Thursday, 18 June 2009

Off to the Alps until September!

Yes getting ready and packing SPLUD the Talisman Bascamp for the annual staff training trip to the Alps!!! Cold and windy in the Cairngorms at the moment.
Just saw this great bike video filmed in the Scottish capital in Edinburgh at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19zFlPah-o
Well impressed with the Danny MacAskill's skill, balance, the bikes wheel strength and the music selection - enjoy, I certainly did!!! Originally from Skye I now realise I used to see him in Aviemore doing his stunts in the landscaped area opposite Tesco. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ5H03auA6I and visit Danny's website at http://www.dannymacaskill.com/
Monday, 15 June 2009

Coire an Lochain picture

Friday, 12 June 2009

Ben Nevis for charity



On Wednesday it was raining and sleeting in the east and dry and bright in the west which was ideal as Cormac and I climbed Ben Nevis! I was covering for Fi for Taylor Made Trekking. Cormac had wanted to trek up Ben Nevis in order to raise money for a hospice in Jersey where he is from. It was Cormac's first mountain climb and visit to Scotland.
He had been training in a gym since the winter, lost over two stone, and had trekked over 26 miles on flat trails but admitted that it was touch and go and probably the hardest thing he had ever done. There were not many big mountains on his home island! It looks like he's hooked on the Scottish mountains now and working out new training regimes using steps for his next challenge!
Lot's three peak charity events running too and unfortunately lots of rubbish, tissues, bottles, can, sweet wrapping etc just being dropped or buried by the side of the path.
A lot of expensive helicopter work was going on to repair and improve section of the Ben Nevis track especially just after the halfway lochain junction and the Red Burn and generally the track is a lot better than it was.
BTW Tower Ridge is clear of snow though the big gully's aren't

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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Winter skills and snowholes in June!






Fresh snow and light blizzards on the tops. The Cairngorm snow level was around 700 metres this morning.
I was looking after Fi's summer navigation course today although it felt more like a winter skills course in December.
We had to be quite careful with our route choice on the navigation legs due to the amount of fresh snow and slippery conditions underfoot. It was too dangerous to cross any steep snow covered grassy slopes or areas of old icy snow so we headed up onto the plateau from Coire an t-Sneachda via the old Fiacaill ridge snow fence track to Point 1141 and then onto the summit of Cairngorm.
A few obligatory summit photos before heading down and across to the snowhole site in Ciste Mhearid. It was good fun navigating in near whiteout conditions, avoiding the fresh cornices, crevasses, dodgy snow bridges and avalanche prone snow on our route to our summer snow hole.
Everyone was impressed by the amount and depth of old and fresh snow and the hard icy snow shelters - yes Scotland in June!!!
Friday, 5 June 2009

Fresh snow in the Cairngorms


As the post says...!
Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Stunning climbing conditions in the Highlands








The warm dry settled weather has meant ideal rock climbing conditions in the cool north facing crags and sweltering condition on some of the more sunny aspects! Many of mountain crags and their approaches are now very dry and pleasant to climb on whereas some of the lower sheltered south facing crags are a bit too hot!
We've spent the past few days climbing in the NW at Diabaig and Sgurr A' Chaorachain. The midges haven't really been a problem during the day and when climbing in the sun - in the evenings on the other hand is a different story...!
Surprisingly on Sunday we more or less had Diabaig to ourselves and climbed Routes 1 and 2. I hadn't climbed any of those routes for over 10 years and was pleased to find the rock friction was still as good as I remembered and not as polished as many other routes I've been back to. Route 1 has now been upgraded to HVS from VS. Fi led the first pitch commenting on the overgrown holly bush on the crux overhang...! The direct start above the belay on the second pitch that I fell off on has thankfully now being upgraded UK 5c rather than the original 4c in my old guide! The abseil tat and mallions are good btw. More details and photos at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/06/diabaig.html
On the Monday we walked in to have a look at Cioch Corner Superdirect on Sgurr A' Chaorachain. We didn't like the look of the wet seeps and vegetation at the start of the lower tier so we decided to climb Cioch Corner on the upper tier. We met a number of teams heading for the Cioch Nose including James G and were pleased that we would have our proposed route to ourselves.
However a route finding error without a decent guidebook description or topo saw us climbing a new direct start to the Cioch Nose through the overhangs right of the Direct Start and meeting up with the others! Great layback climbing through the roof once I'd cleared the vegetation from some gear placements on our new line! We then followed the immaculate upper sections of Cioch Nose to the top before descending the gully back to our packs.

On our descent down the gully we replaced some of the abseil tat and were amazed that folk were abbing off old rusty wires and a rotten peg when just below right in the photo there was a good solid rock flake that wasn't being used! We put some rope round the flake with a couple of the best salvaged krabs and abbed off that - see photo above. More photos can be found at http://www.marmotte.co.uk/blog/2009/06/sgurr-chaorachain-monday-1st-june.html

Unfortunately it looks like winter is returning the hill tops from later on today with a dramatic drop in temperatures!

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