Sunday, 22 December 2013

End of year round up.

A quick round of the last week few weeks. I spent some more days working for the West Highland College with the 1st year degree students and the ACOL (advanced certificate in outdoor leadership). We had some great days looking at navigation and basic mountain skills in Glen Roy and near Kinlochleven.



Shortly after this, Andy and I took a we trip up into Coire Na Ciste with a view to checking out the conditions. The thaw had been pretty sustained at the point so only the easy gullies were complete and there were signs of avalanche and rock debris all over the corrie. 

Last weekend I was working for Maximum Adventure. Unfortunately, the weather forecast was not too helpful on the Saturday, with winds gusting 90mph. To get to the existing snow at 900m on the Ben would have been extremely difficult at best so we had a day in the Ice Factor covering various aspects of winter walking including trip and route planning, personal organisation, equipment use and selection as well as quick wander in crampons in the Ice wall.
The Sunday forecast showed some very strong winds- gusting 120mph- to arrive around midday. Despite an early start and some stunning views, we made it as far as corner one on the zig zags (750m) before losing the ability to stand upright in the wind! A character building walk down saw us drying off over a hot drink in the Ben Nevis Inn. A great performance by the team, just unlucky with the weather this time!

Since last week, the freezing level has lowered and we've been battered with lots of winter storms. Reports suggest ice is building well on the Ben so things are looking really promising for a great start to 2014! 
This has been a truly outstanding year for me, not only becoming a dad but also achieving lot of long term climbing goals (and a few injuries added in!).Thanks to my climbing partners for helping me to reach them. 
This will be the last blog post of 2013 so all the best for the New Year and here's hoping for a good season of winter climbing.