Saturday, 31 December 2011

Stac Pollaidh

An easy kind of exploration today up the North West of this fantastic country!!!The innocent crystals below have survived the thaw so far, make sure you do.... Happy New Year!!!!!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Northern Corries: Interesting climbing conditions

The snow fall of yesterday and the freeze have kind of helped the climbing conditions although its nothing startling, but some of the climbs are white and around 1050m the turf is semi OK so there are some good adventures to be had! There were many people climbing today on many different grades of climbs and there was some bold teams who broke trail through the windslab to the foot of Fiacaill Couloir etc... Interestingly enough while the apron looked loaded the top of of the crag around Invernookie and all looked rather black! By lunch time the snow had started to fall again and the wind blew from a Southerly direction which caused lots of drifting from the plateau. Down at the car park the thaw had started and the roads were very slushy on the drive back home!An experience enhancing day!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Crisp , cold day

Nice day out the the Cairngorms with Matt today, soloed around and roped up for some technical pitches. The turf is still frozen in most places high up and any remaining snow is good neve... a shower of snow and all could be pretty good again!

Matt trying to be less bombastic!!!

Friday, 23 December 2011

A dreadful thaw but there are still adventures to be had!

The recent thaw really has striped many climbs, but Andy N and I thought we would take a wander about the Cairngorms this morning. It was a cold westerly wind and freezing high up! There is still some ice about and the turf remains well frozen.. A big shower of snow and all will be reasonable again!!!
Andy on the Sneer

We climbed up the Runnel and the Sneer today... a nice day out! Some breaks in the gullies!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Echoes of a Dream

Alan Richard Mchardy has published his book. Its a captivating account of Richards amazing life so far! Outstandingly bold first ascents, a true account of the development of British Rock Climbing in the 1950s through to the present day! Please check out and buy it on

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Thawing conditions

Thank goodness for Gore Tex and Mountain Equipment, damp and windy, testing conditions on the hills today.

The rime ice is gone from all the snow fences at Glenshee, but the runs are remain fine good with a reasonable amount of snow.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Some photo taken at Lochnagar today.
High up there is lots of snow.

Above: Lochnagar.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Bad Vis day

Kind of stormy day for the snow pit and later we became involved in a search for two lost skiers, so its been an interesting day! Everyone found safe and well!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Stellar day!

A really nice day in the hills today! Instabilities in the snow pack were easily triggered!

First thing in the morning, one is reminded that its a good idea to close the windows!

High up the snow cover is pretty good!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

First day of the forcasting season for me.

I have had the most dreadful cold which prevented me from joining my buddy Alan at the start of this years Scottish Avalanche Information Service avalanche reports for South Cairngorm. I was delighted to get on the hill today and immediately the Scottish snow pack had some interesting information to share!

Our shovel tap test gave some easy shears within the snow pack today. Isolated areas of wind slab have formed on Southerly aspects... and the temperature gradient is interesting! If you are skiing off-piste keep your awareness switched on !

Monday, 5 December 2011

Offshore Industrial Rope Access

Steve and Lee at work on a crane boom.

Utilising a combination of climbing and caving techniques to reach awkward places!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

A simple life!

My friend Alan would prefer to be on his skis at times like this!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Enjoyed some wonderfull sport climbs today with my old pal Andy Nisbet around Gairloch on the west of Scotland. The two photos below were taken near Poolewe.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Moy Rock

For November in Scotland, the weather was excellent and the rock bone dry today . This is a south facing conglomerate crag some 15 miles north of Inverness.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Caspian Sea

Some aged and some new oil platforms

Friday, 21 October 2011

Baku: The Flame Towers

Baku is the scientific, cultural and industrial centre of Azerbaijan.The inner city along with the Shiruashah's palace and Maiden tower are UNESCO world heritage sites. Below are pictures of the Flame tower which is one of the many current building projects going on in this city. It will eventually be a residential complex with a roof height of 182 m ( 597 ft.) The estimated cost of construction was US$350 million. Construction commenced in 2008 with a completion date 2011.

An artists impression of the completed structure.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

October winter.

Snow on the hilll tops around Kincarig near Aviemore. Winter is coming!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Moy sports crag

A greet day today climbing with my pals at Moy, just North of Inverness. This conglomerate crag has been bolted and holds some interesting sport climbs and several trad. routes also...

John climbing.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

An exemplary vegatable

It ace to be back at home and today and I found the time to dig up my potato's. Lady Charlotte and all those other interesting names for the humble potato...question is: can one climb to grade 7a on such a diet?....Hamish Macinnes once said that if they had another bag of potatoes he along with John Cunningham would have been able to summit Pumori!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mont Charvatton, Valle d'Aosta

Erca on the lead!

If you drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel and stay on the auto route for about an hour and turn off at Verres, then head up into the picturesque Valle de Champrozer you will find delightfull Italian hamlets, farmers with their tiny four wheel drive Ferrari tractors and some ace rock climbing. Erica and I had an ace day yesterday climbing a 12 pitch sport route called "40 Anni di Emozion", its graded 6c and justifes the grade.... The rock and climbing is truly ace although we found the guide book discription and quality of bolts not so great... The descent is via absiel down a line called "Tommy".If you can take a photo like this as you are about half way absieing down after competing your climb it means you have been caught in the dark!!! Ha ha, this of course adds to the adventure and like all good mountaineers our only head torch was in my rucksac at the bottom and start of our route!!!! Never the less, this justified a vist to a local Pizza place where the wine and sea food pizza tasted amazing! To add further insult and complications to an outstanding day there were road works in the Mont Blanc tunnel so we did not get back to Chamonix until the wee early hours.... an ace and perfect exciting day!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Petit bargy, rock climbing on Pegase

A perfect day, climbing on an ace crag with a good pal... We were at a crag above the village of Mont Saxonnex ( la Clusaz, Grand Bornand). Pegase is a three star 6a route with some botls but mainly trad. From the ground upwards all the pitches are truly superb. Although some of the pitches seemed very stiff for 6a! Nevertheless, an exciting and most enjoyable adventure! The climb is on a steep limestone crag in this perfect setting

Erica climbing in ace form!

We made a slight route finding error but got back on line with a bold traverse!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Sports climbing, Machaby, Italy

With Erica we did a ten pitch route at Machaby today, ace weather, great climbing!

Erica leads the crux pitch!

Such fantastic rock, a memorable day....The climb was named Tika Saab.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Rope Access in France

I was assessing at Absolutio (Industrial Rope Access) in the Ardeche on Saturday. Its a very impressive set up with split level flooring which is great for training and assessing. The centre is manged by IFMGA mountain guide and IRATA member Bertrand Frayon. As part of the training course the candidates get the opportunity to abseil down a 180 m rock cliff to the river bank.The split level training area means that the candidates practise the skills at height but are always closley supervised by their instructors.

The company logo and web site!

The big abseil!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Chamonix days

Wonderful life!