Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Meanwhile in Arolla!

The ice has been nice!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Stunning in the hills

Wherever you ventured in the Highlands today the views would have been amazing unless you were unfortunate enough to be underneath this sea of cloud, very pretty from above though!.
A few walkers, climbers and ski tourers were making the most of the nice day. Below is looking over towards Loch Etchachan and South Cairngorm.
Coire an t-Sneachda baring it 's boiler plate conditions.

Etchachan and the Shelter Stone looking majestic.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing day!

It's been cold, clear and a fine enough day in the Cairngorms, the snow is frozen solid and the lower grade gullies give the most fantastic cramponing! A great day for a nice stroll and retreat back to the Christmas tree! Boxing day, why it is called that? No one seems to be certain about it at all. Historically it was England's name for St Stephen's day... he got stoned to death in Jerusalem in AD 34-35! We prefer a quick but lazy climb in the hills and sipping Port on such a day!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Cairngorm Reindeer taking a break!

Wondering what to do with ourselves after a busy night! Phew

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas to all

Happy Chritmas to all, from us all at Team Ascent! This is Shelter Stone crag, Cairngorms today!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Thaw at all levels

Some snow remains in the Cairngorms after yesterdays rain, a slight freeze last night helped to stabilised the snowpack. The main gully lines are complete in the Northern Corries but as you can see in the photo below the buttresses are now mainly black, although some ice remains in places. The outlook is for it to stay mild for a few days as a high pressure sets in, happy days!

Above is looking across the plateau towards Loch Etchachan.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

A wild but nice Cairngorm Day!

After the hill having had to be closed yesterday as the wind was strong enough to blow the parked cars along the parking lot! Things are much better today, it's still freezing cold with strong winds, crusty sking and some blown snow laying in sheltered areas. There were many people sking and mountainering. Snow wise, a brief rise in temperatures last night caused some avalanche activity with quite a bit of debris seen in the corries this morning. The rise in temperature was brief and now all is frozen and relatively stable. North facing aspects are ace and I dare say corrie rims and gully exits in a south easterly aspect could be full of unstable snow. The Snowpack contains lots of groupel, so it's going to remain interesting .... Life eh, it's like that!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Chamonix: Ice and snow update!

News from Sandy who is guiding in Chamonix. The skiing is ace and the ice in Cogne outstanding!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Guides report from Arolla - Ice fantastic

The first really good ice is now formed near Arolla, Swirtzerland which can be easily reached from Chamonix. Also, Here are some photos of Fenetre and other climbs around La Goulle .
Sharpen your ice picks and get those Easy Jet flights booked. Contact Sandy direct for private guides and courses. Email: info@teamascent.co.uk

Snowfall in the Lakes.

At higher altitudes several inches of snow fell on Wednesday evening, this is lying on top of hard frozen ground. Conditions are looking good after the thaw freeze cycle and it's a good forecast for the weekend. Forget the Christmas shopping...Head for the hills!

Aller Ski de fond Lake District.

Snow and ice over the fells.

Dave and Einach enjoy the views.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Perfect walking weather

Light winds, sun and snow in the Lakeland hills made for a perfect day out. Here Stephen cooks lunch for Claire on Steel Edge, Weatherlam. Bacon Butties I believe!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cairngorm winter climbing

Today it's been snowy all day and even all though the forecast said it was due to be warmer, it's been quite cold in the Corrie and by mid afternoon there were large flakes of snow falling. The winds are strong and climbing conditions have improved a lot since yesterday with well frozen turf and placements in cracks improving all the time.

The middle photo shows "Mess of Pottage" at around 10 ish this morning, the top photo is Richard climbing on the start pitch of "Fingers Ridge" and the lower (last photo) is Richard back at the Rescue box which is situated in the floor of the Corrie. You can see that visibility has deteriorated during the day and there is a good quantity of new fresh snow!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Rope Access and Winter climbing and absent from Kendal Mounatin FIlm Festival!

It's been a cool couple of days with snow returning to the NE of Scotland, which made it awkward for me to travel to Talon NDT in Aberdeen to carry out an Industrial Rope Access assessment on Friday. All candidates passed and performed to a high standard.
Today in Cairngorm the visibility was not great and the high winds made for a high chill factor and fingers and exposed skin were chilly all day. Ice is beginning to form, but climbing is scratchy and apart from torquing and jammed picks, conventional ice tool placments are not great. Turf is freezing higher up and routes such as Fingers ridge and the Seam were climbed. The approach through the boulders is hard work as the snow has not consolidated much. Between hill walkers and climbers there were quite a few active people on the hill today so a good trail was established by nightfall! There is quite a bit of wind crust and small areas of wind slab. Sunday is looking good and the Cairngorm Mountain snow plough drivers were activley keeping the access road open. By tomorrow night it may warm up a bit, so enjoy the weekend! The Brewery bar will be deep with climbers as I write my blog and they will be swallowing delightful beverages between the amazing films and lectures being held at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Enjoy the weekend wherever you are!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Mountian Bike Ride - Loch Ericht

It has to be said that we have had the most amazing day today. The weather has been free from rain , a cold wind, but it's November so what the hec....Where else can one go in the whole wide world and escape just about everything!!!!!
I cannot tell you more, suffice to say, "Scotland is amazing!!!!"

Monday, 17 November 2008

Hill walking - Boar of Badenoch

739m is the height of the Boar of Badenoch ( An Tor) is its local name and is situated just west of the A9 at the summit of Drumochter. The peak is surrounded by interesting Munro's and is also home to herds of Red deer. In the first photo you can see the scars of the A9 and along side this the line electricity pylons marching through the glen. Currently there is a contraversal planning proposal to build a line of much larger pylons along this route to carry new power lines from the renewable wind power generated energy which are planned for the north of Scotland. It's obvious to the majority of local people that the new larger pylons would be a major intrusion into this wonderful landscape. The planning application has gone to enquiry and we still await it's findings and recommendations. Many feel the new power lines should be underground or take a sea route... all of which are at this stage more costly options, but then again, in the longer term, they are planning more and more wind and wave power generation for the north of Scotland and to get the power to our neighbours in England, the power has to be transported from the North to the South, so none of us, even those down south who really on our environmentally reliable power want to blot the highland landscape just so that they can have a TV in every room of their houses.. so lets hope that betters sence and long term thinking take priority over a cheap commercial quick fix! Meanwhile us locals simply have to wait an see!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Assessmnet of IRATA technicians

I have been in Aberdeen assessing trainee rope access technicians today. Mike Bushneen and Alli Coull work as IRATA rope access trainers for Ian at Talon NDT limited and provide a fantastic service. It has been an interesting day and all 6 candidates passed with flying colours!
The weather has turned a bit milder and it was plus 2 degrees at the entrance of the tunnel for the Blue funicular on Cairngorm mountain, so I assume the snow would have thawed a lot. The forecast is for this mild weather to continue with high winds tomorrow. Thanks to Heather and the other fantastic forecaster we have at the Met office this spell was predicted, hence many of my friends and climbing guides have booked themselves on first aid courses! Which was an incredibly sensible move as it would have been quite miserable trying to climb today!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Amazing climbing high in the Cairngorms

Well, we have had a perfect day. The rock is plastered with snow which has to be excavated to find placement and any protection. Higher up, it's more frozen and gives easier climbing. Amazing conditions for so early in November!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Holme fell

It's still great walking weather, dry, mild with occasional sunny spells which bring out the lovely Autumn colours. "Holme Fell" (which from Norse times means "Watery Meadow") is just North of Coniston and although not very high the panoramic views of Coniston, the Langdales, Fairfield and beyond are superb.
This week Coniston Lake hosted its annual water speed boat race.
On the 4th of January 1967 Donald Campbell attempted his speed record on Coniston lake where unfortunately his boat flipped and he met his death. The only remains they found at the time were his helmet and mascot Teddy "Mr Whoppit". These items along with film footage of the speed attempt can be viewed at John Ruskin Museum in Coniston. In recent years his body and boat "Bluebird" has since been recovered and he was laid to rest in Coniston graveyard where a grand funeral was held with a horse drawn Hurst. Bluebird is in the process of being renovated and will eventually be on display at the museum.
Donald Campbell

The Langdales.

Monday, 3 November 2008

An afternoon on Wetherlam

Walking conditions in the lake district couldn't have been better with the warm sunshine and light winds.
A great day for a wander up Wetherlam 762m.
Our walk started in Tilberthwaite valley through oak woodland and working National Trust farms. This valley has a lot of industrial history as copper and slate were mined here mainly in the late 1800's early 1900's. A few Larch tree's can still be seen on the upper fells, these were grown for use within the copper mines as floor supports as there were many levels within the mines. The copper seams ran in vertical lengths into the mountain side some of the mines go as deep as below sea level. Lakeland Green slate was also quarried in the hills and sledges were used to transport the slate down, these were dragged by sturdy fell ponies. The quarrying industry is still a profitable business in this area.

Quarryman "Robert Fell" with "Pimpo".
Langdale Pikes.

Tilberthwaite Cottages were originally built for the copper miners.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Snow sunshine and stunning views

Cairngorm mountain opened the ski area for the weekend making the most of conditions with the early snow and high pressure.

In the meantime Cumbria also had wall to wall sunshine, but being that bit further South most of the snow from earlier in the week has melted and the fells are beginning to dry out again after last Saturdays immense down pour and flooding. This photo was taken today above "Grange" South Lakes by the sea. It's Limestone country and surrounded by bolted limestone crags such as "Chapel Head Scar" and is great for catching the winter sun. This area also tends to be warm and drier being so close to the sea. In the distance you can see Dow Crag, Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam, Bowfell and Langdale Pikes.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Scottish winter climbing again!

The recent wet and windy weather and lowering freezing level has brought snow to the higher ground. We took advantage of the clearer weather today to walk into the Northern Corries of the Grampian mountains ( wonderful Cairngorm of course!) A rope of three of us, Kathy Andy and myself climbed Pygmy ridge. Kathy was by far the most photogenic so she is shown here! First thing this morning the winds were blowing strong from the west and carried a lot of spindrift, but later in the day the wind had died down a bit. The rock was dry and there was some ice forming on Alladins direct and ice forming on the boulders of the approach route. A great day!

Blustry October weather

Sad picture of a bottle nosed dolphin which stranded it's self on the south beach at Loch Eil and below shows the "witches tales" at Inninmore Bay. Where the strong westerly winds blow the waterfalls back up the cliffs!