Posts tagged Mamores
Strength and conditioning in the mountains

Alan wrapped up warm on a very cold day

Unfortunately no scientific research has gone on here, just the classic 'the best way to train for the mountains is to go to the mountains'.  That's the approach I take and also the approach Alan takes and at seems to be working ok. 

So we have had a good couple of days.  The aim is to get a bit of practice and fitness in for an upcoming Cuillin Ridge traverse attempt.  Possibly a 'one dayer' but with recent illness Alan has lost a wee bit of stamina.  Still a few weeks to go so we shall see.

Best way to tackle this in the winds we were experiencing

Balancy climbing on Crowberry Ridge

A welcome ledge in prep for some airy climbing

So we headed up North Buttress on Stob Ban (Grade III) for a bit of shelter from the very cold wind.  With fresh snow on the tops it was a bit of a 'hoods up and go'.  Wind was howling over the tops and as it was Alan first day out for a while, and not wanting to over do it, we headed down the North ridge.


After the weekend we teamed up again and the sun was shining and the breeze was light.  We basked in the sun on Crowberry Ridge, surmounted the Tower and during our lunch break we opted for a descent of Curved Ridge to get used to scrambling down again.  Alan certainly is capable of a moving well over the Cuillin Ridge so looking forward to making an attempt with him.

Great exposure on a brilliant route

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
Today I was back out working for Plas y Brenin and today we had a slightly more static day and hit some skills.  A combination of sliding, digging and more digging.  And some more sliding!  A very fun day but felt quite slushy for most of the day.  We didn't get above 700m.  Other teams said North Buttress was amazing as well as the ridges above 700m.  One more day tomorrow in Glencoe then off to Skye for a couple of days mountaineering.
Ring of Steall

Next week I am out with John for a 5 day climbing course and he wanted to use today to blow away the cobwebs and have a good journey through the mountains, going over some summits he hasn't been over.  We agreed the Ring of Steall in the Mamores would be good option as its a big day, covers some interesting terrain and John gets a good view of Kinlochleven which is where lots of his family live.  There wasn't great snow cover along the route, we never put crampons on however we uncounted some verglass which nearly saw us both on our backsides several times!  We also managed to find a great slope for a fast and uncontrolled bum slide which had a perfect run out.  Quite in the Mamores today, we only saw one other team and unfortunately the cloud kept coming in to obscure our views.
North East Ridge Stob Ban

For today we were looking for a good grade 3 ridge leading to a summit. The weather forecast wasn't as good as yesterday but low winds and moderate avalanche forecasts gave us a few different options. After a recommendation from a friend we decided for the North East Ridge of Stob Ban. On leaving the Glen Nevis car park it was snowing heavily and this continued for most of the morning. The route began by crossing a snow slope into a NE facing gully. Whilst I was ascending I triggered a small slab avalanche but managed to move over to a rocky area quickly. At the belay we witnessed the leader of the team behind us set off a further slab avalanche on the higher section of the gully. We continued up the fantastic, alpine style ridge mostly pitching due to the massive amounts of soft snow. The route contained adequate protection and opportunities for consistent belays. The visibility cleared slightly at the top giving fantastic views over the Mamores and Glen Nevis.