Wednesday 25th February

Yesterday i was out in Beinn an Dothaidh in the north east with EICA Ratho.  I was leading a staff training day looking at the Winter Mountain Leader assessment.  We headed up East Gully (Grade 1) which was very steep at the top and requires care.  Central Gully and West Gully are also complete.

Sunday 22nd February

I have spent the last two days on the west coast working with George Watsons school on behalf of EICA Ratho.

On saturday we had a winter skills day on Aonach Mor.  Paul was out on the Ben on saturday and climbed Glovers Chimney.  He reported that the first pitch was running with water.

On sunday we headed into Stob Coire Nam Beith in Glencoe and climbed Summit Gully.  This is a 450m long route with a relatively short approach.  The gully was complete apart from two short rock steps that didnt provide any major difficulties.

Friday 20th February

For the last two days i have been working for Climb 365 in the Cairngorms with Manchester Grammar School.

On wednesday we climbed Fiacall Couloir on the Fiacall Buttress.  The route had excellent snow and ice in it and the chockstone is well buried.  Other teams climbed Invernookie which is a bit loose at the moment and the classic gully lines.

On thursday we climbed The Runnel taking the right hand exit which gave an excellent pitch of II/III.  We then headed to the Mess of Pottage and climbed The Slant with a direct finish before heading to the summit of Cairn Gorm.  Other teams were in all the gully lines (although Red Gully and Goat Track are looking very very rocky) and some teams were on Milky Way and Astroturfer in Coire an Lochain reporting excellent icy conditions.

The buttresses were begining to rime up as we were leaving the corrie.

Tuesday 17th February

I was out today with the Falkirk High Tops Team in Stob Coire Nan Lochain, Glencoe.  We climbed Dorsal Arete and descended Broad Gully.  The snow is thawing rapidly meaning that there are a large number of loose blocks on Dorsal Arete requiring care.  The corrie was very busy today.

Sunday 15th February

Boy Wonder and i were out in Rjukan (Norway) from tuesday to friday and then i was out in the Ben Lawers area yetsterday.

In Rjukan we climbed Nye Vermokfoss, Sabotorfossen, Trapfoss, Verdens End and Tjonnstadbergfossen.  We found excellent conditions in the main, with some brittle ice due to the very low temperatures (-18.5 deg C one morning).

Yesterday i was out in Coire Odhar near Ben Lawers with Peter, Andrew, Jill and Jane looking at winter skills.  There was still good snow cover and it would be possible to ski tour from the visitor centre car park.

Adam, Alan and Colin climbed Arrow Chimney on Meall Nan Tarmachan finding good conditions and proposing a grade of IV 3 in the current conditions.

Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th February

Out in the Cairngorms yesterday (Monday 9th). There was deep unconsolidated snow on lots of aspects and skis or snow shoes would be very useful at the moment.

Today (Tuesday 10th) I was out with Jane and Pamela over on Beinn Udlaidh. Pamela headed off to practice some skills and Jane and I climbed The Cramp, which had good ice that was thick enough to take screws where required. There were some sections of less firm snow ice, but these were generally on the less steep ground. The cornice wasn’t huge, but big enough to be thought provoking and could have been bypassed with a traverse to the left.

The atmosphere in the coire was fairly social with a team on Quartzvein Scoop (which looked to have a fairly big cornice); a couple of teams doing The Land of Make Believe with varying finishes; a team on West Gully and other voices away to our right. Two teams decided against Peter Pan Direct not liking the ice. Organ Pipes Wall and The Smirk both looked potentially climbable.

The old snow is firm neve. The more recent snow isn’t particularly deep, but hasn’t consolidated and some cleaning/care is required. Sunny during the day with cloud arriving about 4pm and some rain/snow on a southerly wind as we drove back down the road.



Friday 6th February

Out today with Phil on Cruach nam Miseag, Beinn Narnain. We climbed Hume’s Buttress, which gave a very entertaining route, which packed a lot in to it’s 200m, partly because it’s more like 300m. The delights included chockstones, caves, delicate traverses, turfy ramps and chimneys.

Conditions were good with with well frozen turf, solid snow where required and any seepages being well frozen. There’s a lot of ice about even down to quite low levels. No fresh snow all day, but some movement of old snow on a fresh northerly wind. 


Thursday 5th February

Today i was out in Glencoe with the Falkirk High Tops Team.  We had a great day on Curved Ridge.  The weather and conditions were excellent.  Another team was spotted on North Face Route and the Crowberry Ridge area.  Crowberry Gully is reported to have lots of windslab in it.

On the drive back we could see the crags of Beinn an Dothaidh and Meall Buidhe which look in great condition for mixed climbing.

Damien and Simon were on The Cobbler climbing the brilliant Right Angeled Gully Direct finding good conditions and a strenuous but mostly well protected crux pitch.  Another team was spotted on North Wall Grooves.

Monday 2nd February 2009

I was out on Monday with Pamela in the north-east coire of Beinn an Dothaidh. We climbed Stairway to Heaven on a mixture of crusty and firm old snow and well frozen turf. The route gave some interesting moves through steepish ground and one peach of a belay, but Pamela seemed less than inspired after her recent trip to Cogne.

There was some impressive avalanche debris out of the bottom of West Gully, which looked like it had come from a cornice collapse at the end of last week. West Gully contained very solid neve, but still had a sizeable remaining cornice at the top, which could be bypassed on the right.

The steeper routes weren’t very white. Taxus was complete, but would have been gathering some fresh snow at the top and the icefall finish had no ice to speak of. Cirrus was incomplete and Haar looked thin at the crux.

Well below freezing all day with light snow showers on a strong easterly wind.

Saturday 31st January

I was out Saturday in the Ben Lawyers area with Martin and a group from Adventure Edinburgh. Fairly extensive snow cover from about 600m on the south side of the hills with other groups reporting much more snow on the north facing slopes. The snow on south and west facing aspects was firm and generally well scoured. Some icey patches although the turf wasn’t particularly frozen. Souherly winds were probably gusting 50mph+ higher up. Dry all day with sunshine and cloud.