Aberdour and Rosyth

I have been at Aberdour (The Hawcraig) and Rosyth Crags today with Wilson and Bob from the Falkirk High Tops Team.

We managed a number of routes at Aberdour before the rain started. Once it did begin we headed to Rosyth Quarry to climb routes there as the rock has more friction in the wet.

During the day we had the opportunity to look at the skills required for multi pitch climbing in preparation for the upcoming summer climbing and scrambling season.

Bob abseiling into The Hawcraig.

Bob abseiling into The Hawcraig.

Wilson abseiling into The Hawcraig.

Wilson abseiling into The Hawcraig.


Ley Quarry

After climbing at Rob’s Reed yesterday, Ivor, Zach and I visited Ley Quarry today. The weather once more was beautiful. We climbed a number of routes. It is worth noting that Ley Quarry definitely suits the taller climber.

Climbing in the sun at Ley Quarry.

Climbing in the sun at Ley Quarry (photo by Ivor McCourt).

Zach enjoying 'Footfall' at Ley Quarry.

Zach enjoying ‘Footfall’ at Ley Quarry.


More Rob’s Reed Photos

Ivor’s just sent through a few more photos from today, so there’s a couple more below to give a feel of the crag.

Ivor on the lower section of The Sheep of Things to Come

Euan on the lower section of The Sheep of Things to Come. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Me on Make my Day. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Me on Make my Day. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt


Rob’s Reed

Euan, Ivor and I were up at Rob’s Reed near Forfar today. This is an excellent South facing, bolted sandstone/conglomerate crag. The routes through the conglomerate bands can be difficult to read and, therefore, feel harder to onsight.

Ivor on the fierce opening moves of The Sheep of Things to Come

Ivor on the fierce opening moves of The Sheep of Things to Come

We climbed a good selection of routes including Horny Deer?, The Sheep of Things to Come, Little Bo Peep, Make My Day, Beyond The Call of Nature and The Pitscandly Chainsaw Massacre. Ivor’s redpoint of The Sheep of Things to Come and onsight of Little Bo Peep probably being the most impressive.

Euan leading The Pitscandly Chainsaw Massacre

Euan leading The Pitscandly Chainsaw Massacre

Sunny all day at the crag. We dropped in at Balmashanner on the way back to check the condition of the routes there, which mostly still have a fair bit of seepage on them.

Ivor belaying Euan on The Pitscandly Chainsaw Massacre

Ivor belaying Euan on The Pitscandly Chainsaw Massacre

Back in the Quarry

Martin, Ivor and I were back out in Ratho Quarry today climbing routes such as ‘The Corrieman’. Despite the sea haar the crag remained dry.

Ivor enjoying great moves on 'The Corrieman'.

Ivor enjoying great moves on ‘The Corrieman’.

Ivor near the top of 'The Corrieman'.

Ivor near the top of ‘The Corrieman’.

Ratho Quarry

Last season, Neill Busby bolted a number of routes in Ratho Quarry. Ivor, Martin, Davie, Alan and I climbed a number of these routes today. These were; Slow Strain, Buzooka, The Corrieman and Panzer. All gave excellent climbing and are very worthwhile.

The photo below shows Buzooka. A route that gives brilliant, intricate, steep slab climbing.


Gellaig and Carn Daimh

Jen and I are just back from a few days staying with friends near Dufftown. On the way up on Friday we stopped off and walked up Gellaig near Balmoral from the high point of the B976. This gave a pleasant loop on good tracks with great views to Ben Avon, Lochnagar, Mount Keen and even out to Clach na Ben.

Jen on the summit of Gellaig

Jen on the summit of Gellaig

On Saturday Jen, Anna Ray and I walked a circuit from Glenconglass on the Glenlivet Estate taking in Carn Daimh. Again, this is only a small hill, but has great views of Ben Avon, Beinn a Bhuird, Bynack More and Ben Rinnes. The new mountain bike trails in this area looked worth a visit too. It was windy on Saturday with gusts of 45mph below 600m.

Lochnagar from Gellaig

Lochnagar from Gellaig

Lochnagar, Ben Avon and Beinn a’Bhuird are still holding lots of snow in their corries and bigger gully lines.

Fresh Tracks in the Vanoise and Haute Maurienne

Descending from the summit of L'Uja back to the skis.

Descending from the summit of L’Uja back to the skis.

I have just had another fantastic five days ski touring in the Vanoise and Haute Maurienne with Robbo, Jock, Jon, Mikey and Tim.

We began our tour last Monday with an ascent of the Dome de Pramecou (3081m) before overnighting in Val d’Isere.

On Tuesday, we crossed the Col de l’Ouille Noire (3229m) and descended in poor visibility and snow to the Refuge du Carro. The weather cleared in the afternoon allowing us after an enjoyable ascent a great ski from the Col des Patriotes (3034m).

The weather was settled on Wednesday and we had a great days skiing on L’Uja (3379m).

On Thursday, we traversed the Col du Montet (3185m) before climbing to the summit of the Grande Aiguille Rousse (3482m). This gave us a brilliant descent of 1200 metres to the Refuge Prariond where we overnighted,

Friday was our last day. We made the most of it by completing the Col de la Galise (2987m) and the Grand Concor (3034m) before returning to Val d’Isere.

Excluding the poor weather of Tuesday morning the weather was perfect all week. Every day we skied fresh tracks, sometimes in powder snow and sometimes in spring snow. We saw very few other parties.

Lots more photos on the facebook page.

Glenmore Lodge and Geal Charn

Since Saturday I’ve been based up at Glenmore Lodge. On Saturday I was attending the Mountain Training Scotland Lowland Leader Provider/Director Induction and on Monday and Tuesday it was Mountain Training Scotland Train the Trainers and Assessors courses.

Rainbow from An Lurg

Rainbow from An Lurg

On Sunday I had a day off from inductions and courses and headed off for a run from Glenmore Lodge. I followed the Lairig an Laoigh path up on to the shoulder of Bynack More and then left the path to take in An Lurg, Carn Bheadhair, Carn Tarsuinn and Bile Buidhe on the way to Geal Charn. This was a new Corbett for me and I’d hoped for good views of Beinn a’Bhuird and Ben Avon, but unfortunately the weather had other ideas with the cloud staying around the 900m level most of the day. From Geal Charn I retraced my route towards Bile Buidhe before picking up the track dropping down past Loch a’Chnuic and through the Abernethy Forest to the Ryvoan Bothy and back to Glenmore Lodge.

Summit shot Geal Charn

Summit shot Geal Charn

The slow thaw is ongoing in the Cairngorms with snow pack reducing. There’s still piste ski-ing and ski-touring to be enjoyed although carrying of skis is likely to be required. Major gullies are still holding plenty of snow, with some cornices still looking pretty large.

Ski Mountaineering in the Haute Maurienne

Tina, Scott and I have just finished a great weeks ski mountaineering in the Haute Maurienne. This brilliant area which borders the Vanoise has many great summits for the ski tourer and a number of summits which involve the use of crampons, ice axe and ropes to gain the highest points.

On Monday we approached the Refuge d’Averole before climbing Ouille d’Arberon (3563m) on the Tuesday. The final ridge of the mountain was under deep snow making this section time consuming. The descent on skis to the Refuge d’Averole was on mostly good snow.

Wednesday promised perfect weather. Therefore, we traversed L’Albaron (3637m) from the Refuge d’Averole to the Refuge des Evettes. This is a very long day involving 1500 metres of ascent, some pulling up on fixed ropes and a brilliant alpine PD ridge. We had good conditions for the ascent and descent including a number of good ski pitches on spring snow. The traverse of this mountain requires good visibility as the terrain is complex.

Thursdays forecast was for less good weather but we still had a great day skiing the Col de la Disgrace (3232m) before returning to Bonneval sur Arc at 1800 metres giving us over 2400 metres of skiing in descent.

On Friday we climbed from Bonneval sur Arc to the Refuge Carro. The road to L’Ecot is currently closed making the approach longer than normal.

Our final day touring was spent climbing L’Uja (3379m). It had snowed overnight giving us brilliant powder snow on the glacier followed by perfect spring snow to a long distance below the Refuge. This was followed by a quick descent back to Bonneval via the ski du fond tracks.

Many more photos can be seen on the ClimbNow facebook page.

Descending from L'Albaron (3637m).

Descending from L’Albaron (3637m).