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!


‘Tomb of the Eagles’ Crag


Hopefully a nice new route!?


Climbing at Yesnaby on a 3 star HVS


Free hanging abb off the Old Man


Old Man crux pitch, E1


Bothy view



The excellent Latheronwheel crags


Rackwick Bay


Rackwick Bothy


The Old Man



Latheronwheels steep sandstone!


Topping out on the Old Man




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!


Naranjo South Face



Alpine start on Naranjo


Refugio at the Bulnes




South face of Naranjo


Abb descents



South Face of Naranjo



Big route on the Fresnidiello





First glimpse!


Fresnidiello and Cueto Pampin




Happy on the summit




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






Winter Courses – Could this be the end!?


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



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!


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…


Glencoe skiing



Touring in the Lakes with a top training partner!



Skiing No.2 Gully on Hellvellyn



Crux of No.2 from above



And some dry-tooling coaching..



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!


Alex naving off the Ben


Goggles on for Deep Cut Chimney


Abb descent


The Aonach Eagach


Deep Cut Chimney


The Buachaille


Wild on the Ben


The CIC Hut


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!






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.


Steve soloing with 3 cameras and a walking axe!


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..


The Curtain


Mega Route X


The Curtain


No.3 Gully Buttress



The Castle Coire


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.


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…





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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!’