Sunday, 1 November 2015

Moving forward

It's definitely been a case of 'better late than never' with the weather this Summer. Whilst the first part of the Summer was pretty grim September and October have been outstanding with lots of days of amazing weather.

I took the opportunity to get some more teaching climbing days logged towards my MIA reassessment day in Spring. One thing I wanted to work on was working with students at quite different stages in their climbing careers. This worked out really well as I had some very willing and enthusiastic students from West Highland College who were keen to get out. It was very rewarding to help some of them take their first steps on the journey to climbing outside as well as helping those who were ready to get properly on the sharp end for the first time. Another reminder to me of why the hard work will be worth it in the long run!Thanks to everyone who came along!

With a few extra days off this time of year, Andy and headed up North East Buttress on the Ben. I hadn't done this in Summer before so it was nice to do a different route on the Ben. There was a little bit of ice forming on some of the shadier places giving the first hints that Winter is on it's way...
Sunrise in a chilly Coire leis

 I had a cracking day on the CMD arete with Robert from the US. Robert had done a fair bit of hiking in States before and comes over to Scotland on business quite a lot so was keen to head up to the Highlands. The weather was pretty much as good as it gets!

Michael and his daughter Khamilla were over on holiday from Singapore and decided to do a bit of climbing and walking whilst in the area. Our first day saw us tackling a number of routes in Glen Nevis and doing an abseil. A fantastic effort from the father and daughter team!

Our next day gave the arms a rest and worked the legs a bit more as we walked to Steall Falls and then up Coire Giubhsachan and Meall Cumhann (698m). Some great Autumn colours at the moment in the Glen and nice to head off the beaten track for a bit.

Next up was a really enjoyable 2 day expedition with some of the first year students at West Highland College. Gill and I took our group to camp just behind Binnean Shaus. After pitching the tents in breezy conditions, we headed up the hill to bag Geal Carn, a new Munro for me. Our route choice turned out to be spot on as a fairly sheltered approach got us to the summit. Once there, stepping over to the other side of the hill exposed us to the 60-70mph winds that had been forecast so it was a return down the same way back to camp.
Enjoy a breather on Geal Carn

I've used traditional gas stoves for a while so I was keen to test out my new MSR Windboiler stove. I have to say, it performed very well especially with the breezy conditions we had. The only real downside is that there isn't a self igniter so it means I still had to carry a lighter. Still, getting a brew going in a couple of minutes was an definite upgrade for me!

Day 2 and we headed back out to the buses after packing up camp. We did this whilst taking in another Munro, Creag Pitridh. Another windy day on top and we had a bit of a battle with the wind as we descended  off the ridge. A great effort from the students and nice to have two dry days!

Breezy on Creag Pitridh!

Ellen from Australia has been doing a fair bit of travelling in Scotland recently and was keen to see the best side of Ben Nevis so we headed out to get a view of the North Face. The cloud was kind to us and moved away to reveal most of the mountain just as we arrived at the CIC hut. A good dusting of snow was visible too which was exciting...

With shorter days upon us now, it seems like the wait for Winter will not be too long...