27th to 31st August 2012 The Bernese Oberland and Cragging at Evolene

From the 27th to the 30th August I was part of a team in the Bernese Oberland. We had a great four days visiting the Konkordia and Finsteraarhorn Hutte, the summit of the Grunegghorn (3860m) and the Grunhornlucke. Rather than approach from the Jungfraujoch as most teams do, we approached from Fiesch. This route stays well away from the crowds.

The glaciers are currently very dry. This means that they require more time to cross than usual and teams should remember this when planning trips.

The weather has been poor overnight and today. However, we managed to find a crag near Evolene which stays dry in the rain and climbed a number of routes between F4+ and F6C.

Photo 1. One of our teams near the Grunhornlucke.

Photo 2. Early morning on the Gruneggfirn.

Photo 3. Climbing on the Grunegghorn.

Photo 4. Mountain Guide Ewen Todd near the summit of the Grunegghorn.



27th and 28/08/12 Lake District

Just back from a Falkirk Community Trust two day climbing trip with John and Alec, Gayle and Linda. The weather forecast for Monday was heavy rain just about everywhere and quite strong southerly winds so after some debate and checking what the team had done before we headed to Raven Crag in Coombe Ghyll and climbed Corvus. This 8 pitch Diff can be climbed in the wet provided you’re sensible and take a sense of humour with you and as usual it gave a memorable day out.

Gayle and Linda on the belay after the 1st pitch with Gayle wondering where they’re going next


John leading the 2nd pitch of Corvus (where Gayle and Linda are going next is through the waterfall to where John is)

Gayle on the “hand traverse” pitch

Today was much dryer with just the odd spot of rain and a fresh breeze was drying the crags quickly. John, Gayle and Linda went to Black Crag and climbed the classic Severe of Troutdale Pinnacle reporting some seepage particularly just after the traverse. Alec had climbed Troutdale Pinnacle before so he and I headed to Sheperd’s Crag and climbed Jackdaw Ridge and Donkey’s Ears, both had a liitle seepage after yesterday’s rain, but were drying fast. Alec and I appreciated the benefits of the crag with a stop between routes for tea and cake at Shepherd’s Cafe.

Alec above the traverse on Donkey’s Ears

25/08/12 Ben Chonzie

Out on Saturday with Woody and Kate. Given the weather forecast and limited time and footwear we headed up Ben Chonzie from the Glen Lednock side. This route is largely on track and short well drained grass and gives a quickish and relatively unmuddy day out.

Woody & Kate enjoying the benefits of a group shelter for lunch

The weather started fine with some sunshine, but there were heavy showers and cloud below the summit in the afternoon.

Kate and Woody on the summit of Ben Chonzie

23/08/12 Ben Vorlich Loch Lomondside

Out with a Falkirk Community Trust High Tops team of Billy, Norrie and Vic today on Ben Vorlich west of Loch Lomond.

Norrie, Vic and Billy at the summit with the North Top behind

We approached from Inveruglas via the private road to the Loch Sloy Dam and headed up the path on the West face, which was wet and muddy in places, but finished through some fine mica schist rock scenery just befere gaining the South ridge. After heading out to the North top we descended the South ridge, which gave great views down Loch Lomond. The path down the ridge became very indefinite and I’m not sure if we lost it, or it just died out and the last few hundred metres of descent to the track was very rough through bracken and tussocks and not to be recommended.

Norrie with A’Chrois in the background

Light showers during the day, but also some good patches of sunshine and cloud above the summits at times.

20th and 21st August 2012 La Villette

I have been off the last couple of days so Rosie and I have been using the evenings to visit one of our local crags, La Villette. This crag provides some good steep routes as well as an excellent boudering traverse and stays dry during rain showers. It is located in a forest and so is a good choice in the current very hot and sunny weather.


19/08/12 Glen Etive/The Blackmount

Vic and Sam with The Buachaille in the background

Out with a Falkirk High Tops Team of Isobel, Sam, Terry and Vic today. After a boggy approach from the White Corries ski area we climbed Creise via the North-East Ridge of Stob a’Ghlais Coire with some lovely easy scrambling on dry slabby rough rock. We then continued on around the head of the Cam Ghleann to Meall a’Bhuiridh before descending it’s North Ridge and dropping down through the ski area to the car park. This gave an excellent and slightly unusual round of these two Munros. Quite busy on the hill and we met lots of other walkers between Creise and Meall a’Bhuiridh.

Terry and Vic on the North-East Ridge of Stob a’Ghlais Choire

Cloud developed through the day, but remained above the summits of all but the highest hills in the area whilst we were out. Winds were light southerlies and there was no precipitation until we started to drive back when we drove through some very heavy showers.

The Team on the summit ridge of Creise looking North

8/8/12 to 19/8/12 Matterhorn and the Haute Route

Photo 1. At the Solvay Hut (4003m) on the Matterhorn.

Photo 2. Descending from the Trient Plateau to Champex on day two of the Haute Route.

Photo 3. Lac Mauvoisin on day three of the Haute Route.

Photo 4. The Matterhorn from the summit of Tete Blanche (3710m) on day seven of the Haute Route.

Photo 5. The Schonbiel Hut and the Matterhorn. This is the last hut before Zermatt on the Haute Route.

Photo 6. Climbers approaching the Bertol Hut on day six of the Haute Route.

Photo 7. Trekkers on the Otema Glacier. Day four of the Haute Route.

Photo 8. Rhodri on the summit of the Matterhorn.

The weather in the Alps has been amazing during the last few weeks. As I sit and write this blog post, temperatures have reached 38 degrees in Saint Gervais. During this very settled period of weather I have had some fantastic days out in the mountains.

On the 8th August, I stayed at the Hornli Hut and climbed the Matterhorn on the 9th August with Rhodri. The route had more snow on it than on my previous two ascents this summer but was still in great condition.

From the 12th to 19th August I have been completing the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. I have had a brilliant time on this world famous mountain trek. The weather has been mostly perfect and the very clear nights have allowed for some amazing star gazing. On this trip we visited the following huts and hotels; Albert Premier, Orny for Lunch, Champex SAC, Chanrion, Vignettes, Hotel du Galcier Arolla, Bertol and Schonbiel. Thanks to everyone who was with me and made the trip a great success.

One note on the current conditions, the Stocki Glacier (between the summit of Tete Blanche and Schonbiel Hut) is pretty complex and best crossed early, especially in these currently very warm temperatures.


16/08/12 Glencoe

Bob, Billy and Lindsay with Meall Dearg behind

Out on the Aonoch Eagach with a Falkirk Community Trust Team of John, Alec, Billy, Bob, Fiona, Harry and Lindsay.


Alec, Fiona and Harry in The Pinnacles


The weather was kinder than forecast with lower winds and only the odd light shower reaching us, which made for a very pleasant day with mostly dry rock on this classic Scottish scramble.

The final scramble descent


10th August 2012 Hawkcraig, Aberdour

Last day of Rockport for EICA Ratho, which involved the kids getting a RIB from Port Edgar across the Forth to Aberdour and then climbing at The Hawkcraig before returning to Ratho for the Aerial Assault Course and a slideshow/presentation. The Hawkcraig is a delighful tidal sea-cliff with a range of routes in the easy to mid-grade range and with the sun shining gave a suitable finishing day to a great week.

Climbers at a sunny and busy Hawkcraig

9th August 2012 Traprain Law

I’ve been working for EICA Ratho this week on their Rockport multi-activity week for kids. So far they’ve been kayaking, sailing, raft building, mountain biking and surfing as well as climbing, abseiling and bouldering at Ratho and climbing outdoors at Rosyth Quarry on Tuesday and at Trapain Law today. The weather has been generally dry since Monday and the main areas at both Rosyth and Traprain are dry, although some of the more obscure routes at Traprain are still suffering a little seepage.