The Cobbler

John and I were out today in Arrochar with a Falkirk Outdoors climbing team of Doug, John, Nigel and Ross. We’d hoped to do a couple of harder variations on the classic Cobbler Traverse, but the cloud was making the rock and more importantly the lichen very slippy so we did the South-East Ridge of the South Peak; abseiled off the South Peak; up the jamming crack of the South-East Arete of the Central Peak and avoided the upper delicate slab; up and down Doorway Route to the Central Peak and then walked up to the North Peak. A good wee adventure in the cloud.

Summit photo of John, Ross and me.

We were in cloud all day, so didn’t see the other hills in the area but we saw no snow on The Cobbler. There was a fresh south-east wind, but no rain, however the moisture in the cloud was making the rock wet.

Beinn Ime

B, Robin and I went for an exploratory trip up the North-East ridge of Beinn Ime today, as none of us had climbed the ridge before. This felt like a good option for conditions as it’s described as both a summer scramble and a winter route. Today it was a summer scramble.

Robin and B at the summit of Beinn Ime.

An approach from Glen Croe via the Bealach a’Mhaim worked well for us, but did involve some steep traversing and avalanche risk would need to be considered if there was snow around. We soloed the lower section of the ridge avoiding the damp rocky sections, which would be fun in dry conditions. After roping up the final tower was climbed it in two pitches. The turf firmed up near the top of the ridge and there was some old thawing ice. We continued up to the summit of Beinn Ime. Above 900m the ground was hard frozen, the verglas and rime covered rocks were very slippy and there was plenty of ice on the paths. Very limited snow patches in the area, but I was definitely glad to have crampons on for the initial part of the descent.

Arrochar

B, Pamela and I were out in Arrochar today. Despite the cold temperatures and the frozen ground winter climbing wasn’t an option as nothing was white, so we’d planned a day of rock climbing high up on Beinn Narnain. The forecast sun didn’t really materialise and there was high cloud all day, however the plan worked well as there was no real wind and we had a fun day climbing Spearhead Arete and Restricted Crack. Scottish mountain trad in January anyone?

Pamela and B at the summit trig point of Beinn Narnain after climbing Spearhead Arete.

The ground was frozen from the valley up with some rime on the highest rocks. Water ice is starting to from, but all the burns we crossed were still running. Snow in the area is restricted to a very few limited patches with even the east face of Beinn Ime being snow free.

Loch Goil

With very strong easterly winds forecast at height today B and I headed west of Lochgoilhead to take in some lower hills. We visited Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn, Beinn Tharsuinn, Beinn an Lochain and it’s East Top. This avoided the worst of the precipitation and we only had a couple of showers although it was pretty windy even on these 2000ft hills.

B hanging on at the summit of Stob na Boine Druim-fhinn.

There was a covering of snow above about 800m visible on the hills further east and north; as we drove back through Arrochar Beinn Ime and The Cobbler had a good dusting high up.

Arrochar

Euan and I were out in Arrochar with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors scrambling team of Ali, Kostas, Louise, May and Steve. We traversed The Cobbler starting from Loch Long and taking in the South Peak via it’s South-East Ridge and an abseil to descend before climbing the Central Peak via Doorway Route. Euan then returned to Loch Long to fetch the mini bus, whilst the rest of us headed down to Glen Croe.

Me, May, Steve and Louise on the summit of The Central Peak of The Cobbler.

It was raining and windy this morning with the mica-schist on the route requiring care in the wet. It cheered up as we summited and was dry for most of the walk out. The ground is saturated at the moment and any crags with seepage will take a while to dry.

The Cobbler

John and I were in Arrochar today with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Mountaineering Team of Andrew, Devon, Douglas, Innes, Olesya and Peter.

The team soloing to the start of the difficulties in Chockstone Gully.

We had a great day climbing Chockstone Gully and Great Gully to reach the North Peak before walking over to the Centre Peak and the team climbing Doorway Route to the summit of The Cobbler. The views were great. We had no precipitation during the day. The freezing level was up near the summit of the hill, so harder routes would generally have been stripped. However, there was good build up in the gullies with the chockstones at the bottom of Great Gully being banked out to a short step.

Conic Hill

Out today with Fiona, Joe and an excellent group of kids from Grangemouth High School on Conic Hill above Balmaha. Another beautiful weather day with great views across Loch Lomond to The Luss Hills and Arrochar. Afraid I didn’t take any photos. The hills and crags are currently very dry in the area.

A Report from the East and West

I have been out the mountains the last three days. On Tuesday Laura, Euan and I visited Cha-no in the Cairngorms. Conditions were excellent on Anvil Gully and Short Ridge. Some windslab was building in Recovery Gully.

We visited Lurchers Crag on Wednesday. The top of South Gully looked fairly loaded on one side we abseiled into Quinn and climbed back out. The conditions were not as good as on Cha-no. The turf was perfect on Cha-no but suspect on Lurchers.

Laura and Euan at the top of Lurchers.

Laura and Euan at the top of Lurchers.

Today the Falkirk High Tops Team and I were at the Cobbler where we climbed Chockstone Gully and Great Gully. Conditions on Chockstone Gully were Good. Great Gully is currently much harder than the guidebook grade.

The turf on the Cobbler is not frozen apart from where exposed to the wind.

Paul climbing in Great Gully.

Paul climbing in Great Gully.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Chockstone Gully and Great Gully

We had good conditions on The Cobbler today where we climbed Chockstone Gully and Great Gully. There was lots of useful snow and some ice around. The turf was mostly usable.

The buttresses were all very white. Areas of poorly bonded windslab existed in some locations.

Glenn on the crux section of Great Gully.

Glenn on the crux section of Great Gully.

Beinn Narnain and A’Chrois

I was out today in the Arrochar Alps with a Falkirk Community Trust High Tops Team of Billy, Claire and Imran. Starting from Succoth in fog we climbed up Beinn Narnain and through the cloud in to sunshine and a beautiful cloud inversion, which lasted most of the day.

Ben Lomond above a sea of cloud.

Ben Lomond above a sea of cloud.

After the steep ascent of Beinn Narnain we headed out over Creag Tharsuinn and up to the top of A’Chrois. We descended the South ridge of A’Chrois, which is rough and pathless in places before returning to Succoth.

Billy and Imran on Beinn Narnain with the Luss Hills behind.

Billy and Imran on Beinn Narnain with the Luss Hills behind.

Once above the clouds we were in glorious sunshine all day with only the odd light breeze. Suncream, sunhats, shades and plenty of liquid was the order of the day.

Imran, Claire and Billy on the summit of A'Chrois with Beinn Narnain behind.

Imran, Claire and Billy on the summit of A’Chrois with Beinn Narnain behind.