Archive for March, 2012

Rock climbing on Garbh Bheinn

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Thanks to Spike Sellers for these photos showing a very dry and quiet place to spend a day rock climbing. Spike was climbing with Richard Bentley (nice new website). The rock on Garbh Bheinn is south facing, dries very quickly and is very solid Gneiss. The area suits all abilities with simple scrambles and graded climbs to steep and more technical. The peak is just 898m  and the approach around two hours to the base of the climbs. Anyone fancy a trip?

North East Buttress

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Thanks to Dave Barker, who was guiding Reg and John on North East Buttress today. The weather was  very good and they did not require crampons at all. They did carry an axe in case of any snow.

Great weather and a little ice

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

This report from Spike Sellers today. ….”Shot in the Foot is getting some more traffic today. It’s certainly warm enough for rock boots though a little breezier. I wasn’t expecting a second morning like this though. Good short ice routes up high might stay in”…

Support a Glenfinnan start to the Cape Wrath Trail

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Ben Nevis from Glenfinnan today

Spent today talking to various folk out at Glenfinnan about the idea to miss out large parts of the southern section of the Cape Wrath Trail. This is a view from the front lawn of the Glenfinnan House Hotel. Check out Scottish National Trail for more information. The idea is to follow the Great Glen Way towards Inverness before heading out west to link up with the Cape Wrath Trail, thus missing what is the traditional start point near Fort William. Daft or what? Some other business that would suffer are The Prince’s House Hotel and Glenfinnan Sidings


Superb spring time weather

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Today on Ben Nevis the weather is fantastic. The ice climbing conditions are limited, but the big ridges will be superb, with some snow in places. This weather looks set to continue, so a mixture of mountaineering and rock climbing would be very rewarding. The ice at the top of Observatory Gully is limited but for folk looking to climb simple gullies and spend time in the dry sunshine, pack your bags and head north and west! Thanks to Spike Sellers for the photos. Spike  is up at the hut this week with Tom Parkin, enjoying some late winter explorations.

Further messages from THE mountain! Spike says that Smith’s – Shot in the Back – Good Friday – Tower Scoop – Central Gullies in Coire na Ciste are still complete this morning. It is a very warm and sunny day but an early start if overnight frosts arise, might pay dividends. For anyone considering walking up the Mountain Track on Ben Nevis, it is nearly clear of snow and will not require ice axe or crampons. Just stay away from the snowy edges (cornices)! The CMD Arete is pretty free of snow.

Cape Wrath Trail going the wrong way

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Anyone interested in the Cape Wrath Trail might wish to make comment to the Scottish Executive concerning an idea to re-route a large part of it via the Great Glen Way. I believe the minister in question is Fergus Ewing MSP (Energy, Enterprise and Tourism) If the line of this iconic trail is changed, it will miss out huge chunks of wonderful countryside and introduce a good deal of road walking. A significant loss for the fragile economies of Glenfinnan, Knoydart and Glen Shiel would also result.  Personally I feel the  idea is just daft. By all means have a Scottish national trail but not at the expense of an existing route.

Path upgrade to Steall Falls

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Help the John Muir Trust raise £25,000 for urgent repairs to the Steall Gorge path. Visit today to vote on a poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association.

Firstly, please vote for our project, which will give a big boost to the funds needed for the Steall path. Secondly and possibly more importantly, please tell your networks about this poll and how they can support us in the vote.

There’s a link on the front page of the JMT website (above), or you can send people direct to – which takes you down to the Glen Nevis path project

Cold and Frosty

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Today started cold and frosty and very clear. As the day progressed some cloud came in, but still a good day. Climbing conditions high on Nevis are still worth consideration with teams out on Tower Ridge, Gardyloo Gully. Observatory Ridge, Ledge Route, Good Friday Climb and Number Two Gully Buttress to my knowledge.

Last Knockins?

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Just to add a global feel to the blog and show off some good ice for a change, this short report from a good friend Rob (Bruce) Davies:

Hi Guys

I’m earning my keep up here as we’ve had to strip down the front axle already on our brand new Sno-cat, and have had numerous other problems that were not helped by the -45C we had for our first trip out onto the ice cap. Back on base at the moment but should be heading out again soon. I also had problems with my new fat bike, the free wheel freezing up causing it to slip all the time. I’ve now got the grease cleaned out and replaced with a drop of arctic grade engine oil, it seems to work fine. I’ve been riding mostly on the sea ice but have a bike rack sorted for the sno-cat ready to talk it up onto the icecap. The mug shot is after a 12km ride at -30C, mitts and chemical hand warmers keep the hands warm and peddling hard seems to work for the rest of me. It beats going to the gym!



For those of you more interested in Scottish winter. It’s still kicking, at least high on Nevis. Reports today say that good ice climbing is still available high in Creag Coire na Ciste and at the head of Observatory Gully. Tonight it’s cold and starry outside and tomorrow sounds good too. The photo from Barra is courtesy of Yasuyoshi Sakai and he may just come back over to climb Smith’s Route this week. Tom Parkin provided the shots of Ben Nevis today.

Found Kit

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


Found yesterday (12th March ) on the path down from point 1141 on Fiacall of Coire Cas  a new quick release axe sling.

Please contact me with the make and I will return to rightful owner

Geoff Ashton     E mail: