Ben Lomond

Today Euan, Nettle and I chased the good weather across to Ben Lomond’s North-East Coire. We’d intended to climb Lomond Corner, but Euan climbed then down climbed part of the first pitch having decided the turf wasn’t suitably frozen on this route.

Euan starting up our second pitch of Solo Buttress.

We then moved higher in the coire and climbed what we think was Solo Buttress on B Buttress. It’s a complex crag, it was a new crag to all of us and the descriptions in the old “Arran, Arrochar and the Southern Highlands” guidebook are a little vague. We think this line may have also been climbed on the 26th November and recorded on UKClimbing as a new route called Turf Dance. This line gave us three pitches of pleasant climbing in a stunning situation although gear and belays weren’t great.

Nettle topping out with A Buttress and the summit of Ben Lomond behind.

This crag is heavily reliant on turf for climbing and protection and it’s important the routes are only climbed when the turf is well frozen.

Glen Clova

Euan, Ivor and I were winter climbing in Coire Fee in Glen Clova today. We climbed The Comb via the same line as the summer Diff as described in Scottish Winter Climbs. This gave an excellent route, which we climbed in four pitches before soloing easy ground to the top. We then descended E Gully back to the base of the route.

Euan traversing out to move up to the start of the route.

The turf was very well frozen on the route and throughout the coire, ice is forming and there was a dusting of snow on most routes, wind slab is forming high up in some sheltered locations. We had some light snow showers during the day and the wind was westerly/north-westerly and strong enough to be moving snow around. I’ll put some more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Cairngorms

Today Ivor and I managed our first day of winter climbing this season with a trip to Creagan Coire a’Cha-no in the Cairngorms. We climbed “The Blood is Strong” on the Blood Buttress. This was good value for the grade on the day with lot’s of interest in the many short corners. After this the spindrift got the better of us and we headed for home.

Ivor abseiling in to the crag. The notch to his right is the top of Anvil Gully.

The wind was transporting lots of snow around and there were a couple of hours of snow showers during the day. It was relatively sheltered down on the crag, but this shelter meant lots of soft snow building on the ledges, which had to be cleared and some sizable cornices developing, particularly above Wide Gully. The turf was frozen on the route. Slopes at height that were being scoured by the wind had very little snow on them.

Ivor belaying on “The Blood is Strong”.

 

Winter Rock

I was out climbing today at Rob’s Reed with Martin and Ivor. Despite being mid November the crag was dry. It was however cold (take a good down jacket for belaying if visiting).

We climbed some superb routes on all different angles and hold types. Rob’s Reed is well worth a visit for those climbing F6a+ and above.

Photos on the facebook page.

 

 

Pentlands Navigation

The last four Tuesdays I’ve been running a navigation course for The City of Edinburgh Council Adult Education. This has consisted of four sessions of 2.5 hours. The last two of which have been in the Pentlands. We’ve covered what would often be covered in a single day navigation course, but the extra time between sessions to think about and practice skills has seemed to work very well. Thanks to all the attendees for their interest and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I’ve been very poor at getting my camera out, so I’m afraid the photo is from a previous day in the Pentlands.

Edinburgh from the Pentlands.

Rob’s Reed

Euan, Ivor and I were back at Rob’s Reed near Forfar again today. Temperatures were quite cool and the forecast sun never quite appeared, but there was still plenty to do at this good sandstone conglomerate sports crag.

Euan leading the aptly named “Welcome to the Big Pocket” with Ivor belaying.

Pentlands Navigation Course

I was out in the Pentlands today with a City of Edinburgh Council Adult Education Navigation Course. This was week three of a course split over four consecutive Tuesdays, doing a few hours on each day. This seems to work well as it gives time to practice and reinforce skills between each session. No photos I’m afraid as I forgot my camera today.

Rob’s Reed

Euan, Ivor and I were out sport climbing at Rob’s Reed near Forfar today. The majority of the routes were dry and the friction was good in the cold temperatures, although a warm-up was definitely worthwhile for the often fingery and technical routes. It was great to be able to get out on rock at this time of year.

Ivor looking very comfortable leading “Horny Deer?” as a warm-up.

Argyll and Appin

The last three days Jen and I have been based south of Oban with B, Butch, Jen, Patrick, Rachael, Tom and Wilmot. On Friday we had a pleasant half day walking in the Knapdale Forest starting from the visitor centre for the Scottish Beaver Trial and walking down to Rubha na Stiure. This gave a sheltered walk with plenty of interest looking for signs of the reintroduced beavers.

Descending Beinn Fhionndlaidh towards Glen Creran.

On Saturday we headed up Bienn Fhionndlaidh from Glen Creran. This worked well on a day of sunshine and showers falling as snow or hail above about 750m on a south-westerly wind. Congratulations to the two team members for whom it was their first Munro.

A zoomed in view of Ben Cruachan showing the snow level on Sunday.

On Sunday after dropping some of the team at the station in Oban a reduced group caught the short ferry to Kerrera for a delightful wander around the southern loop of the island. It was cold and sunny with great views out to the islands and back to the hills where a dusting of snow had settled down to around 700m.

Bowden Doors

Climbing today at Bowden Doors with Ivor, Simon and Martin. We had a good few hours before some unexpected rain set in. Many routes and problems are dry and clean with the odd green thing around.

Martin climbing at Bowden.