More Skills More Beautiful Weather

Out with Lochaber college again today with Gillian. We headed into SCNL, briefly went over ice axe arrests but the main focus of the day was snow anchors and enjoying the weather, which was done.

It was a busy day in SCNL today with loads of groups crammed onto dorsal arete and in Broad GullyThe group walking off Lee Abseiling South African style


Day off

After having a completely packed schedule for the past few weeks it was good to go out and relax for an afternoon. So I stole Guy's boots and Craig's snowboard and then ripped it up on the baby slopes. The weather and conditions were perfect again.


Mor Beautiful Weather

I was out again with Lochaber College doing more Winter Skills with a different group of the first year students on Aonach Mor, shadowing Gillian. We covered a wide range of techniques for moving in winter and looked at avalanche awareness.

These pictures were taken in Scotland. Honest

It doesn't take a genius to figure that the conditions are amazing just now. So hurry up and get on those hills before its too late.


Winter Skills on Aonoch Mor

Today I was out with Lochaber College shadowing Bill Strachan (Scotch on the Rocks Guiding). The weather and skiing conditions were absolutely brilliant, however we weren't skiing today. We were looking at avalanche awareness, ice axe arresting and moving with crampons.

Bill describing avalanches, using hands.

Moving on steep ground.
"Just come over here guys its not dangerous"

Everyone and myself included learned a lot from the day and had a great time with Bill. Looking forward to tomorrow because I will be doing it all over again.


CIC cascade

Dan and I headed up to the Ben again today. We planned to do the South West Ridge of of Douglas Boulder. However a team was on the route before us so we headed back to the CIC Cascade and played around on that. Dan also led his first his first winter route.
On approach to the route we could see two teams on point 5 and one on orions direct. Lot of other on Ledge route.

Crisp morning walk in
Dan on his first winter lead

Me soloing the cascade


Point 5 Gully

After a long day on Tower Ridge yesterday and the fact I was working at 6 today meant I wasn't up for a big day. However I was tempted by the prospect of doing another classic route. So Craig and I headed up the Ben again. As Point 5 gully is one of the most famous climbs in the British Isles, not much more can be said about it.
What I can say is that the conditions were absolutely brilliant, the ice was like toffee and we were one of only two teams on the route that day.

Me climbing

Craig enjoying the spindrift

Me underneath 'the rogue pitch'

Craig on his second outdoor lead in winter

Climbers Approaching Tower Gap

After topping out we had to leg it back to the car so I could be back in time for work.


Tower Ridge

Today Dan, Craig and I decided to do Tower Ridge. This is another route I have been desperate to do and again it lived up to all expectations. The ridge offers fine mountaineering with exposed and interesting situations.
The most interesting and infamous section is the Tower Gap, which can only be described as 'oh ya B*****D', when its first viewed from above. Pictures of the gap do not do it justice you really need to have your legs spread as far as possible across the Gap with nothing beneath you but air.
Approaching the Gap
The Eastern Traverse

Climbing out of the Traverse

Little Tower
The Ben was busy as always in these conditions with lots of route being done all over the North Face.


North Buttress in the Winter

Me on the last pitch N.Buttress(IV,4)

Craig casting a shadow
Walking off
This has been on my 'to do' list for a long time. I was really glad that I managed to tick it off today. The weather was absolutely stunning and the route was worth the wait. The first three pitches are really pleasant everything is where you need it. The last pitch offers some interestingly fun moves, good times all round.


No climbing partners

I couldn't convince any of the guys to make use of the winter. So we all went kayaking down the Roy and the Spean which is quickly becoming our local river.
It wasn't a day for lots of swimming because the water temperature was pretty low. Chris however ignored this because prefers swimming more than paddling. Only kidding Chris but there wasn't much point in you bringing a boat, I will get you some arm bands for next time.

As always a good time was had but I'm really itching to go and tick some more winter routes now.


Organ Pipe Wall

Dave, Dan and myself headed back to Ben Udlaigh today. We all had a great time on Organ Pipe Wall (V,5) which was in great condition. The weather wasn't too bad either, my first day this season without getting hot aches.

Approaching the route
Organ Pipe Wall

Dave Leading the main section about to approach the crux.