Saturday, 3 June 2017

Summer so far... (part one)

This year's summer work kicked off with a really fun and interesting Rock Climbing Rescues course with 3rd year Adventure Tourism students at West Highland College. Over the 4 days we looked at all sorts of problems that can occur when rock climbing including managing (and avoiding) tangles when climbing as a three, simple hoists and lowers past knots and damaged bits of rope. We then built up to some bigger scenarios that the students had to manage and then write an assignment on their decision making process.
Locking of belay plates and abseiling past a knot

An unassisted hoist in action
That face says it all! Escaping the system with out of reach anchors...

Rebecca cruising up Sheep Fank Wall

Problem solved!

Joe to the rescue! Rescuing an unconscious casualty on a multi-pitch climb

I had the pleasure of heading out with Gary and Ben for a half day's teaching climbing in Glen Nevis. We tackled Pinnacle Ridge and Right Wall on Styx Buttress looking at building belays and stance management on multi-pitch climbs.  Great effort guys!

 Prashant has been a regular client over the last few years and he was back this time to tackle some more mountaineering. I headed up Lagangarbh Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mor to let Prashant sample a less well travelled scramble in Glencoe.

Andy was out with the rest of Prashant's friends giving them an introduction to the Scottish hills on Buachaille Etive Beag. We then headed out as a bigger team on the SW Ridge of Meall Cumhann to give the team a feel for some scrambling (and excellent views).

 Hannah, Andy and I had a super fun day on the Ben Nevis Mountain Track with Adam and his 14 friends. A superb performance from group saw everyone battling onto the summit in 50mph winds before a hasty retreat back down the mountain!

 Having not had a lot of opportunities for personal climbing yet, with a  cracking spell of good weather, Andy and I headed to Creag Dubh to tick off a few of the classics. We climbed King Bee Direct (HVS 5a), Tip Off (VS 4c) and Brute (VS 5a). Warm rock, climbing in a t-shirt and no midges- perfect!
 Seizing a free morning, I took Robin for a quick trip up Scimitar Ridge in Glen Nevis. He made it all look very easy and we were back down for a picnic in no time at all! Scrambling definitely seems to be a fantastic way to get the kids into climbing and we'll need to step it up a bit for the next adventure!

Daddy and Robin selfie!
 Working on National Governing Body Awards (NGB's) has become something I really enjoy and I was working with SPA Provider Alan Halewood on an SPA training course for West Highland College. We visited Kingussie Crag on the first day to look at personal climbing followed by another dry day in Glen Nevis at Polldubh
Ross on Finale (VD), Kingussie

Some warm up games and bouldering at Polldubh

Rigging at SW Buttress
 Sometimes things just all fall into place and my trip to Skye at the start of May was one of those times. Malcolm had booked to do a Cuillin Ridge Traverse way back in October. Predicting dry weather even a few days before can be virtually impossible sometimes so booking some dates so far in advance is always a bit of a gamble. It paid off this time and we had 2 days of perfect weather for the UK's best mountaineering expedition. With the superb forecast we decided to add to the adventure by taking the boat from Elgol into Loch Coruisk and head up Gars-Bheinn from there. This adds an extra element of excitement to an already epic couple of days.

Abseiling into the TD gap which was bone dry!

About to tackle the TD gap

Looking towards the In Pinn
 We made excellent progress. Malcolm is an experienced scrambler and so we didn't need to use the rope very much at all. This allowed us to get a great pace and cover ground at a good speed. The dry weather also allowed us to tackle the hardest technical climb on the ridge, the TD gap. What it did mean was that water was hard to find... At the end of our first day, we'd made it as far as An Dorus and we dropped into the Coire to get our water refilled and decided to bivvy there on a flattish grassy area. This meant a short climb back up to the ridge the next day but after a decent sleep and plenty of food and rehydration, it felt like a very good call.

Malcolm enjoying the exposure on the W ridge of Sgurr nan Gillean

Job done- Sgurr nan Gillean!

 Day 2 went by very quickly and after the absorbing middle section of the ridge over the 4 tops of Sgurr a Mhadaidh and Bidien Druim nan Ramh we found ourselves standing on Sgurr nan Gillean by 1300hrs. Well done for a sterling effort Malcolm and I hope the traverse will be something to remember for a long time!