Posts tagged Camping
Skye Delight
Brian getting to grip on day 1
Looking towards our next objective
After a mixed season of winter climbing and skiing, this week has been a dream come true.  I have been based up in Lochcarron heading things up for Moran Mountain as Martin is away in the Himalayas.  I was teamed up with Brian who was hungry for a Cuillin Ridge traverse as his attempt 2 years ago was thwarted by foul weather.  His luck came in tenfold this week.
Mighty fine
Brian and his ascent route
Our first day was a training day, an opportunity to practice the crucial skills for the Ridge so we climbed Pinnacle Ridges and traversed over Am Basteir and abseiled down the tooth.  Everything was bone dry, the views were far and wide and this was the 'worst weather' of the week!

Day two we had a slightly restful day rock climbing in Applecross before an evening of lectures and packing before we headed back to Skye.

Day 3+4 we made our traverse.

And we are off!

Moving well over the Southern End
Into the mid section.  TD Gap and In Pinn done.

Another hour to go!

Perfect ridge scrambling

Mint evening

The view from the bivi after I had done my water run
Brian feeling 'awesome'.  The overused word that we used now and again.

  We walked up from Glen Brittle and agreed that we wanted to do all the Munro's and all the technical sections of the ridge,  have a big first day and a shorter second day in tie for lunch and beers at the Slig.  Our first day was 11 hours in which we arrived at Bealach na Glaic Moire for a stunning sunset and a brilliant bivi.  An early start saw us on our final Munro, Sgurr nan Gillean at 1pm before we ran down to the pub for 3 well earned pints.
Evening sunset
Day 2 objective

Scotland is special

Top of Am Bastier i think...

Done and dusted!  Well done Brian!  

Our final day of the course we teamed up with Jeannie who was on the rock climbing course.  We all climbed at Stone Valley crag on immaculate gneiss.  It was a good rest for the legs and a good opportunity for Brian to see what all the fuss with rock climbing is all about.
Jeannie on the sharp end

Jeannie cruising some 3 star classics

Brian in the zone

Brian trying hard

Jeannie seconding the HVS

Superb week with great company and a pleasure to be working with a great team - Robin and Kev for Moran Mountain.
Autumn catch up
It has been a wee while since I have had a sit down to write a wee update, which is great as it has been such an action packed few weeks.  I guess the brilliant weather has helped.  Fortunately I haven't had to travel around too much as the rock has been dry and work has been local.  A couple of visits to Brin Rock and Tunnel Wall helped kick of Sport Climbing season, given that I haven't had a great summer of rock climbing, I felt I was doing ok.  Really enjoyed the routes I tried.  Really pleased to climb Uncertain Emotions in Glencoe after a couple of visits.  I also made the most of some nice days with cragging at Creag Dubh, bouldering at the Skeleton Boulder in Glen Nevis and mountain biking at Wolftrax  before work kicked in.  I have just finished my 3rd week working at the Joint Services Mountain Training Centre in Ballachulish (the military version of Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge).  I have been working on a host of instructor training courses, two weeks of rock climbing instructor training and assessments and a week of Mountain Leader Training.  We visited a whole host of single pitch climbing venues, some with a lengthy drives but worth it for the dry rock and the climbing.  Its been great working Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, feels like a 'real job' with time to spare and weekends to catch up with folk.  With an upcoming trip away sport climbing on the Greek Island of Kalymnos I have been trying hard to build some fitness to get the most of the trip.  So a few trips to Ratho (best indoor wall in Scotland...if not the UK!) and mid week bouldering have been doing the trick.  This week I am working on Mountain Leader Assessment so will be out on the hills for the week which will be great, before flying out at the weekend.   I'm hoping that when I return at the start of December I will be straight into winter climbing so watch this space.
Brin (Zed Buttress) with Mhairi and Murdoch

Good views in Glen Nevis (above Skeleton Boulder)

Creag Dubh...beaut day!

Kingussie Rock training

Group abseil

Setting up climbing at Glen Nevis

Team at Kingussie

Where is the Loch?

Inversion on the Buachaille

Mountain Leader ropework

Walking out of the Buachaille

Good navigation training in Glencoe

Dream team loving learning new skills

Training at Dave Mac's wall
Another brilliant week in the North West
Ice axe arrest practice
I always look forward to winter and when it arrives I always look forward to working and climbing in the North West.  Why, because of its vast variety, lack of people and sheer beauty of the mountains.  I have been blessed with two healthy clients, one is an iron man competitor and the other is just young so a pretty good combination.  I have also had Mike shadowing for 4 days as he prepares for his Winter Mountain Leader award.  Day one was our skills day where we headed up to Fuar Tholl and did much slipping and sliding, digging and assessing, burying and tieing and then finished the day by climbing a grade II gully called Access Gully.
Martin's team heading up Access Gully ahead of us.
Windy but nice day
Wild topping out of Access Gully
Our second day was the nicest of the week so we thought we would get up high, put some of the skills into practice and grab some great views.  We headed up on to the Liathach Ridge with our high point of the day being Spidean.  A great Munro with stunning views.  We didnt traverse the ridge as this was the teams second day in crampons but it gave them a few things to aim for in the future.

A front coming in from the West.  Beinn Alligan looking great.
Team on the summit of Spidean
The day
Heading down, we turned left here and went the long way down as it was such a nice day.

 Day 3 turned out a wee bit poor so as a wee rest day we went to a local training crag for some more skills before getting back to plan and pack for a overnight snow hole expedition.  The weather was ideal.  Super cold and with plenty of snow there were sure to be some good snow hole sites.  We climbed the Forcan Ridge, which was in stellar conditions.  We summited at 3ish and started digging just after.  We had a palace by 6pm and ate and drank all evening.  It was a great night, snow holing conditions were great.  Digging was easy so we made a comfy hole and made a nice large cold sump for the cold air to sit in whilst the warm air stayed tight.  The second day we exited early to get onto a nearby Munro at sunrise.  It would have been spectacular but unfortunately the clouds were rolling in but was still stunning non the less.

Plenty of Navigation
Plenty of mountaineering

A spot of abseiling

Alot of eating and drinking
Lovely morning views
The the cloud came in
Summer Mountain Leader Assesment
Over the last couple of days I have been working in Wales assessing some candidates for the Summer Mountain Leader. An interesting transition from lots of winter climbing to walking around with the sun above us and talking alot about flowers and rocks. We camped out 2 nights around Snowdon, did two sessions of night nav and back down to the cafe for a bacon sandwich. Well done to all the candidates who all passed. It was good to be back in Wales working for Plas Y Brenin but now heading back up to Scotland to have someone assessing me!
Mountain Leader Training
This week I was working for 4 days on a Mountain Leader Training. On Monday the group and I spent the day mainly inside covering areas of the syllabus which are covered best in a classroom. In the afternoon after the torrential rain had eased, we went outside and we introduced the group to the rope work which they will need to learn for their assessment. We covered the basics on the grounds of the centre so on Tuesday we were able to get cracking on with putting it into context and practicing lots of skills. On Monday Dave and I took the group river crossing on the upper parts of the Nantygwryd. Tuesday we went out and spent most of the day looking at rope work around the Ricks and Rack and came in to get prepared for expedition. Wednesday and Thursday we walked from Ogwen up and over Creigiau Gleision and camped by Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir and walked back to the centre on the final day. Weather was pretty bad all week but cleared up just as we got back to Plas y Brenin! Good effort to all the team who kept on smiling in the worst weather!
Mountain Leader Assesment
This week I have been working on a Mountain Leader Assesment. I was assesing the candidates on all aspect of the syllabus from navigation to ropework, campcraft to environmental knowledge. Day one we walked from Ogwen back to the centre giving the candidates the opportunity to demonstrate their navigation ability as well as demonstrating they have what it takes to become mountain leaders. Day two we headed into Llamberis Pass and covered some steep ground so the candidates could demonstrate how they would look after a group. Day 3,4 and 5 we went on expedition. We walked out from the the centre and camped near Pen-y-Pass, then over Llwedd and camped below the Watkin path. The group had nice weather for their assesment, only a small ammount of drizzle.
Mountain Leader Training
This week I have been working on a Mountain Leader Training, covering all aspects of the syllabus. Day 1 was the navigation day where we went up and around Crimpiau, looking at was of teaching navigation to groups. Throughout the week we have a big interaction with the environment so we made a good start on the flora and flora of the area. Day two we went into Cwm Idwal looking at leadership styles and group management on steep ground. As the weather was close to Armageddon, we decided not to summit the Glyders as it would have not enabled us to cover as much ground as we did and give the candidates lots of experience on the steeper ground. Day 3 was an introduction to rope work and some classroom lectures and exercises and we finished with doing some river crossing. Day 4 was security on steep ground day, again we went into Cwn Idwal and then back to prepare for expedition. Day 5 and 6 was the overnight expedition, it was mostly wet throughout the day but cleared up before we got to camp and didn't rain again until the next day. A great week with a fantastic group.