It was Wednesday blues today so Ivon and Giles were starting to get tired legs. None the less the were absolutely fantastic today and put everything they had into the day. The weather was wet, warm and windy but that didn't stop us. We blasted up to the base of the East ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn where we geared up for an attempt at the ridge. We had agreed if it got too windy we would bail. It turned out to be great sport. Snow cover wasn't great and where there was snow it was all soft and wet. The wind didn't affect us and even when we topped out it wasn't too bad. Ivon and Giles roped up and moved together on all of the ridge and pitched a couple of sections. They made great progress and are getting much slicker at handling hardware and ropes with big gloves on (practice makes perfect!). From the top the guys wanted to do more navigating so we headed to point 1044 then down the north ridge of Coire Buidhe before heading over to Bealach a' Bharnish and back out to the woods. There are alot of trees down in the wood but still a way through.
Today was Matt and Alex's final day out with myself, working for Abacus Mountaineering. With tired legs and a drive to the airport tonight, Aonach Mor was the suitable option. We jumped on the 1st gondola up and had a swift up-lift on the chair. We were the first to arrive at the top ski hut where we geared up as the vast numbers of climbers flowed in. A quick stomper down Easy Gully (I) saw us traversing the bottom of the crag to find our route of choice free for taking, Siamese Twin (IV,5). So after the guys built a belay I headed up the first pitch finding nice ice and good runners. Matt and Alex flew up too, both climbing really well, I could only just keep up with the belaying! The main pitch was brilliant too, good ice for axes and feet and ok for screws. Again Matt and Alex dispatched well! One final pitch saw us on the top for elevenses! Another stomper and traverse later we were building more belays on the bottom of White Shark (IV,4). This route was fantastic! Having never done it, it was hard to tell who was more excited to do it. On the approach the guys saw a climber swinging through the crux and they wanted to be there! So 3 pitches and some great steep climbing saw us at the top to see a rescue going on somewhere above the twins area. I hope everyone involved is ok. So over the last 3 days we climbed 810m of grade 3 and above ground, ticked off 12 stars, one Cold Climbs classic and climbed at 3 different venues. Not bad for some mild weather! Well done to Matt and Alex!
Today was the first day for Matt and Alex's 3 day climbing course, I was working for Abacus Mountaineering. With a wet and mild forecast on the west coast we decided to head a little further east to Creag Megaidh to avoid the dampness. It paid off, we were in the cloud all day but it never rained on us. Our plan was to head up Staghorn Gully (III). On the approach we passed some avalanche debris from the base of the gully however once we got into the gully the snow was wet but stable. It was nice and soft all the way up so we were able to move up most of the way un-roped. On arrival to South Post Direct (IV,4) we could see that the ice looked continuous and good enough to climb on! The guys were well psyched! They were happy to put the Cold Climbs classic off for another time and climb something a little steeper. The route was brilliant, a really cool cave half way up too! Mike was on the Pumpkin (V,4) which sounded very brilliant fun.
Pretty wet and mild up in Scotland today, freezing level was above the summits and the rain just kept on coming! Katy and I opted for a nice ridge where we could keep moving without any difficulties but kept some interest. I had wanted to do the East ridge of Beinn a' Chorainn after Al had mentioned it to me a while back. Good fun for a foul day like today. The snow pack was saturated all the way through to the ground, there were some signs of old ice around but everything was pretty mushy. A few small cornices were hanging over the eastern edges which were sagging and no doubt heavy with water, worth keeping away for those. On the Summit I sat back and relaxed in the white out as Katy took over and navigated us over to point 1044m, nicely avoiding the incut gully. From Point 1044, Katy led me north and then followed the NE ridge that descends to the Bealach a Bharnish. From here gentle slopes lead into Coire na h-Uamha where we were able to see where we were going again. Tomorrow looks colder so hopefully everything will firm up! Lots of trees down in the forest too!