I have had a productive four days with the Joint Services. After climbing the Zig Zags on Monday we visited Aonach Dubh on Tuesday were we climbed Golden Oldie. The route was in good condition with frozen turf, lots of snow and fully rimed.
Yesterday we visited the Cobbler and climbed Chockstone Gully and Maclays Crack. Both routes were very white and fully frozen.
Today we climbed Dinnertime Buttress. The route was very white and fully frozen. We climbed the chimney version of the route today which was probably grade II/III.
During the four days we have seen no other climbers.
Martin and I have been out the last couple of days. On the 2nd January we climbed on the Cobbler completing Right Angled Gully and Right Angled Chimney. The routes were both heavily rimed and it snowed throughout the day. The turf was variable.
Yesterday we went to Craig Raibert in the Cairngorms. This crag is featured in the guidebook, ‘Chasing the Ephemeral’. The turf was well frozen, the climbing excellent but it should be noted that some of the routes are stiff for the grade.
There are more photos on the facebook page.
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.
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.
Lots more photos on the facebook page.
This week I am based in Glencoe and will be travelling to Lochaber and the Arrochar Alps as well as climbing in the Glen.
On Monday with my team, I completed the Zig Zags before returning to the West Face of Aonach Mor on Tuesday to repeat Western Rib which I climbed last Friday. The turf has become much more frozen since Friday. The route has large quantities of snow on it creating interesting snow aretes.
Today with the lads I visited Stob Coire Nan Lochan where we climbed Dorsal Arete. The route is very, very white as are all the other buttresses. Hard mixed routes will currently be time consuming.
There is currently large amounts of powder snow in the West Highlands which would be great for skiing.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday, I was out on The Cobbler in the Arrochar Alps with the Falkirk High Tops Team. We completed the traverse of the South Peak and the Centre Peak which gives some nice moderate rock climbing and one abseil.
The abseil tat at the top of the South Peak had vanished so I replaced it. Hopefully it will remain where it is!
I returned to The Cobbler today with a team to look at a number of skills including; short roping, approaching routes and guiding in series. We climbed Chockstone Gully and Great Gully.
Chockstone Gully was in good condition. However, a large area of windslab was building at the exit which will require care. This has occurred due to cross loading due in the current wind direction.
Great Gully was in good condition.
The routes we climbed did not rely on frozen turf. Any turf we came upon did not appear to be frozen.
The forecast today was for very wild weather in the West Highlands. Despite this, The Falkirk High Tops Team (Graham, Tam, John, Gayle and Iona) and I had a great day out on The Cobbler in the Arrochar Alps.
We chose this venue for two reasons. Firstly, the mountain is a bit lower and receives less snow than other areas such as Glencoe. Secondly, as many of the routes face south the forecast wind should have scoured the face to leave good conditions.
Our plan paid off. We first climbed Chockstone Gully. There is some soft slab gathering in the initial pitches due to cross loading but we managed to avoid moving on this. The wall that is used to pass underneath the giant chockstone had good snow on it.
The slope between the top of Chockstone Gully and the base of Great Gully which was our second route of the day had been blasted by the wind leaving only old hard snow on it. Great Gully was in excellent condition with good hard snow, useful neve on the crux bulge and frozen turf at the exit.
There was areas of windslab forming on similar aspects to that suggested by the Glencoe avalanche forecast and also on southerly aspects due to cross loading.
The Falkirk High Tops Team and I were out today in the Arrochar Alps near Loch Lomond. We climbed the South East Ridge of the South Summit of The Cobbler (Moderate) before abseiling to the col after a very brief stop on top. Some of the team continued to the Central Summit while others returned to the valley.
It is worth noting that all the abseil tat required to descend from the South Summit in anything but perfect conditions has vanished! We have put a new length of 10 mm rope through the thread anchor which will hopefully remain in place.
The weather was very challenging today but all members of the team did a great job in the conditions.