Monday, 29 September 2014

All Good Things...

It's been an outstanding Summer in Lochaber this year and I've enjoyed some fantastic days out over the last couple of weeks.

I had a superb day out with Joe and Ruth, working for Seren Ventures on Ben Nevis. We decided to go and explore some of the plateau and I had the chance to share some of what I'd learned during the North Face Survey. I took the guys to the top of no.4 and no.3 gully before heading onto the summit

Next up was another blue sky day with Jon and Dave from the USA. It was great to show Scotland at it's best to the two chaps and we had a smashing day out.

 I've guided clients of all different ages and abilities but Keith who'll be 78 years old in a couple of months really impressed and inspired me when we headed up the Ben. The mountain was very quiet (possibly due to a rather big referendum that coincided with our day out!) and Keith made superb progress and reached the summit in 3 hours 45min. I hope I'll still be managing that in my 70's! A truly outstanding effort and a memorable day for me.

I had 2 days booked with Sandra, Amanda, Fiona and Mark, with a day off for the team in between, With the forecast being quite changeable but things looking not too bad, we decided to head up the Ben via the CMD arete first. Our gamble paid off and we had some great views during the first part of our day.

 I was back up the CMD Arete the next day, as part of the Carpe Diem ("Seize the Day") Project that was launched at the Fort William Mountain Festival. The project was run through the Nevis Landscape Partnership. We met at Achintee for a quick photo shoot before myself,  Kev, Craig and our 3 energetic volunteers Edith, Brodie and David, headed up to Carn Mor Dearg and along the Arete. The aim was to clear the rubbish away from the summit of the Ben whilst enjoying one of the many spectacular routes to the top. Some of our litter finds were grim but it was nice to leave the mountain looking a good bit tidier than when we'd arrived

A small amount of the rubbish collected

 The following day, I was back out with Sandra and the team and we headed into Glen Nevis on an amazing early Autumn day. First up was Sgurr a Mhaim before we headed along the Devil's Ridge, across to Stob Ban before finishing up on Mullach nan Correan. A healthy 5 Munros in the bag over the two days for the team and two thoroughly enjoyable days out for me

 I enjoyed a few days off last week and the fanily headed to Skye for a short break. Mixed weather on our first day but I managed to enjoy a stunning sunrise when going for a run up to Ben Tianavaig, a great little hill that offers superb views for a fairly small amount of effort.

With the days getting a bit shorter now, my mind is definitely thinking about Winter. What an amazing Summer it's been, but all good things come to an end...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Summer hangs on...

A lack of blogging usually means I've been out on the hill a lot and that's certainly been the case over the last couple of weeks. 

I had an enjoyable day on the Ben with Howard and his daughter Isobel. Howard had completed the 3 peaks challenge earlier this year so we had a more leisurely day and also went plant spotting for some of the rarer plants I'd learned about during the North Face Survey.
Next up for me was a smashing four days on the Ben with brilliant blue skies!
To kick things off I was out with Wilma and Maggie who put in a fantastic performance.

This was followed by a day out with Anne, Ian, Keith, Will, Evie and Ollie. Whilst the sun was out, the wind was bitter on top but we still had a great day out.

Another smashing day out with Pam and Michael and again, we took my new favourite detour towards no.4 gully and along the corrie rim to the summit.

Day 4 on the Ben was on the CMD arete and Rachel and I had a superb day enjoying the finest walking route to the summit of the Ben. Some stags were even kind enough to pose for us!

I had an MIA teaching day with Ollie, Evie and Will down in Polldubh and got the guys on their first ever multi-pitch climb and abseil.

It was time for me to head North for the week after all this and I headed to Ullapool to work for Wilderness Scotland on their 'Wilds of Assynt' trip. 
An absolutely outstanding week in which we managed to climb Suilven, Cul Mor, Quinag, Stac Pollaidh, Ben Mor Coigach and the Fiddler. Many thanks to Faith, Martin and Russell for making it a thoroughly enjoyable week.

Corrieshalloch Gorge en route to Ullapool

Cul Beag from Cul Mor

The Wall on Suilven

On Quinag

Stac Pollaidh

Ben Mor Coigach

The Fiddler

Inside the Bone Caves

Rogie Falls
Back home again and I was on the Ben working for Seren Ventures. It was a  bit of a misty day but I had great chat with Zena, Andrew, Christine, Janet and Paul and it was great performance by the team from Yorkshire. This was the same day that the Ben Race was on so the team were treated to some thrills and spills as the runners made short work of the Ben!

It had seemed like a long time since I'd been out doing some personal climbing so Andy and I headed to the quiet side of the Buachaille in Glencoe for an adventure. The aim for the day was a couple of routes on Blackmount Buttres, a crag that isn't very easy to get to! We scrambled up the start of the Chasm to Crowberry traverse, followed by a slightly wet 90m V. Diff chimney to arrive at the base of the crag. After climbing some enjoyably steep rock for VS on Whispering Grooves (VS 4c***) and Flamingo (VS 4c**), we continued on and descended Curved Ridge, a proper mountaineering day out!

An iconic shadow of an iconic mountain!
On Friday I had my first day out with this years new Degree students at WHC. We had a smashing day in Glen Roy covering various aspects of navigation and it was a very promising start for some of our future instuctors!

To bring things up to date, Glenda was back out guiding yesterday with Charlene from the US and Karrie from Canada. Charlene was celebrating being 70 years old in style by climbing the UK's highest peak- inspiring stuff!