Kirrie Hill

Jen and I visited Katie, Izzy, Kofi and Eva in the Angus Glens today and had a delightful few hours taking the kids climbing at Kirrie Hill, Kirriemuir.

Izzy at the top of the first route with Eva, Kofi and myself down on the ground.

The crag was dry and there were quite a few teams climbing, but there was plenty of space for everyone and a very friendly atmosphere. I’ll put more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Glen Clova

John and I visited Glen Clova today with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors team of Gillian, Kate and Ken. We opted for this as it was likely to be quick drying after the rain, gave us options if we did get showers and was less likely to be busy. We were lucky in that we had no significant rain whilst we were there and the crag dried quickly. We also had the crags to ourselves all day.

Ken on one of the harder options on pitch 3 of Twenty Minute Route.

We started on Twenty Minute Route, taking in some of the harder variations, whilst the crag dried. After lunch we moved across to the South-East Crag and climbed Parapet Route Direct Start with Kate, Ken and I then climbing Flake Route and John and Gillian climbing Central Crack, both excellent long pitches. A long abseil from the top of the crag then finished off a good day.

Kirrie Hill

Euan, Ivor and I had a good day sport climbing at Kirriemuir today. The crag was dry when we arrived, but there were showers from early afternoon. However, the nature of the crag meant that many of the routes stayed dry and we were able to climb for a further two hours.

Euan onsighting “Where There’s Muck, There’s Brass”.

Assynt and Coigach

The last three days I’ve been in the North-West Highlands with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors High Tops team of Billy, Linda, Rebekah and Wilson. We were based at the Inchnadamph Lodge Hostel and after travelling up on Monday we walked from the hostel to ascend Conival and Ben More Assynt returning over Conival.

Rebekah, Billy and Wilson on Conival with Foinavon in the far background.

On Tuesday we traversed Cul Mor and Cul Beag starting and finishing from near Knockan Crag. We ascended the East Ridge of Cul Mor over Meall Diomhain and descended the East Ridge of Cul Beag over Meall Dearg. This isn’t a huge day in terms of distance, but covers a lot of pathless rough ground between Cul Mor and Cul Beag, requires accurate navigation and has a couple of river crossings that might be difficult if the rivers were in spate. As a reference point if you’re thinking about this route we took 9 hours 40 minutes road to road at a good steady walking pace in wet conditions.

On Wednesday we drove around through Achiltibuie and climbed Sgurr an Fhidhleir and Ben More Coigach. With a forecast of relatively high winds and heavy showers we chose to do head up and down between the Allt a’Choire Reidh and the Allt nan Coisiche rather than ascend over the West Top of Ben More Coigach. This worked well on the day and the cloud even lifted on our descent to give views to Loch Broom and out to The Summer Isles.

The team in cloud on the summit of Sgurr an Fhidhleir.

Monday was dry, but there were heavy and sometimes prolonged showers on Tuesday and Wednesday. The ground and crags in the area are currently wet and any crags that suffer from seepage will take a few days to dry.

A good trip to a beautiful area, in great company taking in two Munros on Monday, two Corbetts on Tuesday and two Grahams on Wednesday, which has a pleasing sort of symmetry. I’ll put more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.


L’Aiguille du Belvedere and La Duchere

Yesterday Paul, Hector and I climbed L’Aiguille du Belvedere (2965m) which is the highest summit in Les Aiguilles Rouges above Chamonix. It provided a great route with only a few other teams around.

Paul and Hector on the summit ridge.

Today we climbed a nine pitch route at La Duchere before Hector did some lead climbing on the lower tier.

Hector near the top of La Duchere.

La Frasse and Saas Fee

Paul, Hector and I are climbing together this week. On Monday we climbed at the excellent slab of La Frasse which is 30 minutes from Saint Gervais. The rock here is perfect, well bolted and the routes up to three pitches in length.

Yesterday, we climbed the Allalinhorn (4027m) from Saas Fee before overnighting at the Britannia Hutte.. The mountain was in good condition.

Today we traversed from the hut to Mattmark reservoir via the Holaub and Allalin Glaciers. Since I last did this route a number of years ago the route has become much more popular, well marked with paint and cairns and very easy to follow.

The view from the ascent of the Allalinhorn.


Today I went for a boulder at Medonnet which is located near Combloux. This excellent venue provides a superb alternative to the Col du Montets and is significantly quieter. The rock is good quality but pretty tough on the hands after a few weeks in gloves.

Details on the approach can be found on UKC. I think it is easier to find when approached from Combloux rather than Sallanches.

Wester Ross

The last five days Cliff and I have been assessing/supervising an excellent Gold DofE Group from Trinity Academy for The City of Edinburgh Council.

After an acclimatisation night at the Big Sand campsite the group’s route travelled through some very rugged, remote and scenic country between Gairloch and Killilan over four days with three nights wild camping.

Sunset on Beinn Dearg from Beinn a’Chearcaill.

The weather was generally pretty kind with sunshine and showers until today when the group finished in steady rain. The hills are pretty wet and walking off tracks is currently quite boggy. Localised heavy rain is affecting river crossings e.g. the stepping stones on the way to Coire Mhic Fearchair were impassible on Tuesday evening.

The group did a great job and coped with the conditions well. I’ll post some more photos from the trip on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Wild weather in the Alps

Following our retreat from the Plan de Bertol, the lads from St. James School, the team and I had a great day above Arolla on Wednesday. We climbed the Pointe du Pas de Chevres and traversed Point 2940m under mostly blue skies. These ridges provide fun scrambles that are rarely busy.

Traversing Point 2940m.

The weather from early evening Wednesday and through the whole of yesterday and last night has been very, very poor with 30cm of new snow at 2800m and I would suspect significantly more higher than this.

Due to this we went to the climbing wall yesterday. Today we attempted to go to the Saas Valley but unfortunately could not get up the road due to a significant landslide. Not to be put off, we travelled to Fiesch before having a fun day in the snow while ascending the Eggishorn.

The Aletschhorn during a clearing in the weather. It doesn’t normally look like this in August!

Pigne de la Le

For the past couple of days I have been out with St. James School and On Sunday we completed an Ecole de Glace session on the Moiry Glacier before overnighting at the hut. Yesterday, we climbed the Pigne de la Le via the Voie Normale.

The Voie Normale is pretty ice at the moment (although this may change over the next few days) and I would recommend sharp crampons.

Today we tried to get to the Cabane Bertol but had to turn back above the Plan de Bertol due to torrential rain but more importantly, thunder and lightning.

Descending from the Pigne de la Le.