Orkney ‘Sea Stacks and Sea Cliffs’ trip 2015

We had another great trip exploring the sea cliffs of Orkney recently.  We climbed on Orkney itself, South Ronaldsay, Hoy and the Caithness coast.  Lots of brilliant routes climbed and the highlight was an ascent of the Old Man of Hoy and the visit to Rackwick Bay.  Another great trip to a truly unspoiled area with amazing climbing!

20012_990830854295208_7740310545183208674_n

‘Tomb of the Eagles’ Crag

10410501_990830220961938_2347618572228643199_n

Hopefully a nice new route!?

11050676_989012651143695_8674828515204135753_n

Climbing at Yesnaby on a 3 star HVS

11143416_990022414376052_128310841121776593_n

Free hanging abb off the Old Man

11178252_990022061042754_2117515476088897034_n

Old Man crux pitch, E1

11237224_990022001042760_4704419442166178589_n

Bothy view

11694820_990021941042766_8490554888732498639_n

11700927_991301940914766_6329390975611016426_n

The excellent Latheronwheel crags

11700997_990244131020547_6123970019003748654_o

Rackwick Bay

11738007_990022037709423_6376614798367987051_n

Rackwick Bothy

11745773_990022484376045_7547680837482136395_n

The Old Man

11750668_990830267628600_6976570469255988553_n

11752568_991301844248109_3061955660194828169_n

Latheronwheels steep sandstone!

11760296_990022144376079_2171557572289728265_n

Topping out on the Old Man

11781879_989012724477021_2952490093603374274_n

Yesnaby

 

Picos de Europa Trip 2015

 

We had a brilliant time this year on our annual Picos trip.  The weather was great throughout and we enjoyed the full range of climbing on offer in the Picos.  Alpine adventure sport routes, 500m long rock routes, sport climbing on sea cliffs, and the highlight was an ascent of the Martinez Route on the Naranjo de Bulnes… another great trip to the amazing venue that is the Picos!

1601227_979158628795764_1273773467206039785_n

Naranjo South Face

10470869_979205875457706_667331997351095527_n

11008430_979157095462584_751706483726712424_n

Alpine start on Naranjo

11026158_979160298795597_2217347639084301984_n

Refugio at the Bulnes

11137168_979154378796189_671215945481213714_n

11180312_979156932129267_6213275659192650245_n

11202595_979158258795801_1297370943945354510_n

South face of Naranjo

11209491_979159562129004_7877293198139259610_n

Abb descents

11215176_979161048795522_2972741729566477137_n

11222022_979157662129194_2588082348221269642_n

South Face of Naranjo

11223581_979161105462183_2850652548351379844_n

11350878_979195088792118_3657337961887141877_n

Big route on the Fresnidiello

11412259_979157442129216_8504150988480470263_n

Ibex

11539559_979179642126996_1772143584473877877_n

11540884_979155462129414_5994968870478322386_n

First glimpse!

11665756_979162275462066_4367733161418478563_n

Fresnidiello and Cueto Pampin

11666051_979209602124000_5305060535194963119_n

Vultures

11692614_979158732129087_7186259201593799046_n

Happy on the summit

11692643_979159788795648_3259759904819486710_n

11705171_979158938795733_729100613963301250_n

11707584_979188062126154_6129223815696623054_n

Crux complete on pitch 5 of the Fresnidiello on the Los Ojalles route

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Courses – Could this be the end!?

11130336_937595849618709_5356003305591604938_o

Wildlife on the walk out, its hard to beat Scottish winter climbing in the Spring!

 

11080982_928428667202094_8052670533236065072_n

And full winter on the Ben in early April…

 

We have had some great winter days out this last month on climbing courses, lots of guided climbing recently on the big classics of the Ben that have been and in still are in top condition!

11082244_937592469619047_7837705564859999554_o

Hadrians Wall Direct on the 15/04 in great condition..

On Hadrians Wall on the 15/04

On Hadrians Wall on the 15/04

Gardyloo Buttress and Smiths Route yesterday 16/04

Gardyloo Buttress and Smiths Route yesterday 16/04

On Smiths yesterday 16/04

On Smiths yesterday 16/04

 

A few shots from earlier this month and late March with Lakeland Ascents and Apple Mountaineering…

Point 5 in the easiest condition I've done it in late last month!

Point 5 in the easiest condition I’ve done it in late last month!

Tower Ridge

Tower Ridge

Green Gully after crux

Green Gully after crux

Vanishing Gully

Vanishing Gully

Topping out on Vanishing

Topping out on Vanishing

 

Mountaineering with Tom and Charlie who are preparing for an ascent of Elbrus…

No.2 Gully

No.2 Gully

Skills in Lochan

Skills in Lochan

 

Some more great ski days too…

19103_926228757422085_1699573115421697928_n

Glencoe skiing

 

11046490_913265578718403_3247682551796441857_n

Touring in the Lakes with a top training partner!

 

11008788_889331257755747_4103192626088800842_n

Skiing No.2 Gully on Hellvellyn

 

10422385_917840748260886_2447736935051104878_n

Crux of No.2 from above

 

11023435_916765621701732_3483229922275298017_n

And some dry-tooling coaching..

 

10984256_930560673655560_1679916573761751334_n

A short segment we did for Trail Magazine this month, more to come with Trail this month coming…

 

2 Great Courses last week – Glencoe and Nevis Range

We had 2 great courses running last week in some fairly challenging conditions in the Highlands, with snow to sea level, a lot of red on the SAIS forecast and high winds throughout the week.

I was out with Rog and Rob climbing all week and we had some great days with highlights being the Curtain, Deep Cut Chimney, North Buttress on the Buachaille and the Aonach Eagach Ridge.  Wild winter conditions can be great to get out climbing in and give some really memorable days!  Plenty of weather and avalanche considerations to talk about as well!

Mark was out with Alex all week who is heading to Everest this year and wanted to get out and test some kit and refresh the skills required for the ascent.  They had some great days out with the Aonach Eagach and Curtain into Ledge Route giving some big days as well as a day on the Ben via the normal route.  They also had a really useful instructional day on the Polldubh Crags looking over fixed line technique and harness set up.

Thanks to everyone for getting stuck in with wild weather to contend with and to Mark for his guiding work!

988886_909713955740232_5088985359335544812_n

Alex naving off the Ben

10342961_909641232414171_1697049877728936765_n

Goggles on for Deep Cut Chimney

10470190_909641495747478_3375809900015822201_n

Abb descent

10911261_910597202318574_4002990138384235998_o

The Aonach Eagach

10922697_909641159080845_5122462923426185071_n

Deep Cut Chimney

10993484_909251689119792_2772986954539349401_n

The Buachaille

10994238_909266535784974_4441406675505811586_n

Wild on the Ben

10998089_910240545687573_2498080501068144643_n

The CIC Hut

11018918_910242439020717_533909323732466445_n

The Curtain

 

 

Great End – Window Gully

Alan was keen for some guided climbing today and to try using 2 axes for the first time on something at about grade III. With a cold night last night and morning frost we headed for Great End, the wet fresh snow that had fallen was still soft but with a crust, underneath it all though conditions were still fairly good on Window Gully, good ice and neve throughout. There was a scoured runnel to follow which helped avoid the fresh stuff. Debris below all the main gullys. Tomorrows rise in temperatures could give some dodgy snow conditions I’d think. We did the right-hand ice-fall finish and abbed back down and did the normal finish as well. Good day out and all felt very wintery again!

1723251_905574989487462_598616588010816440_n

10168042_905575386154089_6858045910163531916_n

10959324_905575512820743_6100147167229345144_n

10974369_905565949488366_2430374042023920803_o

10988300_905575719487389_3579775895726051052_n

Filming Tower Ridge – Great working with MovieIt and Trail Magazine for Salewa

We had a great weekend making a film for Salewa showing Tower Ridge and Scottish mountaineering at its best!  Steve from MovieIt was behind the camera, myself and Oli from Trail Magazine were climbing, and Tom and Pete on safety.  We had a great time on the ridge, good weather low down with an inversion, and the some more Scottish weather up at Tower Gap!  Looking very forward to seeing the film along with our other film of Skye’s Cuillin Ridge.  Impressive film work and camera lugging from Steve also! Scottish winter is a challenging place to keep a camera working and a lens clear! Great effort from all the team.

10830479_357245761133917_5651763610554455474_o

Steve soloing with 3 cameras and a walking axe!

10929079_10152714633318494_4163466497616688411_n1964944_10152714633228494_1546826366149851687_n1620741_10152714633278494_1276915321774990606_n

Ben Nevis Conditions – 11/12/13-02-15

Ivan joined us for 3 great days of guided climbing last week.  With ice conditions so good on the Ben we decided to focus our 3 days there.  After a thaw it got cold again on Tuesday night for our first day out, we decided on the classic Glovers Chimney on day 1, Ivan had looked down it from Tower Ridge last year and liked the look of it!  Day 2 had us on Green Gully, another classic in perfect condition.  And day 3 we headed for the Curtain for Ivan’s first technical 5, again, conditions were perfect and the challenge was enjoyed by Ivan!  We also had time for a quick ascent of Waterfall Gully followed by and abb descent, it was (as I’m sure you’ve guessed!) in very good condition…  A brilliant 3 days on the the Ben.  Many of the classic ice routes are looking great currently, Mega Route X, Hadrian’s Wall, Point 5, Zero, the Shroud, Boomers Requiem, etc etc… High mixed is also looking good with some new routes added this week..

10426256_903347376376890_6031913717836167683_n

The Curtain

10527576_902808443097450_3456218594066876716_n

Mega Route X

10922799_903347786376849_3059529141695309058_n

The Curtain

10959729_902807859764175_7292230304289048922_n

No.3 Gully Buttress

 

10988488_902153516496276_5316097674707893320_n

The Castle Coire

1780761_903348266376801_8718555719427381785_n

Waterfall Gully

Glovers Chimney

Glovers Chimney

 

New Routes – Wednesday – Gladstone Knot area

Headed out with Steve Ashworth of MovieIt on Wednesday to check out a steep single pitch crag he had spotted on one of his many lunch break scouting missions around the back of Langdale.  The crag was indeed steep and had some very continental looking ice fringes hanging off the lips with thin iced cracks and slabs in between.

glad18

Below the final ice fringe before easier ground

 

We immediately tried the line of the crag up the steepest part, this gave thin wall climbing on iced edges with very poor gear, though a fair bit of it (slow you down type stuff..) up to a steep and committing move through an ice fringe, this involved leaving bad gear and pulling over the fringe with a number of moves in thin ice to get the feet on again and before a screw could be possibly placed, it was hard to say if it would take a screw! Luckily it did.. Then there was a traverse on thin ice to a final overhang climbed via ice seeping from a crack system.  A brilliant route, lots packed in, steep and required all the arms could give at one point!  Many thanks Steve for the belay and brilliant photos!  Route name – Gladiator – Gladstone Knot, Langdale. Grade – who knows?!

We also climbed a really nice ice-fall on the right of the crag, this had a thinly iced and bold start up a corner followed by a steep finish, also a really nice route.  Probably V/5 ish.

A great find from Steve and brilliant photos, for more from MovieIt see – http://www.movieit.co.uk/

glad4 glad6 glad11glad16 glad22

And below the 2nd new route of the day…

glad26

 

 

 

1 2 3 18

Mark Rock Climbing Course

‘Having spend three days in the mountains with Paddy I’ve got to say he’s the best guide I’ve ever worked with. Everything was pitched perfectly for my individual level - the choice of climbs, the balance between learning and mileage on the crag, all suited my level of experience. In three days I went from never having climbed trad to leading VD, seconding HVS+ and ticking off a classic mountain route, all thanks to Paddy’s professionalism and enthusiasm. Can’t wait to get out there again!’