Archive for January, 2010

New Snow

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Plenty of action in the ditch on the forestry track today, with various vehicles and drivers not able to handle the new snow late in the day. Snow chains needed for those fortunate few with a key to the gate! Stringfellow was climbed today. Reports suggest that the high ice is not forming well and Psychedelic Wall is not in good shape.

Tania Noakes climbed Sunday on Pas de deux and just back from great climbing up in the Lost Valley on Moonlighting. Teams were on Directasaur, and Neanderthal, which just goes to prove that lower turfy routes might just be better bets.

West Chimney yesterday, which is still is amazing nick according to Chris Walker.


Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Pointblank received a rare (2nd?) ascent yesterday by Owen Samuel and Iain Small. Well done guys.

Point Five Gully

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

I climbed Point Five Gully today with Erik and his guide Ian
The middle pitch was very wet and had some mighty big holes through to the rocky waterfall underneath! To be in good shape the gully needs another freeze, but that may not be too far away. The first pitch was good and the last hard pitch was okay as well. Above all major difficulties the climbing was very enjoyable and the cornice not too much bother.

Erik exiting the hard third pitch.

Erik in the neck of the second (Chimney) pitch above some big wet holes in the ice.

Erik on the first pitch.

Ian on the first pitch.

Ian starting up the second (Chimney) pitch before experiencing some fairly ‘full Scottish’ conditions and a distinct lack of good protection.

Creag Meagaidh

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Thanks to Doug Spalding for these pictures taken in Coire Ardair recently. We have a good freeze thaw cycle running through at the moment and plenty of Arctic air descending across Scotland from this afternoon onwards. There is still plenty of good ice all over the place and the higher routes should be in good shape. Hopefully I’m off up to Point Five Gully tomorrow and will report back on conditions from Ben Nevis tomorrow evening.

Also check out Paul Cunningham Thanks Paul

Soggy in the ‘Gorms’

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

We are having a rest day today after walking into the northern corries early this morning and being rained on with very soggy snow underfoot…Meagaidh was ace yesterday, we did the Pumpkin with stella views bomber ice and no cornice… teams on Last Post and Centre Post and some other team decided to follow us up the Pumpkin as well.

Thanks Tania. Check out some of Tania’s adventures here

Staghorn Gully

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Hi Alan,
We had a fun day on Staghorn Gully on Saturday. The North Pipe gave a couple of good pitches however us pensioners just can’t hang on to gear anymore. My Cassin ‘bronze museum piece’ of a drive-in was dropped from the top of the steep pitch on the pipe and the shiny ice screw staring in the picture below also went AWOL. I’m surprise we managed not to lose ourselves. A small reward will be offered if anyone finds either piece!!
All the best from the old folks home.

and later

Thought I’d drop you a quick note of thanks for demonstrating the benefits of Cyberworld in helping to get lost gear back to its forlorn owner. You’ll remember my buddy and I lost a drive in on Staghorn a couple of weeks back.
The lovely lady below us on the route did a grand job and I received my ‘cassin museum piece’ through the post yesterday. Hope to use it on Meagaidh again this weekend!!
Thanks again

Mountain Festival Fort William

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Mountain Festival Fort William

Fort William Mountain Festival
11th to 15th February 2010
Andy Kirkpatrick hosts the Extreme Night.
Paul Diffley from Hot Aches screening Single Handed plus The Asgard Project on the Adventure Night.
Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner celebrate Jimmy Marshall and Robin Smith’s incredible first ascents on Ben Nevis 50 years on with Jimmy Marshall himself.
Best of Banff World Tour.

Are Dave and Andy going to cut steps up Orion Face Direct? Has it ever had a second ascent cutting steps?

Rjukan buried in snow

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Just spent an extremely enjoyable weekend working away in Norway. Rjukan has a lot of snow, which means that travel to multi-pitch routes or between pitches on the easier grade WI/II climbs can be DEEP! However the shorter routes close to the road in the Gorge Sector are very approachable and have good ice. In places it is ‘bullet-proof’ so good sharp tools are required, but other routes are a touch softer and much less hard work. We climbed:

  • Tungtvann with an abseil in from the top with both the final L-Hand finish (WI.4) and R-Hand finish (WI.3)
  • Camillas Foss (WI.3)
  • Pentium (WI.3)
  • Swiss Army with a simple (WI.2) finish on the L-Hand slab and a WI.3/4 start
  • Lillebror (WI.3)
  • Knerten (WI.3)
  • LP-plata (WI.3)
  • Hjemreisen (WI.4)
  • Kursruta (WI.3)
  • Grade WI.2 slab opposite Hjemreisen back to the road!
We noticed headtorches on a couple of the longer routes ;-)

Taxus Direct

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Hello Alan

Back on the hills yesterday on a very wild day up on Beinn an Dothaidh above Achallader. We were actually nuts going up on such a day but persisted and managed to climb Taxus Direct which was quite thin with plenty of spindrift pouring down over us. Hard going and we had another night time descent. Not fun in poor conditions. Need to get up earlier. A couple of pictures attached. The final pitch was pretty thin, especially the exit under the chockstone.


Thanks Eddie,
You are really ‘Old-school’, the pair of you. I remember Davie & Co in the 70′s going up Nevis in almost any conditions, just in case the weather changed or something took their fancy. Persistent buggers! Good to see the pair of you using shoulder belays and Dachstein Mitts last week in Glen Coe – memories :-)

Good Conditions

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

West Chimney today on Bidean nam Bian in about grade III ‘nick’. A great route and in really good condition. Thanks to Cio and Tamsin for this report. Also the ice bulges beneath Central Gully on Stob Coire nam Beith are giving good sport over two pitches before abseil descent according to Chris Walker. Very windy on Ben Nevis today. Conditions are certainly getting good after the thaw. A few freeze/thaw cycles are on the way, so it should remain good for some time hopefully. Curved Ridge was also in good shape today.

Hi Alan, Yes a good route (Chimney Route) although I suspect that Cio might have been a bit harsh with the grade, definitely easier but maybe IV,4!

Did Raeburn’s Buttress today on the Ben. Not on ideal condition as there wasn’t much ice where you pull out of the cave, probably tech 6 rather than IV,5.