Mont Blanc

Congratulations to Amanda and Trevor who summited Mont Blanc yesterday. We climbed the mountain via the Refuge du Gouter and the Refuge de Tete Rousse.

Amanda and Trevor with the summit behind.

The Grand Couloir was quiet during our ascent (between 2.15am and 4.15am) and our descent (between 5.00am and 7.00am). I did hear activity during the afternoon and evening. The conditions above the Gouter Hut were excellent.

Rifugio Torino

Amanda, Trevor and I have been at the Rifugio Torino (Mont Blanc Massif) for the last couple of days. Here we climbed the Aiguilles Marbrees, the traverse of Le Petit Flambeau and the Aiguille de Toule. The mountains were in good condition.

The snow ridge of Le Petit Flambeau.

First Summits of the Alpine Season

I have just completed the first summits of my alpine season in the company of Amanda and Trevor. These were in the Vanoise.

Following an excellent meal and night at the Refuge Col de la Vanoise, today we climbed Pointe du Dard and La Rechasse. The mountains were both in perfect condition and very quiet.

The summit of Pointe du Dard with a stunning inversion behind the team.

Ski Touring in the Troll Peninsula (Iceland)

I am just back from ski touring in the Troll Peninsula with Scott and Tina. We had an amazing time skiing great snow in remote valleys and on coastal peaks followed by a super friendly experience in the café at Dalvik on our return each day.

I would highly recommend Iceland for those who want to ski tour late April and May in a magical place where solitude can easily be found.

Could Inversion on the Troll Peninsula.

Craig Varr

Pamela and I had a very pleasant day climbing at Craig Varr in Strath Tummel. The pick of the routes we climbed was Boulevard, which gives an excellent well protected pitch. It was cloudy with a cool wind and stayed dry whilst we were there.

Pamela leading Venison at Craig Varr.

Aonach Eagach and Ski Touring in the Cairngorms

Jon, Mikey and I have been out over the last couple of days. On Sunday we visited Glencoe and traversed the Aonach Eagach. We wore crampons for the whole ridge. Some sections are dry but not enough to warrant taking crampons off.

Yesterday we visited the Cairngorms and traversed Cairn Lochain and Cairn Gorm via Lurchers Gully, a descent into Coire Domhain and a final descent of the pistes. We wore skis for the whole journey excluding two minutes on the approach to Lurchers Gully and one minute on around Point 1083m.

More photos on the facebook page.

Sgairneach Mhor

I was out today near Drumochter with John and a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Ski Mountaineering team of Fergus, Stephen and Stuart. We skied in to Coire Creagach and climbed on a small crag developed by Davy Virdee and friends. We’d intended to climb either Easy Gully or Burns Supper. However, both had solid, but very large cornices, so we climbed a grade II line that brought us out about 100m east of the summit. We then had a delightful ski back down the North-East ridge.

Stephen, Fergus and Stuart having changed from ski-ing to climbing mode below the crag.

We couldn’t quite ski from/to the road, but were able to ski from about 500m. Snow cover was mostly hard old snow. There was some fresh snow from overnight and in to the morning, but this was only in pockets on Northern through to Eastern aspects. Most of the day we had broken cloud and sunshine with an easterly wind that was moving the fresh snow around.

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 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.