Sunday, 31 March 2013

the never ending winter

"SCOTLAND Beinn Dearg, Northern Highlands

1 Emerald Gully"  [Cold Climbs]

Thursday, 28 March 2013

vacationing reindeer?

When you do a traverse of anything, there is always the question of which way to do it.

The Hills of Cromdale lie South West to North East for about 16km's.  When I done a traverse a couple of years ago I went from bottom to top thus having the wind in our backs and being able to park the car fairly high.

With a bitting Easterly wind and wanting to keep our faces in the sun as much as possible, todays traverse was going to be from top to bottom.

Today, we saw a fox getting hassle from 3 crows, 3 reindeer obviously on a mini break from the Cairngorms and some rather large cairns.

Sometimes it's easy to overlook the little hills, but not today.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

clearing the backlog

It has never really occurred to me to use raised footsteps as bollards, but I'm pretty sure that the ones on the Ben yesterday would have been pretty strong.

I had rescheduled Zoe from January (no snow) and from February (the lurgy).  Third time lucky for us. It's great to meet somebody who is as passionate about the hills as myself and by having such a pleasant experience of her Summer Mountain Leader Course is now looking at the Winter scheme.

We need more people like Zoe in the scheme - a passionate hill walker who wants to pass on their knowledge to others.  Go for it girl!

For Maria, it was simply a case of 'good things come to those who wait'.

We could have gone out last week but would have probably got our heads blown off.  Instead, we waited for today and enjoyed 4 pitches of ice on Smoking the White Owl.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

rescheduling things

The great thing about working for yourself is that their is no pressure to go out in unmanageable conditions.

Photo credit: Cairngorm Mountain Ltd

I rescheduled all my work this week and this also included re-scheduling the final Skimo Scotland race which was planned for later today.

The final Skimo Scotland race will take place on Sunday 7th April, back over in Nevis Range.  More information will up undated soon and we will reopen entries for another week.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

the right choice

Creag Meagaidh is a funny place when it comes to weather - often on the edge of weather from the west and/or weather from the east.  When we made our plan last night we were going to the Ben today but when we met this morning, we both said "Meagaigh?"

Fran borrowed a light weight helmet today to try it out - as soon as she put it on, there was a "God Fran, that is a horrendous helmet!"

After taking the p**s for some time about the helmet, we swam our way to the bottom of the route - South Pipe Direct IV,4.  I think that I can honestly say that this route is one of the most enjoyable routes that I have ever done - 5 loooooonnnnnnggggggg pitches with a little bit of something on each pitch.

Most definitely topped out into the white room - thankfully with little wind.  For info, there is loads of snow waiting to get moved around when the wind picks up.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

the skimo scotland trailer

OK, I might be slightly biased, but Stefan has done a brilliant job on this - can't wait to see the full version in the summer.

The last race of the season is to be held at Nevis Range on 23rd March but you only have until tomorrow night to enter.

Friday, 15 March 2013

bum sliding

Perfect glissading conditions today down the entire length of the old white lady t-bar.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

back to meagaidh

I seem to be spending quite a bit of time at Creag Meagaidh this season.

However today, Stob Poite Coire Ardair and Carn Liath were the objectives.

The team done a great job navigating the route with just the odd 'top tip' and 'handy hint' thrown in.

Another no goggle day :)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

a no goggle day

After wearing goggles yesterday (again) it was quite nice to be in the sun today.

Despite what you might think, independent mountaineering instructors spend a lot of time in solitude on the hills so it was quiet nice to be working with Glenn today.  Some might question what we were actually teaching ...

Today was probably one of the very few days of the year when I probably wouldn't object to pay for uplift on Cairngorm.

Sexy tracks galore around the Ciste.

Monday, 11 March 2013

carn an fhreiceadain

A light rucksack, perfect neve and blue skies.

You don't have to go high to appreciate the hills.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

broken things

Although the legs and head got a rest yesterday in the Ice Factor, the arms never.

Today, we opted to head into Creag Meaghaidh but as Joe politely put it:

"My camera is broken, my go pro is broken and I am broken."

Not even 50m up Stag Horn Gully, an aggravated injury forced an about turn.

To add insult to injury on the way out, I tried very hard not to laugh as Joe said:

"Bloody watch has just broken too!".

Friday, 8 March 2013

thankful to be off the hill for once

Todays catalogue of events:

1. Met Joe off uber early sleeper all bright eyed and bushy tailed.

2. Got slightly disgruntled that none of the good coffee shops were open until at least 0830.

3. Battled our way in the corrie-of-the-absent-people.

4. Walked around base of corrie-of-the-absent-people trying to find out if there was perhaps one spot where I felt happy to take my rucksack off without it ending up in Loch Morlich.

5. Somehow stood underneath Mess of Pottage in minimal wind.

6.  Took big gamble and started up approach slopes.

7.  Blunted both picks on direct start of Hidden Chimney since I wrongly assumed that there would be nice fat ice under pointless snow.

8. Put googles on.

9. Took googles off - all steamed up and couldn't see a thing.  Much better just shutting my eyes and waiting for spindrift to stop doing its thing.

10. Forgot to eat.

11. Forgot to drink.

12. Climbed up to top of corrie rim.

13. Down climbed so that I could put on steamed up, useless goggles.

14. Climbed onto plateau - stupid thing to to.

15. Battled our way off the plateau.

16. Walked past empty ski resort making comment on how it must be storm bound.

17. Arrived at car and had lunch.

18.  Got home and released that resort wasn't stormbound, we were just late!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

inner corrie

The quiet car park reflected the quiet walk in, which reflected the quiet corrie and the quiet route.

Armed with 2 fully functional sets of crampons (you can try that trick only once Miss Thomas), Catrin's bootcamp continued with her first and probably last scottish winter route of the season.

If you are only going to do one route it has to be a classic.

The Pumpkin, 300m V,4 **** with no wobbles - in fact, lets be honest - even if you did wobble you would have to be pretty unlucky to fall out the huge buckets up the entire route.

Monday, 4 March 2013

over the back - not

We had a great plan to head over the back today.

It's not as if Catrin forgot her crampons - its just that Catrin never had 2 complete crampons.

The thought of spending a rather lot of time cutting steps wasn't an appealing thought, so we done the sensible thing - we turned around and headed home.  Obviously being a considerate person I never took the pee all day - just most of the day :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

hero snow

Attempt number 1:

Attempt number 2:

Attempt number 3:

The really cool thing about training with the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team is that they are fit.  I honestly think that if they had their own way they would still be doing laps over the back of Cairngorm.

They are probably grinning all the way back to ABZ now :)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

a sign of the times

Neil had asked me some time ago if I would provide some training for the Aberdeen Mountain Rescue Team.

It never even crossed my mind that this wouldn't be on my mountaineering boots.

Nearly fell off my chair when I discovered that all 13 of them were on ski mountaineering kit!

A brilliant and fun day on the hill with the guys, hardly seeing anybody else except for Heather who was working with the second half of the team.

Camera obviously wasn't impressed by the ming drizzle fest today.