety of models and strategies and was a great forum for discussing these interesting and sometimes difficult roles. Big thanks to Al and Sandy and the other attendees for their enthusiasm, which made it a very useful two days.

North-West Walking and Sea Kayaking

Jen and I are just back from a week in the North of Scotland. After a couple of days with family in Caithness we headed around the North Coast on Saturday and had a very pleasant afternoon walking up Ben Stack from Achfary via Strath Stack and it’s North-West ridge and descending the South-East ridge. This gives a good circuit on an interesting hill, which has great views. The hills in the area are very wet underfoot at the moment and gaiters are useful.

Jen on the summit of Ben Stack with Loch Laxford behind.

We then carried on to Lochinver where, on Sunday, we met up with Jules and Dave of Norwest Sea Kayaking and a team of Dave, Jane, Tim and Tanya. Over the next four days we kayaked from Culkein, near Stoer up the coast to Handa and then back down to Kylesku with camps on Oldany Island, near Scourie and on Calbha Beag. The weather was kind with rain only on the last day. It was a great trip with the highlights probably being kayaking through the Stack of Handa, seeing otter and sea eagles and the good food and company. I’ll put more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

The team kayaking under the cliffs of Handa.

The Final Week of the Season

David and I have just finished a great week together in the Alps. This was my final week in the Alps this season.  We visited both the Monte Viso Massif and the Mont Blanc Massif.

Below is a report on where we went and the conditions we found. The first three days were based from the very welcoming Rifugio Giacoletti. The second three days were based from the excellent www.gitemontjoly.com in Saint Gervais.

  • 13/09/17. Punta Venezia (3096m) via Cresta Perotti. Can be climbed in the same day as the walk in to the hut if you get to the car park early!
  • 14/09/17. Punta Roma (3069m) to Paso Giacoletti via Cresta del Colonnello. Traditional alpine AD ridge. Not a place to be in a storm.
  • 15/09/17. Punta Udine (3019m) via Cresta Est. Classic rock ridge right behind the hut. We wore rock shoes.
  • 16/09/17. Arete a’ Lauernce and Arete des Cosmiques. In excellent condtion following the recent snowfall.
  • 17/09/17. Aiguille Crochues (2840m) traverse and Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m). In wintery condition. Crampons would have been useful on the Belvedere.
  • 18/09/17. Multi pitch climbing at Les Gaillands. Lots of easy routes to do in mixed weather.

The crux move on the Arete des Cosmiques.

There are lots more photos on the facebook page.

Mamores

Ivor, Nettle and I had a good day in the Mamores yesterday. Starting from Kinlochleven we walked via Loch Eilde Mor and up Sgurr Eilde Mor before dropping down it’s West ridge to head out to and up Binnein Beag. We then climbed the North-East ridge of Binnein Mor taking in some easy scrambling in the upper narrow section before descending over it’s South Top and Sgor Eilde Beag.

Ivor and Nettle on the North-East Ridge of Binnein Mor.

A pleasant route with a lot of ascent and some stiff climbs linked by good stalker’s paths. The weather was pretty much as forecast with rain holding off until late afternoon and a brief sleet shower on Binnein Mor. The hills are currently very wet with streams up.

The Mont Blanc Massif

Barry and I have been based from Saint Gervais les Bains the last three days. On Wednesday we climbed a seven pitch route at the excellent La Duchere near Les Contamines before travelling to the Rifugio Torino to overnight.

The view from the end of the Arete des Cosmiques.

Yesterday, we climbed Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m). We also tried to access Le Petit Flambeau traverse and the Aiguille de Toule but both were in terrible condition. Therefore, we dropped down to the Val Ferret and went multi pitch climbing at Mochet.

Today, we climbed the classic Arete des Cosmigues in good conditions.

Mont Blanc from the summit of Les Aiguilles Marbrees.

Bennybeg and Creag na h-Eighe

The last two days I’ve been working for Falkirk Community Trust. Yesterday David, Mike, Anthony and I were at Bennybeg with a school group rock climbing, abseiling and doing bushcraft.

Ken practising leading with a top rope above and Bex lead belaying below on Grant’s Route.

Today Ken, Bex and I had a great day at Creag na h-Eighe looking at leading skills, building belays and climbing some of the classics of the crag. We had a couple of light showers, but nothing that stopped us climbing and the crag dried quickly in the light wind and sunshine.

September in the Alps

September is an excellent month in the Alps. The huts and the mountains are quieter and the air temperature is also normally lower.

This week, Barry and I are climbing together. On Sunday we traversed the Aiguilles Crochues (2840m) and the Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m). There had been significant snowfall in the days proceeding which meant careful footwork was required. We saw two teams on the Crochues and none on the Belvedere.

Above the clouds on the Belvedere.

Yesterday we climbed on the Grande Falaise de Seloge in the Vallee des Glaciers. This is an excellent crag about 8 pitches high. The descent can be by either abseil or walk off.

In the afternoon we walked to the Refuge Robert Blanc to overnight. There was a warm welcome and great food.

Today we climbed Le Mont Tondu (3196m) taking in the summit of the Pain de Sucre on the way. There was nobody around.

Part of the Mont Tondu ridge.

 

Coasteering

Fun day today coasteering near Elie in Fife with Mike, Craig and David from Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors and an enthusiastic school group. Lots of jumps, swims and generally messing around in the swell. A good activity on a rainy day.

Taking the plunge.