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.

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.

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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.

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”