Archive for June, 2009

Perspiring on Skye

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The TD Gap, showing how, with care, it is possible to abseil out into Coir a Ghrunnda if the climbing difficulties prove too great. It is also possible to avoid the gap completely by traversing beneath it and ascending the south face of Sgurr Alasdair (Grade 3 scramble).

Descending from the third tower on Pinnacle Ridge. A thought-provoking location.

Scrambling on the WSW Flank of Sgurr nan Eag. A good, but shortish slabby section in the middle leads on to broken ground and a long rough approach to the summit.
The upper section tedium however was lightened by copious carpets of various flowers at around 600-700 metres.


Sea Campion

And carpets of Thyme amidst other colourful species.

If you are looking to avoid ascending Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn enroute to Sgurr Dubh Mor, follow the red line from the foot of Caisteal a Garbh choire. The lower peak can be climbed on returning to the ridge. The route is not completely obvious and not recommended in murky weather.

Climbing on Caisteal a Garbh choire by the South Ridge and West Face. This is by far the roughest and most adhesive rock anywhere in the British Isles. Peridotite knocks southern gritstone into a cocked hat!

For anyone looking to slake their thirst around Coire a Ghrunnda, check out the red dot on this photo. This mossy spring has never dried up to my knowledge and provides the most refreshingly chilled water anywhere high on the ridge. It is only a short descent off of the ridge and for parties considering avoiding the TD Gap it is on the way to a much easier alternative on the south face of Alasdair.

The spring mentioned above.

Blaven from Pinnacle Ridge two days back.

Climbers on Vulcan Wall area (Spock E3/2 – 5c)

Just before the sun hit the face. In the late afternoon or evening this area gets the full blast of the setting sun.

Two evening shots of the Black Cuillin taken from the road to Struan. Must be nice in Birmingham at this time of the year:)

Dream of White Horses

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Hi Alan
Went over to Angelsey on Friday and done which MUST be one of the best routes in the UK being A Dream of White Horses.
we had minimal wind and bright sun all afternoon and the route and crag ! to ourselves whilst most of north wales appeared wet and windy so its always worthy of a look ! The route will live long in the memory :O)
Jason Wood esquire (climbed with Martin Race and Fraser Campbell)
Thanks Jason. Good pictures of one of the countries best rock climbs. Well done, the three of you.

Raven’s Edge

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Alan, Did Raven’s Edge on Saturday; an excellent mountain route. We found the attached piece of gear en route; what seems to be a (broken!) aluminium peg stamped Peck, and the rusty remains of a genuine nut, both on a piece of old hawser-laid hemp. Wonder when that dates from, and what epic tale it has to tell.

Thanks Duncan. Peck were a make of pitons.

Success and Failure on Skye

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

A couple of weeks back I had a number of groups out on the Black Cuillin Traverse attempt. Out of four groups only one team made it and all in the same period. None of the groups experienced a two day dry slot thoughout the week, even though the timetables were flexible.

Any number of reasons were the cause of disappointment. From a lack of fitness to slow technique on exposed rock or more likely on wet slippery rock. The one team that did succeed was on a one to one basis, very fit and very dogged in pursuit of success. Even in good weather some teams fail due to a lack of fitness and understanding of what is involved.

However, as is clear from these photos and short report from one client it is possible in less than perfect conditions, even though the serious nature of the ridge is increased considerably on wet rock.

On the first day a clear view into Loch Coruisk.

On the second day on Collies Ledge. Very slippery and exposed. A rope is being used for protection.

An evening view from the bivouac.

Hi Alan
Thanks again for sorting my traverse out. Spike has a saying about climbers having a smile like somebody who has found a cookie jar at a party. I am still smiling!
Here are a few shots from our trip, other than the ledge they are from the 1st day, 2nd day was not a good day for taking pics!
The traverse has been a long held ambition for me, I had two fantastic days on the ridge with Spike despite the weather, something to tell the grand kids about!
All the best


and also

Hi Alan,
Just wanted to say thanks for organising my traverse, it was one of the best experiences of my life – I’m still grinning about it now!
Please pass on a huge thank you to Spike, his guiding was excellent and he was good company.
We got lucky with the weather for the northern half of ridge – the dry gabbro was awesome, I wasn’t so keen on the wet basalt on the second day though! I still don’t know how Spike swum up the T-D gap.
I will send some pics when I get them sorted out if that is ok.

Thanks again

Carnmore and Flowers

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Alan, Just finishing a fantastic two weeks in Skye, Carnmore, Glencoe and Glen Nevis. Belay on Gob attached. It is that time of year again; wonder if anyone might know what this flower is? Found both at Carnmore and on the Buachaille Etive Beag… I thought that it was Mountain Avens, but the colour and leaves are wrong. Duncan
Thanks Duncan. Report and good pictures appreciated as usual. AK

Sun Rain and Hail

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Today was mostly good sunny weather, if a little cold. Some beefy showers towards the end of the afternoon produced hail and most certainly some snow on the higher summits.

We climbed on the East Face of Aonach Dubh in Glen Coe.

Plenty of good holds, solid rock and high exposure on the top pitch of Quiver Rib.

Probably the steepest route graded Difficult in Scotland. It certainly deserves its top billing of four stars.

A great spot to learn to lead climb on good rock with plenty of protection and less than an hour from the road.

Ardverikie Wall

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

The classic shot, taken on the final pitch of Ardverikie Wall. As usual we rented bikes in Fort William and cycled in. This method of approach saves a lot of time and effort.

The lower (2nd) pitch which offers sparse protection, but superb balance climbing on small knobbly holds.


Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Hi Alan We are just back from a superb couple of weeks in the USA camping in Yosemite NP and then moving on to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. I realise that the blog is aimed mainly at Scottish happenings, but thought a couple of pics might encourage others to make the long journey over to California. The weather was excellent and the waterfalls just fantastic at this time of year. We hiked up Half Dome a really good and strenuous day hike, and managed a couple of hikes into the Alpine high country from Tioga Pass and Mineral Kings too. Oh, and we saw quite a few bears too! Anyway, in case it is of interest, please find attached a few pics. Best wishes Roy
Thanks Roy. A good selection of photos and pleased to hear you enjoyed the visit.

Glorious Glen Nevis

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

A really great day climbing in Glen Nevis today. A strong breeze and plenty of sun kept the wee beastie midges grounded all day. Also the great work carried out, cutting down trees that overshadow the crags has improved the climbing immeasurably.

The cliff above is Styx Buttress. This area until recently was plagued by overhanging trees, which not only harboured the mighty midge, but also cloaked the crags in autumn leaves, which in turn encouraged moss and lichen to infest the rocks.

Well done to Scottish Natural Heritage, working in harmony with local climbers and land owners and the Nevis Partnership.

Climbers on Pine Wall and the Gutter. Two very good routes.

The Birch Trees in this area (The Alp) are due some strong pruning shortly.

Fixed abseil gear is reducing the damage to some of the large Scots Pine in the area.

Dry Rock on Nevis

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Hi Alan, I’m up at the CIC this week with Patricia from Ireland. Did Centurion yesterday and think you might have seen us on the Minus Face today- Minus 1 Direct. Good and dry apart from a damp bit on pitch 2. Cheers Kenny

Thanks to Kenny Grant for this information.