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Yesterday I was working for Abacus Mountaineering and at 2pm Rob, Charlie, Brad and myself set off up Ben Nevis. The 3 lads aim was to summit Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24hrs to raise money for the recent Philippines disaster, a worthy idea and with over $5,000 already raised, an idea they were keen to complete. With calves burning and the light fading, sadly Brad had to make the difficult choice to turn back. Once this had been agreed Rob, Charlie and myself put our head torches on, changed up a gear, charged up the remaining zigzags on the Pony track and did what felt like a speed navigation test across the summit plateau, spent 2 minutes on the summit before racing back down again.
Once back at their car, there was no time to lose and I waved them off as they sped South to the Lake District for summit 2, no doubt giving their weary legs a pep talk on the way. They should hopefully finish summit 3, Snowdon at 2pm today.
And finally, for me, it begins! Having missed the first few flurries of winter, I was chomping at the bit to get out, so this morning saw fellow MICs (and good friends) Rich, Kenny, Scott and I heading eastwards to check out Creagan Cha-no in the Cairngorms, a crag that none of us had visited before.
The approach, whilst short, was through soft, crusty snow, so we were thankful that there was a bit of a trail leading to the top of the crag. It was here, whilst gearing up that Scott realised that he’d forgotten his crampons, so offered to be camera man for the day (well half, before the lure of a coffee, cake and warmth became too much). So, Kenny Rich and I down-climbed Recovery Gully, so that Kenny could lead Anvil Corner VI,6 in one 40m pitch. The climbing was reasonably steep and sustained, but with good hooks, gear and opportunities to bridge, it made for a nice intro to the crag.
In order to make the most of the day, we then descended Recovery Gully again, and made our way round to Arch Enemy V,5, which Rich and I led in two shortish pitches. Again, the climb offered great hooks throughout, and interesting moves but on topping out, it was clear that the freezing level too had just topped out, so with two routes in the bag, we called it a (good) day.
I must also thank Lowe Alpine for giving me the opportunity to test their gear, and for keeping me dry and warm today.
Following on from the success of events in years gone by The Ice Factor are delighted to be holding the first ‘Festival of Ice’. The event is designed to be a weekend dedicated to the weird and wonderful world of winter climbing. With competition, lectures and master classes it is set to be a fantastic weekend.
On the Saturday (2nd November) there will be a Drytooling Competition which will be held at the centre utilising the indoor walls, outdoor climbing tower and of course the indoor ice wall. That evening Simon Yearsley will be giving a talk about winter new routing in Scotland. This is followed by a party and some free giveaways. The talk is free but its in aid of Climbers Against Cancer so please give a donation on the door.
On the Sunday (3rd November), Dave Macleod will be running a number of masterclass workshops and giving a lecture, which will definitely hone your skills & inspire. Again, Dave will be donating some of the money will be donated to Climbers Against Cancer.
It’s been a very busy past couple of months, with the final fews days of winter climbing work (Indicator Wall being the last, on April 19th), numerous days of mountaineering on Skye and on Ben Nevis, I also enjoyed a great ski touring trip to the Ecrins Alps with Rich Bentley, whilst Han was out ski touring in Norway, we’ve moved into into our new house in Corpach and then to top it all off, we’re now in the Spanish Pyrenees, to work this summer for a very good friend of mine, Phil James, who runs Hike Pyrenees.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little disappointed with the wild weather we’ve had out in the Spanish Pyrenees so far, including some of the worst rainfall for 30 years or so, but summer has finally arrived, and with plenty of snow still lying on the higher mountains, the panoramas are fantastic! The weather only really played ball on our of our day’s off, during which we managed a day of sports climbing at Foradada del Toscar.
Much of the guiding has been in the Valle De Tena, but last week we spent the week in the 1km deep Ordesa Valley, which must be one of the most impressive canyons in Europe. Our final day was a high level trek along the rim of the valley, giving us brilliant views of Las Treseroles (The 3 Sisters), comprising of the 3000m peaks of Cilindro, Monte Perdido and Anisclo.
Today, we both enjoyed a day off, and so made the most of it by heading over to France and bouldering at the scenic Pont de Camps. It’s a brilliant spot, situated next to the River, and surrounded by high peaks, with 30 or so Andesite boulders, and has been developed in a similar manner to Font, with colours marking problems. Its well worth stopping off at if you is in this neck of the woods!
Today I was out with Mark, who has a forthcoming trip to Ama Dablam, and as part of his training, he was keen to climb Tower Ridge in winter. We certainly found winter on Tower Ridge today, as it was plastered from bottom to top in excellent neve and ice, enabling very swift progress with solid first time axe placements and even the opportunity to place an ice screw or two! We took in an icy groove low down, which gave a fun, steeper step of ice before continuing on the normal route.
What was just as amazing as the route, was that we were the only team on the ridge today, as it seemed that most teams had ventured into Observatory Gully to sample some of the classic ice routes, plus a few teams on various routes in Coire na Ciste (Garadh Gully, Raeburn’s Easy Route, Glover’s Chimney and Expert’s Choice). We descended a very snowed up Ledge Route, which added further interest to an already great day.
November 24th, 2013
November 22nd, 2013
October 31st, 2013
June 23rd, 2013
April 6th, 2013