Saturday, 29 May 2010

Irata assessmnet day at Talon

Some of the candidates demonstrating their skills yesterday! For further information about such courses go to Training courses in this photo were organised by Talon in Aberdeen. although you will find a complete list of training providers on the IRATA website!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The last few days, sports climbing and then IRATA assessments

Black Crag at Arisaig, a good sports climbing venue, with some interesting climbs. All the first ascents seem all to be lead by Tom Ballard, with out doubt, some really impressive moves here!
Today I was assessing at Trac International in Bellshill, near Glasgow.
Kris, using "fall arrest" techniques on the tower.

Monday, 24 May 2010

PPE Compentent Person courses and being on Everest!

Yesterday I delivered an Inspection of PPE course _ "Competent Person" to members of Braemar Mountain Rescue Team. The close out feed back was very positive so I drove beck to my home feeling delighted, also my twin brother had phoned to remind me that on the 23 rd May 2001 at 5.45am I was standing on the summit of Mount Everest with my client Jim. In order to mark this occasion I took a long walk out the back of my village here and camped overnight amongst the Red Deer. It was not as windy as camping oxengen-less on the South Col!
On my walk back to the village this morning it was snowing Cherry Blossom petals...
Coffee time, the view from my tent this morning!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

The grat wall of Creag Dubh

It has been ace climbing on the local crag today, just brilliant, warm and sunny. The spring flowers are in full blossom and the rock is dry. With my friend Andy we did a couple of climbs, a nice quiet, peaceful , easy , short and very pleasant kind of day!

Irata assessment day

Another interesting day at Talon, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen. Pictured above are trainee coded welders from Dundee University demonstrating their rescue skills.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Romeo and Juliet

Interesting contrast: the life of a mountain guide, stumbling oxygen- less cocooned in down to the summit of 8000 meter summits, placing ice axes in shattering ice to haul ourselves up twisted ice gullies and frozen cascades, chalk dusted fingers searching granite faces for adequate holds, exhausted but smiling clients wondering if we can get them down again! Compare that to the Scottish Ballet.... wow, amazing discipline as timeless as love itself. I would say that the The Scottish Ballet are quite outstanding! Last night they presented a powerful modern retelling of Shakespeare's masterpiece at Eden Court. Choreography was by Krzystof Pastor and music by Serge Prokofiev. The dancers and musicians were breathtaking and outstanding in every respect!
Apologies for the poor photographs, they are scanned from their brochure as photography was prohibited during the performance!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Cairngorm Winter climbing conditions 15 May 2010

Roger belaying once we roped up!

Roger climbing up the second last pitch of the Runnel a nice grade 2 winter climb.

Roger pulling over the top!

A good day with my friend Roger. Still amazing conditions on Cairngorm with plenty snow in the lower graded gullies, snow cover is good and Cairngorm Mountain was busy with almost a full top car park.. it's quite ace! I noticed several uplifts open and it did not look as though there were any line ups for the lifts. Skiing on Coronation wall looked truly superb, quite cold wind, with the temperature around lunch time being about 4 to 6 degree C on the tops (I did not measure it!)
The Great Slab has slid a bit. Several couliors and steeper aspects have some nice boarding and ski tracks...The Rescue Box is now visible in the floor of the corrie, but the picnic boulder remain buried! Snow fences mostly visible again..... It's ace though, get out and enjoy the snow while you can, it's probably too cold on the fingers to go rock climbing anyway!!!!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

9th May, Great conditions remain on Cairngorm,

Christian on the Runnel a two star grade 2 winter climb.

We have had an ace day today ski touring and winter climbing in the Northern Corries, its simply ace although by the afternoon the snow gets quite soft. The Cairngorm Mountain ski car park was full by this afternoon and the skiing seemed pretty good.

The photo above shows out good snow cover!

Christian skiing up from Corrie Cas ( Cairngorm Mountain) up towards Cairngorm today 9 May 2010.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Transport for SAIS Alan!

Well, my old buddy Alan eventually got back home to Revelstoke after delays with volcanic dust. Back here in Scotland we all hope that he will be back to do the avalanche forecasting next winter. We are already looking for his transport, the one above is certainly Eco-friendly and perhaps too, more bridge friendly as Alan's Ford Focus seemed to have an attraction to one particular bridge en- route to Lochnagar!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fragile world!

The plant above is Soldenella, commonly known as the English snowbell, but it's not common at all, although some one once said that they came across some plants on Ben Lawers. It's member of the Primula Family, native to European Mountains. They grow in damp pasture lands, woods and rocky landscapes at around 500 - 3000m above sea level. Often found growing in hollows which holds snow well into the summer. Mike pointed this one out to me as we skied out from a tour in the Bernese Oberland, it was near Blatten in Switzerland.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Cairngorm Mountain 2nd May 2010

Just have a look at the snow cover that remains here in bonny Scotland, Cairngorm Mountain is covered in snow and the touring is great. Sure lower runs are slushy and soft although higher up the mountain it's pretty good. It was minus 3 on NE light winds at the summit today and there was about a centimeter of fresh snow which gave nice ski descents on a firm base...
Elspeth and Alan at Cairngorm Summit.
Sandy (Orange jacket) and Alan (Red) getting ready for a short ski tour up to the plateau! Cairngorm Mountain had all the upper runs open today, the car park was almost full and folks were having a lovely time!

Rope Access

Was assessing IRATA technicians at Trac Training Ltd at Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, on Friday, everyone passed and the training was excellent!