Monday, 25 November 2013

Some mileage

This time of year can be a bit hit or miss with winter climbing so to increase my base of fitness for winter I've had a couple of trips out hill walking.

On Saturday I headed up to Glenfinnan to do the Corryhully horseshoe. A pleasant cycle into the bothy saved a bit if time before tackling the steady climb to start the route. Pretty claggy for most of the day and a nice bit of navigation practice to sharpen the skills for when really needed! This was a smashing route, the ridge felt very grand indeed. A lot of soft snow that required wading in places, so crampons and axe stayed in the bag.

 Today I was back in Glenfinnan with John. We decided to head up to the Corbett, Sgurr an Utha as neither of us had been here before. Another great little hill, it felt very remote despite being so close to the road. Rough walking with some ice and soft snow in places and another cracking day out.

It look like we're set for a thaw over the next few days before cooling down at the end of the week.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Stunning day on Beinn Bhan

Today was Glenda's first day out in the hills since giving birth to Robin almost 10 months ago!

She headed up Beinn Bhan in Glen Loy, a great wee hill off the beaten track.

She chose a stunning day to head back to the hills with great views, icy snow underfoot and a
cold wind.

The North Face of the Ben getting it's Winter coat

Friday, 15 November 2013

Back in the office

Yesterday and today Max and I were working for West Highland College with the First Year ATM Degree students. The purpose of the day was to go over some navigation and basic hill skills.
Yesterday we headed out amongst the hills just above Kinlochleven. Due to the high winds forecast we stayed fairly low and managed to avoid get blown around too much. The students did really well, demonstrating some good skills- the outdoor instructors of the future!

Back in the office :)

Hard at work!

 Today we headed up to Glen Roy for a similar day. I hadn't been to the East side of the Glen before but it was fantastic for getting off the track and finding some really good features to test the navigation. Well done again to the students today, some more good performances!

Enjoying a well deserved food stop!

Almost back at the bus!
A bit of fresh snow on the Mamores visible but a fair bit of rain and warmer temperatures today.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Snowy on Ledge Route

After having a good day out in Glencoe on Wednesday and seeing the great forecast, I couldn't resist having a blast up the Ben this morning. Fantastic weather made it an absolute pleasure to be out. LOTS of snow on the Ben today, but thankfully some nice helpful footprints on Ledge Route ( thanks Jamie and Mark!).

Ledge Route from Lochaber Guides on Vimeo.
The ridge was absolutely plastered in snow so it was more akin to wading than climbing but still great fun.

There were a couple of tracks going down the Red Burn but on a shear test I found a weak layer underneath the superficial powder and more consolidated snow so decided to head down the Zig Zags. There was no path at all on the Zig Zags until just after corner 3 on descent so anybody heading up this week should bear that in mind. Had the GoPro out for a play again today!

All in all, a great day to back on the Ben, so far so good with the recovering back injury. Here's hoping for a productive winter!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Good to get out!

So its been 6 weeks since my climbing injury, physio has been going well and on Wednesday Kev and I decided to head out to test our recovering bodies with a day in the mountains. We chose the very modest objective of Buachaille Etive Beag which fitted the bill as a wee bit of a challenge but nothing too strenuous.
The forecast didn't really look like shifting from the November monsoon season here in Lochaber but we were pleasantly surprised by a few glimpses of blue sky.
A short bit of early winter faffing and we were away up the hill. It felt great to be back out, feeling that cold wind on the face and fresh snow underfoot. We headed up Stob Dubh trying (unsuccessfully) to avoid some of the thigh deep drifts on the way up. Within a fairly short time we were both on our first post-injury/surgery Munro top.

On the descent there were a few twinges of pain in my back and Kev's ankle was grumbling too. Despite that, we headed down to the Ice factor for a quick blast on the ice wall.  Climbing again on ice felt surprisingly strange so a good bit of mileage is needed before pushing the winter climbing.

Still a bit to go to get back to normal but definitely feeling it's much closer now. An absolutely great feeling of freedom to be back out in the hills, 6 weeks has seemed long enough!