Monday, 29 October 2012

Aonach Eagach.

After a week at Outward Bound last week working with a group from Webster's High School from Angus, which we had fantastic weather for I was on the Ben on Saturday working for Abacus Mountain Guides on a charity walk.
 
 
Dan and Dawn watching the cloud lift off the ridge.
 
Today I was out with Dan and Dawn who booked me for the Aonach Eagach but we had agreed to have a two day weather window to give us the best chance, yesterday was horrible but today was a stunning day. We made quick progress up to Meall Dearg and were greeted with the sight of the rest of the ridge just lifting out of the cloud.
 
 
Enjoying the pinnacles.

We carried on along the ridge with the occasional snow shower but the cloud just hung to the Southern slopes all day giving us great views North. A few other teams out but they were either in front or behind so it felt like we had the ridge to ourselves. The snow showers did put a bit of snow down but nothing worth the walk up yet but looks like things might be better by the end of the week.
 
 
Evening light on the Bidean Massif.

Friday, 19 October 2012

A damp couple of days over East.

I've been working with Mary in the Inverness area for the last two days on a rock improver course. Mary wanted a strong focus on movement and having done a lot of seconding on trad she wanted to start to look at how it all worked too. Today was supposed to be the nicer day so yesterday we based ourselves in the wall at Inverness Leisure centre and managed to cover loads of movement skills and gave Mary's arms a rest by looking at some rope work using the bolts.
 
Today didn't turn out to be the nice day they had forecast but we persevered at Pinnacle crag at Duntelchaig until about 2pm by which point we were pretty damp and cold but got a lot of the trad element covered. We ran away back to the wall at that point to give Mary a chance to re-enforce what we had covered yesterday. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Autumn cragging by Lochailort

Headed out West today with Jo and Kev to go and have a play on the slab out there as Jo wanted to get the E5 ticked and look at the E7 and Kev was interested in putting up another line. We started on the E5 and Jo went up first and made it look easy and then tried the E7. Me up next and I climbed the E5 clean, which is not what I thought was going to happen and thoughts of giving it a go on the lead started popping into my head.
 
 
Jo working the E5

Jo gave it another quick top rope and then went for the lead and again made it look easy. Nice one buddy. The route is protected by a sky-hook about a third of the way up and although no-one has tested it, the consensus is it won't hold a fall. This led me to play it safe and walk away but it's still nagging now though. We chucked a top-rope down a couple of other lines for Kev to have a look at and there was some nice climbing but they were both eliminates really so Kev left them.
 
 
On the 'easier' ground about to top out. You can see the very lonely piece of gear beneath him.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

All in a weekends work.

I've spent this weekend working on the Ben but with snow on the summit and reasonable weather it's been a great weekend. Saturday I was just on the Ben track working for Maximum Adventure on a three peaks challenge. It was a reasonable sized group and I think a few of them realised very quickly they might have bitten off more than they could chew but we got 14 out of the 18 to the summit.
 
 
The Ben at first light this morning.

Today I was working for West Coast mountain Guides with Chris, who has gotten a bit of a bug for hill walking but fancied a bit more of a challenge so we headed for Ledge route. A 6.30am start from the car park meant we made good time and were gearing up at about 8am, a quiet day on the North face but it all added to his experience. We hit snow just below the summit of Cairn Dearg but not enough to be of any trouble and then walked over to the summit of the Ben. The snow has frozen hard on the summit and down to about 1250m but is wet below that. The clouds started to clear as we made our way down the path and into what turned out to be a nice afternoon.
 
 
Chris getting stuck into Ledge route.
 
 
Descending off the plateau looking towards Loch Eil.
 
 
Have a quick look at our new Facebook page too. We'll keep it updated with photos and post our blog and news on conditions in the coming winter. Kirkhope Mountaineering

Thursday, 11 October 2012

More of the same.

 
Kate rescuing Jon.

Day 2 of the groups rescue days and we headed back into Glen Nevis to try and put some of yesterdays new skills into practise. It was forecast to be a miserable day but we didn't really see anything of the rain until about 3pm which made for a better day. The guys had obviously taken in some of the things we had covered yesterday as they flew through the hoists, so we built on that with some SPA scenario rescues and then put it all together to have a quick look at a much bigger problem before we headed home. They've got a month now to practise before an informal assessment and further training.
 
 
Working hard with an unassisted hoist

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Getting out of a fix!

I've been sunning myself in Glen Nevis today with a small group of five from the UHI. We did cover lots and some of the guys minds were definitely full by the end of the day. We spent the day covering some rescue techniques at the top of the crag that they had covered in the class room previously and then made our way to the bottom to look at escaping the system. Everyone did well and more of the same tomorrow.

 
No one looks too confused, thankfully!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Too nice a day to waste.

I've been away for the weekend visiting family and spending some time with the girlfriend and had a very relaxing weekend meaning I was feeling fresh today but had to drive back North this morning. Getting home at lunch I had a list of jobs that needed doing but it was just too nice a day, so important emails sent and I went out on the bike up towards the CIC hut which is becoming one of my favourite rides because the down hill is fantastic.
 
 
It's a long ride down.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A quick trip up the Ben

Just had a quick trip up the Ben this morning for Maximum Adventure with Rob and Steve. They are just up for the weekend and made very good time up the Ben, all finished for a late lunch, not a bad days work. There is some snow on the summit today and we had a snow shower pass over just before we got to the summit but all in all it is a beautiful day. The snow is settling but the freezing level was higher than was forecast and is about at summit height so it is thawing slowly. 
 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A very productive day in Glen Nevis.

Today was a chance for the first years to build on the skills we had covered a couple of weeks ago on our last crag day. So with lots of people ready to take their first go on the 'sharp end' we headed up to the Gutter so I get get two people leading at the same time to give everyone a chance. Al shot up first with his team of six and I followed with two leaders getting their first and second leads with me along side on a rope. They brought up their seconds and them lowered them to the ground and abseiled down on my fixed rope. Time for two more and we did the same again.
 
 
Busy on the Gutter.
 
Max was about with his group along with an Outward Bound group so after the gutter we headed down to Pinnacle Ridge for a bit of space so James could get a lead in whilst the others had a play around on something they could get their teeth into. A busy day with a lot of stuff covered and only possible due to the level of enthusiasm of the students and a hand from Mark, one of the students that is already an SPA.
 
 
Rich and Dan making the Gutter look a bit steeper than it really is.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Finding our way round the 'Old Woman'

A day out looking at navigation and other general hill skills with the 2nd years today. With a couple of the group feeling a bit rough with a flu that is going round we opted for a lower summit. We headed just North of Kinlochleven and made an ascent of Beinn na Caillich ( 'Hill of the old woman', I found out today) and descended the Northern slopes to meet the West Highland Way and a nice easy walk back to the van.  A nice DRY day after the weekends weather and the guys did well despite not feeling too hot and their skills are coming on.
 
 
Looking south to an atmospheric Aonach Eagach.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A wet weekend

Final Maximum Adventure 3 peaks challenge this weekend and it was a wet one. We got a good soaking on the Ben and Snowdon on Sunday morning but at least Scafell Pike was dry. So no more of those this season and things are starting to wind down for the Autumn, which means it's time to start looking forward to, and training for the early season mixed climbing and there are a few murmurs out there that we might not have to wait that long. Well fingers crossed. No photos as it was either hammering it down with rain or dark.