Thursday, 28 May 2020

Covid-19 TEAM ASCENT LTD-Update about our mountain guiding service

An update from Sandy Allan BMG/IFMGA guide trading as Team Ascent Ltd: 

In the last few days the French government introduced a 2 week quarantine period for all UK arrivals into the country. This now matches the UK's position, naturally causing complications with our Alpine trips based from Chamoix, France. Although Spain and Greece are lowering their quarantine time as I write this update the Austrian mountains are opening up. Chamonix cable cars and mountain railways are opening at weekends. So its safe to say that in general the situation is quite fluid and our freedom to travel and mountaineer may return soon. We may not be able to take larger groups but as you will already know we tend to run private courses with low guide to client ratios and assuming the "R number" remains low we can assume that we will be able to enjoy our Scottish outdoor environment soon enough.

I remain optimistic that these measures while necessary and sensible right now could well change at quite short notice and we will have freedom to travel. England is opening up and Scotland seems to be only a few days behind.

While we know our mountains aren't going anywhere, it's disappointing to put dreams, challenges and adventures on hold for the time being and I fully appreciate the inconvenience and disappointment this may cause but its important we all stay safe and behave responsibly.
I will be guiding in Scotland, UK as soon as we can and we will be offering summer hill walking, general mountaineering, rock climbing including transferring skills for gyms and bolt climbing to traditional climbing. We will also  run our normal skills courses such as navigation, rope work, and so on. Please phone or email Sandy if you wish further information: mobile 07760320069
Thanks for reading and we hope we can continue our outdoor activities soon. 
28 May 2020.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Alpine Club cast of the Mazino Ride of Nanga Parbat

My climbing friends Rick Allan and Cathy O'Dowd spoke about our first ascent of The Mazino ridge of Nanga Parbat last week via a zoom meeting to the Alpine Club. Unfortunately I could not make it as due to the Covid-19 lock down I am assisting a local farmer with his lambing and other farm work an I was out in the fields lambing sheep as the talk took place. One could easily assume that there is no connection to our friends in the the high mountain areas of Pakistan to a remote farm near my home village of Newtonmore, Scotland where fine quality mutton/lamb and beef products are born and raised. We use Himalayan Salt (from Pakistan) as mineral for our cattle and sheep.
The photos below illustrate this. Also you can find a link to the AC Cast - Mazino Ridge, Nanga Parbat presentation:

There is link to my book, In Some Lost Place- the first ascent of the Mazino Ridge here at my publishers. If you wish to book me for  lecture or buy one of the few remaining hard back copies, signed copy one can contact me at:

Salt Lick for the cattle, are the way from Pakistan

Galloway cows survive outside through out the winter.

Back Face rams.

General view around Laggan, by Newtonmore.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Our guiding in our Scottish hills and Covid-19

Team Ascent Mountain Guides and Covid-19

In these challenging times and while the Scottish Mountains are still open, we encourage everyone to be thoughtful to others and take responsibility for protecting other people. We are still offering our range of outdoor activities which include hillwalking, climbing, mountaineering, ski mountaineering, avalanche awareness and general skills coaching such as rock climbing, rope work, hauling systems for crevasse rescue, mountain navigation and our private guiding. We are sorry to announce that we can only accept one or two clients per mountain guide/leader and can no longer accept larger groups.

We wish to enable enjoyment of the winter mountains with knowledge and safety and aid decision making in relation to appropriate routes for those planning to visit Scotland's hills and mountains. During the current situation with Covid-19 we would encourage all those going outdoors to be mindful of unintended consequences of their actions and the potential impact on medical and rescue personnel. Consider your objectives carefully in relation to current conditions and be safe and responsible!  Please bear in mind that while we may think that we are invincible there are no guarantees that we can avoid mild symptoms and we can still pass the virus on to others.

For further information regarding Covid-19 please follow the information provided by Mountaineering Scotland the British Mountaineering Council and the UK Government in respect of understanding your health and potential impact on others.
Sandy Allan at Team Ascent Ltd.

Sunday, 23 February 2020

North West Scotland - winter climbing conditions update

A yellow warning day from the met office but we did get the occasional bright period yesterday morning. But it was wild on the hill with strong gale force Westerly winds blowing me off my feet at times. Climbing conditions seem to be improving  bit with some ice forming, although the buttresses keep being stripped of snow in our erratic melt freeze weather conditions... but cracks are beginning to fill up with neve and ice... so there are places where climbing could be quite acceptable. If only the strong winds would let one near it.
Above photo is of Beinn Bhan.
High on Liatach, its looking quite good, but it will be very windy up there.

Slioch, looking more wintry now.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Chamonix off-Piste

Some heavenly conditions here in Chamonix!
woop wopp

Hannah in black and Cara foreground

 Cara- a few runs in and it was soon shredded

Reticent Hannah, go for it Cara

Cara enjoying the sun.

Monday, 3 February 2020

A winters climb with Ewan.

We were lucky with the weather yesterday and my friend Ewan has been climbing for 60 years. Ewan was brought up in Fort William and started climbing when he was ten years of age- lets hope we can all  continue to move so well, maintain our enthusiasm and enjoy climbing.

Not the best of weather but it is Scotland.

This season many of our climbs are rather thin and a bit bare of snow, but higher in the gullies conditions are fine.

Classic Ewan - a few tangles with his ice axe leashes but a fine topping out photo!

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Torridon days

The snow is back but the winds are strong.
Liathach today

Coire an Laoigh , Beinn Eighe

A fine view of Sgurr nan Fhir Duibe and Creag Dhubh, Beinn Eighe