Costa Blanca

Euan and I are just back from a four day climbing trip to the Costa Blanca in Spain. With direct flights from Edinburgh and very good value accommodation at this time of year the area can be a great option for some winter sun rock climbing.

Euan onsighting on steep ground at Pinos.

We climbed at:
– Echo Valley.
– Pinos, a particularly pleasant setting with good steep routes and great views to the coast.
– Gandia, which has lots of excellent routes in the sixes and sevens and some very sharp rock on the quieter upper tier.
– Puig Campana. We climbed the classic Diedros Magicos. This is a great five pitch mountain route with an abseil descent and requires trad gear. The crux moves on the last pitch are not giveaways at the grade. The approach is best made from the higher car park as described in the guidebooks. Do not park in the large, circa 8 car carpark, as this is reserved for rescue team/helicopters, but a short distance down hill. The approach is now approximately 300m up the track from the large car park, where a scramble up rocks gains a good well marked path on the plateau leading to the base of the routes.
– Alcalali. This is a superb crag with quality routes across a lot of grade ranges. There are now a lot more routes than in the older guidebooks. We found the free to download RockTopos Alcalali very useful, although routes have been added since this has been updated. A lot of the routes are around the 30m mark and some have extensions, it’s worth tie-ing a not in the end of your rope to avoid possible mishaps when lowering.

Euan in a sea of limestone on pitch one of the excellent Diedros Magicos,

Euan will put up more photos from the trip on Facebook in the next day or two. This is a great relaxed way to get lots of mileage on rock at this time of year. If it’s something that may be of interest feel free to contact the ClimbNow team.

Euan with the Puig Campana behind and the start of the climbers approach track. Do not park here, but a little further back down the road.

Impressive Performance at Kirriemuir

Today Martin, Ivor and I climbed at Kirriemuir. The condtions were excellent being dry and cold with autumn sunshine making the sandstone perfect to climb on. We climbed a number of routes including; ‘Slim Pickins’, ‘Flyboy’ and ‘By Hook or by Crook’. However, the stand out event of the day was Ivor climbing ‘A Touch too Much’ (F7A).

At the age of 70 Ivor climbed his first F7A at Rob’s Reed.. Last season as a team of four (Graham, Martin, Ivor and I), we concentrated on continental ice and mixed routes. We climbed sensational routes such as La Catterdale (WI5/WI5+) on Ivor’s 71st birthday. The autumn was spent in the USA climbing desert towers.

Ivor below La Cattedrale.

This year Martin, Ivor and I have been back in the gym lots as well as climbing on crags when the weather allows. Ivor, now 72 has climbed F7A again today at Kirriemuir. Very inspirational and all down to very hard work and determination.

Ivor showing great technique today at Kirriemuir.

 

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.

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.

 

La Mortenaz

Andy and I had a nice mornings cragging today at La Mortenaz. This crag (which is located near Cluses) has a number of perma-dry routes so worked well during todays weather.

Andy Nelson leading at La Mortenaz.

A Varied Week in the Alps

This week I have been out in the Alps climbing with Ian, Ed and www.frostguiding.co.uk. We began the week last Sunday by traversing the superb Grand Perron  (2647m) above Lac d’Emosson.

Ian and Ed with the Perron Traverse behind.

We then moved to the Evolene and Arolla valley and climbed the Dent Blanche (4357m) via the South Ridge on Tuesday. The route was very dry and crampons were not needed above the second snowfield (although this may change in the current weather). I would not recommend being under other groups in the couloir behind the gendarme at the moment,.

Sunset from the Dent Blanche Hut.

 

 

On Wednesday we climbed two routes on the Contrefort de Droite in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix; Eperon Sublime and Robin Wood. A small rack is required for Eperon Sublime.

Yesterday the weather was poor so we made our way to the Rifugio Torino before climbing Les Aiguilles Marbrees (3535m) today under fresh snow and in Scottish winter style conditions. The glacier was in the worst condition I have seen it in.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

L’Aiguille du Belvedere and La Duchere

Yesterday Paul, Hector and I climbed L’Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m) which is the highest summit in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix. It provided a great route with only a few other teams around.

Paul and Hector on the summit ridge.

Today we climbed a nine pitch route at La Duchere before Hector did some lead climbing on the lower tier.

Hector near the top of La Duchere.

La Frasse and Saas Fee

Paul, Hector and I are climbing together this week. On Monday we climbed at the excellent slab of La Frasse which is 30 minutes from Saint Gervais. The rock here is perfect, well bolted and the routes up to three pitches in length.

Yesterday, we climbed the Allalinhorn (4027m) from Saas Fee before overnighting at the Britannia Hutte.. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed from the hut to Mattmark reservoir via the Holaub and Allalin Glaciers. Since I last did this route a number of years ago the route has become much more popular, well marked with paint and cairns and very easy to follow.

The view from the ascent of the Allalinhorn.