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!
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!
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!
A few shots from earlier this month and late March with Lakeland Ascents and Apple Mountaineering…
Mountaineering with Tom and Charlie who are preparing for an ascent of Elbrus…
Some more great ski days too…
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!
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!
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.
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..
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.
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/
And below the 2nd new route of the day…