Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Applecross- Bealach na Ba

 SA, Alan, Colin and Vicky today at the weather station.
Temperatures returned to below freezing level by around 1400hrs with wonderful afternoon light. Ice forming and snow building in the higher corries.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Beinn Eighe - Creag Dubh, Torridon

 A wet to the underpants day but the rain showers turned to sleet around 500m and while mist shrouded the summits it was really not so bad at higher altitudes. Although being wet to the skin  meant one had to keep moving to retain a comfort level!

The small burns are full and river crossings are quite tricky.

Friday, 27 December 2013

On Liatach, Torridon today.

 With  Alan we  had a long walk but saw that winter conditions are building nicely in the Coireag Dubh Mor.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Nice in in the North - West.

With Alan and Mark, Torridon.

Wonderful Christmas

 Thanks girls (all three) for a perfect day!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Winter is coming to the Scottish hills

 Good days on the snow!

Comfortable in my new Mountain Equipment Tupilak Jacket and Touchstone Fleece!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ben Nevis 1344m

 We were on Ben Nevis today.  On the drive over the Laggan dam built on the River Spean was gushing lots of water.
 Ben Nevis today, the gullies looking thin and challenging.
My pal Alan above the CIC hut.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Glencoe today

 Enjoyed a nice day on the hill with my good pal Alan Dennis
 We could hear some climbing calls from the misty crags above! Its looking quite good really.

Graupel galore! 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Industrial Rope Access - Salava, Ardeche, France

 A two day IRATA assessment at Absolutio this weekend , www.travaux-sur-corde.fr
Another excellent IRATA training location and centre. www.irata.org

Rope Access

At Talon Industrial Rope Access Training centre in Edinburgh on Friday 13 Dec.

Friday, 13 December 2013

RGU Aberdeen Graduation 2013

 Lucky me, a very proud  Dad! My daughter Hannah graduated again, this time at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen  Master of Science Corporate Communications and Public Affairs.
 ' Omni Nunc Arte Magistra' , Make the best of all your abilities.
1800 jubilant students qualified in a vast array of professions. Here's wishing  all the graduands the very best of luck for the future.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Good Night Polar Bear!

On behalf of Community Action Nepal (CAN), Tut Brithwait and I are speaking tonight at Stirling ( details below). Most importantly I would appreciate it if you could help spread the word and ask your friends to come along and bid for this painting. This outstanding work has been gifted to CAN by the Morris Macintyre family. Esme died earlier this year aged 18 years of age while battling a brain tumour for nearly 7 years. Despite all her hardships she was able to produce this wonderful painting for her local art festival

Wednesday 11th December in Stirling
Logie Lecture Theatre, University fo Stirling, FK9 4LA
Contact for Stirling is Katy Haddock on GHHaddock@aol.com

Kangchenjunga, Nepal: 8586 m

 A parcel was delivered to me by the post man this morning. A nice gift from Dr Richard Sale and Dr George Rodway containing their new edition of the 8000 meter peak book . Here above is a photo of Joe Brown  near the sacred summit  which must have been taken by his climbing companion, the late George band who, with Joe made the first ascent of the mountain on the 25 May 1955 via the South-West face.
Thanks very much for sending me the book guys!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Community Action Nepal Lectures: Mazino Ridge Nanga Parbat.

Sandy Allan will be standing in for Doug Scott and will be speaking about his expedition to Nanga Parbat's Mazino Ridge at the following venues on behalf of Community Action Nepal.www.canepal.org.uk
Also speaking will be Paul (Tut) Braithwaite, Big Walls and High Mountains.

Monday 9th December in Inverness


The Highland Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX

Contact for Inverness is Robert Preece on    rpreece@onetel.com


Wednesday 11th December in Stirling


Logie Lecture Theatre, University of Stirling, FK9 4LA

Contact for Stirling is Katy Haddock on       GHHaddock@aol.com


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

British Mountain Guides AGM

 I attended our British Mountain Guides AGM, and dinner and CPD day last weekend. It was a well organised event by the Lakes area . Special thanks to Phil Poole who  must have been hyper busy organising it all on our behalf.  We all enjoyed the best ever dinner!  Our president Tim Walker presented four newly qualified guides with their Diplomas and two older and now retired BMG members, Terry and Geoff were recognised.  Terry was a special inspiration to me personally and since he retired I really miss the fact that I no longer bump into him in the most wild Alpine and Scottish winter conditions.  As a young climber and aspirant mountain guide myself, it was always reassuring to meet him with his friendly, understated manner and listen to his and his clients experiences in white out conditions. Terry was an outstanding ice climber and even when he was older and forced to get replacement knees he could still perform very impressively on the steepest ice pillars!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Talon Rope Access Training, Edinburgh

Another good IRATA assessment day at Talon in Edinburgh with Craig Smith.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Graz Mountain Film Festival

Mazino Ridge lecture today in Graz. www.mountainfilm.com
Wojciech Kurtyka in 1995 on our first attempt at  the Mazino Ridge, Nanga Parbat.

Friday, 15 November 2013

25th Graz Mountain Film Festival

 Busy setting up for the 2th Film festival here at Graz, Austria and  met my good pal Robert Schauer who I last saw him at  Latok in Pakistan so many years ago. Its great to see him again .
Mountain Equipment have a stand  here and  Doug speaks this afternoon and we all join in on discussion  on the subject of ' Modern achievements in the world of sacred mountains vs commercialism' which  hopefully will provoke some thoughts!
I lecture tomorrow  on our ascent of the Mazino Ridge and  highlight  some events of the Piolet d'Or.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Relaxed in K'du.

 Some of our team enjoying  the relaxed pace of Kathmandu at the Manaslu Hotel.
 Dream Garden, Kathmandu earlier today, .... they serve a rather fine apple pie!
Nepali National bird....

Kathmandu 7th November

 Here is  photo of Camp 1 on Ama Dablam, one can see the amounts of snow we had.
The Goddess Maha Lakshmi, ( goddess of wealth..... )
Ueli, ( Pink hard hat)  Lhakpa and Pasang Sherpa on the fixed rope of Ama Dablan

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


We all arrived back in Kathmandu today after a  nice fixed wing flight from Lukla early this morning. We do not have our luggage though as our Yak drivers got way laid en route and did not arrive in Lukla in time to catch the flight departure time! ( Their excuse is alcohol related!!!!) We have to hang out a day for our luggage to catch up with us. The team are all well and  enjoying the tourist sights of the city!
From L to R: Pasang, Mike, Stephen, Ueli and Toni on the trekking summit of Labouche peak, (Corrina was also there but she is not in my photo!)
Yaks and  herder traversing through the unseasonable amounts of snow!

Monday, 4 November 2013

4th November at Namche Bazaar

Just arrived back in Namche Bazaar this late afternoon.  Over the past few days we had an exciting time on Ama Dablam, no one had climbed to the summit so far this season so with some of the other guided outfits we combined our forces to pick an elite team of Sherpa to try and go ahead and fix ropes over the Mushroom ridge to camp 3 and onward to the summit. Very experienced sherpas from Team Ascent, Adventure Consultants and Himalayan Ascents  grouped together and on the 2nd of November went from base camp to Camp 2. On that same evening many of them got up to the top of the existing fixed ropes  which reached  almost to the Mushroom ridge. Our  combined sherpa team got a bit higher but were confronted with very steep and unstable snow. It was impossible for them to set any anchors and from Camp one I watched their head torches trace their night time descent back to camp two. The following morning they tried again and again abandoned their attempt in the difficult and dangerous  snow conditions. So, for now any attempts to climb high on Ama Dablam has been forgotten, the snow is unstable and unconsolidated. So yesterday, the 3rd November I had to make the difficult decision to abandon our attempt and many other groups are now following  our decision. We have flights out from Kathmandu back to Europe soon, some  are departing  from Kathmandu on the evening of the 10th November, so time has run out for us.
 All our team members are fine,  they understand the situation and while a bit disappointed are experienced mountaineers and know when things are simply too dangerous to push on. From the outset  the big snow fall at the beginning of our expedition gave us the idea that summit success on Ama Dablam would be quite slim. The weather has been unseasonably cold with quite high winds above 5000m , the snow is not transforming in the way that we need it too! An unstable layer remains below a surface crust.We are happy to have climbed Labouche peak and now we are enjoying the trek back to Lukla where we hope to get a fixed wing back to  Kathmandu.  I apologize for the lack of photo, the internet here is very slow!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Text from Mike Lean to Sandys sister 20:22hrs 31st October

Most of the team made it to Camp 1 on the 28th Oct and spent the night there. They climbed to Camp 2 the next day and then returned to base camp for rest.  Matt has a bad chest cold so has decided to abandon his climb and will walk out to Lukla tomorrow.  Everyone else is doing fine (and presumably enjoying the luxuries of base camp).

Strong winds are forecast.  Hoping these will abate to allow for a attempt on the summit.

So, that's the news. If you want to see some photos of Ama Dablam from a previous Team Ascent trip see blog posts for 28th Oct 2009.  For those of you who are new to this game, and for those of us who should know better (yes, I was on the web at 4 am looking at photos of Ama Dablam) just remember, no news is good news.  I wonder if there will be ghost stories at base camp tonight?

Friday, 25 October 2013

Labouche Peak

we went to Kala Patar for acclimatisation and on the same day returned to Labouche BC.
On the 23Oct. We moved up to High Camp 5420m . After a fantastic night :-) we woke early and reached the trekking summit at around 6:25 AM. The same day we descended all the way to Pangboche village to spend the night. Today 25 Oct. We will move up to Amadablam BC. Everybody is fine and well.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Acclimatising, establishing base camp and snow.

Text message from Sandy today.

The group are trekking and acclimatising at Gorak Shep today. This afternoon they will climb up Kalipatar and return to Laboche this evening. Base came was established yesterday (21st October).

Their plan is to climb up to Laboche high camp tomorrow and attempt to summit on Thursday.

He also mentioned the unseasonal amount of snow they have encountered. Sounds pretty good to me.
All members of the team are well.

Wishing them all good luck.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Nepal October 17 2013

 Here to guide Labouche Peak and then Ama Dablam, this image above shows Ama Dablam,  recent bad weather has brought snow down to 4000 m, we hope it clears up soon! Team Ascent Ama Dablam Expedition 2013 members are. Sandy Allan (leader) Toni, Ueli, Stephen, Corrina, Matt and Mike... All are doing fine to date, (evening of 17th October today). We are about to spend our third night in Namche Bazaar and then continue our trek up  towards Everest base camp  tomorrow. Bad weather in Kathmandu prevented the fixed wing planes from flying  fly so we took the expensive option of a helicopter. The weather was really terrible but our NZ pilot Jason was calm and ace and we had an exciting, scary and wonderful flight to Lukla, walked to Phakting that night having all purchased umbrellas. The following day we walked to Kathmandu. One members luggage got lost in transit and of course as fate would have it it contained all his climbing gear, but we have manged to trace it down the holdall and  it arrived here in Namche Bazaar late this afternoon by express porter!
 Prayer beads.
Seeing all!

Friday, 11 October 2013

IRATA, Port Harcourt ,Nigeria

 Been assessing for JC International in Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria.
 Some of the guys
Ha ha, I go all the way to Nigeria, and my mate features  in the manual!