Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Liathach, Torridon

Liatach, this images taken from Loch Clair this afternoon, on the right side of the photo is Beinn Eighe and we are looking into Coire an Laoigh up on to Sgurr Ban  - 970m

It is an outstanding hill don't you think?

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Hot Ice, a short article by Andy Nisbet

Andy on the first Pitch......this was originally written by Andy for scottishwinter.com
 Hot Ice

What a great spell of weather, for winter climbers anyway, and frozen turf on crags near the road, crags suitable for the “older climber”. But now on Monday 18th, the cold spell was ending, with temperatures forecast to go up to plus 7 on top of Cairn Gorm. Ah well, time for a rest.

But not for Sandy Allan. He wouldn’t let it go. “It’s only going above freezing at 8am, so if we get up early.......”. That was forgetting it had already thawed on the 17th. But it had been cold for nearly 3 weeks, so slowly I came round to the idea that some ice might have survived. And there were a couple of potential ice lines on Lurcher’s Crag (my days of getting up at midnight and reaching some remote crag at first light are long gone). So in the afternoon, I drove up to the Cairngorm car park to see what snow was left, and to choose between the approaches via Chalamain Gap or South Gully. The Northern Corries were still snowy and so were the boulders in the Chalamain Gap, so South Gully it was.

At 7.30am it was still dark and very quiet in the car park. It actually turned out that several keen teams had already left, and we did see head torches high up on the hill. Walking conditions were lumpy on the path from yesterday’s footprints but at least the snow was frozen and we reached South Gully with little stress. The descent was fine too, but then the traverse along the cliff base to the far end was tedious. Would Chalamain have been quicker?

At least traversing the base showed us that there was lots of ice. Diamond Gully (wrongly described as Window Gully in the last guide) was in particularly fine nick, complete with misleading window. So we were in with a chance. Central Gully looked great but we were going further to a potential ice line spotted last year between Ultramontane and Akita (the SMC will produce an app sometime soon). Both of these routes were climbed in deep snow, and we were dreaming that the smears between them could make a good route. As we continued down the crag, the amount of ice was decreasing and I was looking ahead to easier ice at the end of the crag (climbed many times before). Then Sandy said, “What’s that ice up there? I looked up and realised that I’d walked past our potential line. The ice looked thin but the line was complete.

I took the first pitch, up a smear on a slab leading to an iced bulge. The bulge was only about head height and took a solid ice screw. But reaching above it and swinging the axe detached about a metre of ice which slid off and revealed a blank slab. The only option was to come in from the side, and here was a stroke of luck, an excellent placement in normally unhelpful rock allowed a delicate move over the bulge. A rock barrier above was easily bypassed and the pitch was completed under an icy chimney.

Sandy took this on with another good ice screw runner (thank goodness we took the ice screw, a close decision), and soon we reached the easier upper section. Soloing from here eventually gained  the finishes of the other routes, all which finish up a ridge climbed in the 1950s but never named. It was still a long way to the top of Creag a’ Leth-choin and by now it was so warm we didn’t even need gloves.

With the dog theme of the crag, Sandy suggested the name Hot Dog. I thought IV,4 but there’s no doubt it would be III if thickly iced. Whether that happens during this predicted cold winter, we’ll see.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Wonderfull Scotland

Torridon village

Andy Nisbet

Andy again, soloing around.

Andy topping out.

Back down amongst the pine trees and spectacular views.. a charmed life!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Mountain Equipment - Direkt Glove

Mountain Equipments Direkt glove in action here.

These gloves were actually designed for hard mixed climbing where you need insulation to keep your hands warm but also  to give us really good grip  on teh shafts of our ice tools. Climbers also need good dexterity to grip and also allows to place protection and clip the rope when traditional climbing. Simon is a helicopter pilot based in Revelstoke , BC and finds his new gloves invaluable... also of course it almost goes with out saying Gore tex pro is part of the important structure of these hard wearing breathable gloves.

A busy few days!

Bob the cat is having re think!

Climbing around Torridon, Thanks Andy Nisbet for the image!

IRTA technician i=at NDT Eagle./Talon. Aberdeen

Demonstration a short hard link rescue with a manakin.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Drystane Ridge - Creag an Leth choin

 This climb  is at the Northern end of the Lairig Ghru, thewell known pass which is visible from the A9 as one drives by Aviemore. Both sides hold  cliffs  with some fine climbing on both sides. On the Cairn Gorm side is Lurcher's Crag (Craig an Leith-choin). Today we climbed Drystane Ridge which was first climbed by Andy Nisbet (Yellow/Red Jacckin the photos) in 2007 and he gave it the winter Scottish grade II. Today we kept to the ridge and  now think it is a 3/IV, although Andy led the crux pitch and went an interesting way which looked harder, I seconded it and taking a small step to the right, really just one small step (south side) I found a turfy steep crack, which I think was slightly easier at 3/IV. If you moved much lower you would eventually end up in grassy gully and would by- pass much of the climbing which kind of defeats the purpose.... ha ha, us climbers.....whatever the purpose is!?

Monday, 16 October 2017

IRATA assessments

Talon NDT's  training centre in Aberdeen
Various rescue scenarios on the horizontal aid climbing beam at Talon NDT Aberdeen

Ruddy Gurung (AIMS Nepal in Kathmandu) explaining anchor loading to his level 2 and 3 candidates

Ruddy has a purpose built training centre in Kathmandu

Calculating the Safe Working Load (SWL)

 A IRATA level 3 candidate demonstrating a short link rescue form a horizontal beam!

Friday, 22 September 2017

Arete Des Cosmiques, Chamonix, Mont Blanc

Emma at the upper gully exit.

Amazing views of Mont Blanc and the 'Trois Mont Blanc", Tacul,  Maudit and Mont Blanc

some nice climbing positions.

Just loving it

Cool at all times, more so in the shade!

Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entreves (3608m)

Crampons on to traverse the glacier

On a sharper part of the ridge

It's a cool mountain.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Gran Paridiso via the Refuge Chabot

Cool this morning (Temperature wise) but lovely clear views of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks

David and Rohan on the summit

Rohan decided some cake was necessary!

ha ha.. 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Madagasikara, Aiguilles Rouge, Chamonix , Mont Blanc

A nice time on this exciting interesting climb

Pete lead some of the pitches

There are a couple of interesting 5c/6a moves on two of the pitches... its a superb climb first ascent by Michel Piola on 19 July 2002. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Punta Udine, East ridge from Rifugio Giacoietti.

Punta Udine and the Giacoietti hut

A wonderful classic climb frst ascent in Septemver 1952 by Italian climbers.

Pete climbing up the initial pitches.

Some great positions and nice solid rock.

It's quite exposed in places

Pete on the summit, Monviso behind... a super day!

Mont Viso, Italy

Bad weather forced us from Chamonix, so we chose an adventure in Italy and climbed Monto Viso 3841m.
This photo shows Pete on the initial via ferrata.

Even taht far south we had snow down to about 3200 m.

Pete climbing a tricky section nearing the summit

The summit shot, Pete and Sandy

The north face of MonViso

General location map! There are  few variations to the spelling, Monviso, Mont Viso etc.... it sure is a wonderful area!