Newtyle

Driving conditions to suitable winter climbing venues meant a change of plan for the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Introduction to Winter Climbing Course today. Catrin, Liam, Paul and I headed to Newtyle Quarry near Dunkeld. Once there we climbed a number of dry tooling routes including Groovilicious and Bonzai. These gave a chance to look at footwork, tool placements and movement, which will all help when Scottish mixed climbing.

Paul belaying, Catrin on Groovilicious and Liam on Bonzai.

We also covered abseiling including stacked abs, gear placement and removal and some general mountaineering skills. Not a usual winter intro day, but actually covering lots of the skills required. It snowed on and off at Newtyle during the day on a westerly and there was more snow with temperatures falling as we drove back.

Birnam

It has been very, very wet in Scotland today. Rather than going out into the mountains, we opted to go dry tooling at Birnam instead. Hopefully we will be back up high again tomorrow.

Griff pulling hard at Birnam on a day when it was impossible to keep the camera dry!

Griff pulling hard at Birnam on a day when it was impossible to keep the camera dry!

Cairngorm Mixed Trip

John and I have been away with the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Cairngorm Mixed Climbing trip for the last three days. The lack of good winter conditions has meant it’s been a very mixed trip, but a good one.

On Monday we walked in to Coire an Spreidhe and climbed the Central Couloir (SMC Journal 2011) starting on dry rock and then putting on crampons for the majority of this good 300m mountaineering route. The snow was firm and made for easy progress between good stances.

The rope running down to Tony on the snowfields of Central Couloir.

The rope running down to Tony on the snowfields of Central Couloir.

On Tuesday we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda with the hope of an easy gully or possibly heading over to the Loch Avon basin. However, the very black state of the crags (even Fiacaill Couloir was very broken) made for a quick rethink and we walked out and drove to Duntelchaig, where we had an excellent afternoon’s rock climbing on Pinnacle Crag.

Me trying not to push to hard on the pinnacle of Pinnacle Crag. Photo Credit: J. Jackson.

Me trying not to push to0 hard on the pinnacle of Pinnacle Crag. Photo Credit: J. Jackson.

Today there was a forecast for very high winds at height and freezing levels well above the summits, so we drove south and spent the morning rock climbing at Creag na h-Eighe and the afternoon dry tooling at Newtyle.

Linda dry tooling at Newtyle.

Linda dry tooling at Newtyle.

A very mixed trip, but some good stuff done on each day and thanks to Graeme, Linda, Joanne and Tony for being open to suggestions to fit the unusual conditions.

Back to Birnam

Yesterday I returned to Newtyle (Birnam) Quarry with Linda and Joanne from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We spent a useful day looking at movement skills on steep ground with crampons and advanced techniques for climbing with axes.

dscf0187

Newtyle Quarry

Paul and I had hoped to go winter climbing today. Unfortunately, the conditions have currently gone. Therefore we went to Newtyle (Birnam) Quarry for some training.

We had a good day on the dry tooling routes. The crag wasn’t busy with just two other climbers enjoying the routes.

Paul warming up at Newtyle.

Paul warming up at Newtyle.

Cairngorm Mixed

I’m just back from seven days away up North. The first three of which were on a Falkirk Community Trust Cairngorm Mixed Climbing Trip with John, Gregor, Joanne, Linda and Tony. The weather didn’t really play ball and on Monday we opted to stop off at Newtyle Quarry on the way to Aviemore and go dry tooling due to high temperatures and wind in the hills. This gave a chance to look at precise crampon and axe work and was a fun day. The crag was unusually busy as a good portion of the BMC International Winter Climbing Meet turned up having been similarly washed out of the hills.

Linda starting off on Happy Hooker, Newtyle Quarry.

Linda starting off on Happy Hooker, Newtyle Quarry.

On Tuesday the weather still wasn’t helpful and we headed for the Spire Roxx climbing wall at Elgin, where we spent a pleasant day climbing routes and looking at rope skills and rescues.

Wednesday finally allowed us to get up in to the Cairngorms for some mixed climbing and Gregor, Joanne and I climbed a sporting Haston Line, whilst John, Linda and Tony climbed Hidden Chimney Direct Start before following us up the Haston Line.

Joanne above the crux on The Haston Line

Joanne well above the crux on The Haston Line

I’ll add more photos to the Climbnow Facebook page tomorrow.

Ravelston Dry Tooling

Feeling somewhat thwarted by recent conditions and circumstances I persuaded Ivor to join me for some dry tooling at Ravelston Quarry this afternoon. This small quarry in Edinburgh isn’t bolted; gear would be marginal at best and it it’s not a beauty spot. However, it provided a couple of hours of fun bottom roped dry tooling in a location sheltered from the winds and gave a bit of a work out.

Ivor on the warm up route

Ivor on the warm up route

We warmed up on the obvious corner and then climbed another couple of lines with Ivor cruising lines around D5. The rain arrived as it turned dark.

Ivor about to cruise the overhanging pegged crack

Ivor about to cruise the overhanging pegged crack

Ravelston Dry Tooling

Given a fairly nasty looking forecast Cameron and I decided to head to Ravelston Quarry today for a few hours dry tooling before the heavy rain arrived.

Cameron on the arete

The quarry isn’t bolted and a rigging rope is definitely helpful for setting up bottom ropes. We climbed the two corners, the arete between them and one of the face routes allowing us to work on technique and get a good work out. Care is required with the rock and there are a few sizable newish looking rock scars on some of the face routes.

Cameron shaking out on one of the face routes

Ravelston Dry Tooling

This afternoon I managed to persuade Pamela to have a look at a dry tooling venue in Edinburgh I’d been meaning to check out for a while. We did some of the easier lines there (between D3 and D5/6) and generally had a pleasant couple of hours.

Pamela on one of the corner routes

It’s not bolted, so it’s all bottom roping and a rigging rope is a definitely useful. A search on the internet under Ravelston and Dry Tooling should get you details and a topo if you’re interested.

Kirriehill and Newtyle

Out with Tam, Graham and Jim from the Falkirk Community Trust today. After last night’s rain and pondering the forecasts for today we eventually came up with an unusual plan for some sport climbing at Kirriehill plus some dry-tooling at Newtyle. The plan worked remarkably well.

Graham leading “On the Up” & Jim on “Mound over Matter”, Kirriehill

The rock at Kirriehill was pretty dry due to the wind direction and drying fast in the sun and the team climbed 9 different routes between them in the morning. We then headed over to Newtyle and donned crampons and axes and bottom roped three routes up to D5. For two of the team this was their first try at dry tooling and they both seemed to enjoy the experience.

Tam swapping axes on “Grooviliscious”