Monday, March 31, 2008

Benny Beg: Sport Climbing

Me on one of the 6a.
Warm temperatures and indecision sort of made our minds up for us this morning. So with little confidence in good winter conditions, Davey and I drove past the Aviemore turn off and continued all the way to Benny Beg. A little sports climbing venue just outside Crieff. The day was spent basking in the sun and ticking the crag! The routes are pretty low grades with 4 6a and 10 5s!. The rock is funny however and it does take a route or two to get into the strange nature of the rock with flat incuts, and a few side pulls. Still the weather held out and the sun shone all day. A nice day to be back in rock shoes, and hopefully back on some trad routes before the end of the week. Be nice to get a few E points in before the Spanish trip in 3 weeks. Hope So.
Davey enjoying the sun!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Geal Charn: Nethy Bridge

Despite the onset of rain by the time Becky, Claire, and I were less than half way back from the summit of the Corbett Geal Charn just outside of Nethy Bridge, we still managed to make the most of a little sunshine this morning. The sledging down was a little less sucessful though. The walk to be fair isn’t that inspiring, mostly following a 4x4 track that seems to go to the summit. In all fairness I think this is more the sort of hill you would do as a run, but to add some interest you do pass a variety of buildings en-route.

Including an abandoned croft and a couple of shooting shelters, that make for good lunch spots!
Weather is looking not to bad for the next few days and the snowline is still quite low, so hopeful of another route or two before the rockshoes come out to play!
Becky and Claire on the top!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Nevis Range:- Back Corrie

All the lifts were up and running at the Nevis Range as Andy and I had a days fun sliding about. The main focus of the day was to grab some fun in the Back Corries. First time I have been able to get them open since Becky taught me to board a couple of years ago.

The drop in on approach from the summit tow is not for the faint hearted and it took a second or two of contemplation before dropping in off the cornice. I could see why "Yellowbelly" was used for the name of the run, as I am sure a few others have stood at the top, thinking "should I shouldn’t I". The first 40-50mts is fairly steep before levelling out to a nice run, with untouched powder.
After lunch we headed over to the summit cairn to ski down summit gully, passing a couple of climbers who had done Whiteshark and were about to ab back into easy gully. They reported soft crudy snow ice, but also said conditions were good?~?
Anyway after use of map and compass, (Andy was obviously in the scouts to bring these on a day of lift served action), we simply couldn’t be 100% sure we were at the top of Summit gully, so the committing drop in was just a bit too much. So we hoofed back over to the lifts to make
the most of the Afternoon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Applecross- Meall Gorm

Turquoise Gully our route for the day!

A good weather forecast was enough to get me out on the hill today, Davey and I headed upto Meall Gorm on the left side of the Bealach na Ba Road in Applecross. When we arrived at 8am the road was closed, due to drifting snow just past the Kisshorn Junction.
We forced the car as far up the pass as we could, but was still left with a good hours walk up the road. So much for Scotland’s most accessible winter climbs.

Conditions were far from perfect with the dry powder blown off the buttress and 10ft deep in the gullies. Anyway plans for anything difficult, were soon out the window and we went for a mountaineering romp up a ** III gully called Turquoise gully. The first pitch went from 10ft deep powder to unconsolidated and broken ice to a little neve, from then on it was a romp to the top.
Things warmed up as the day went on and I think a day or two of slightly warmer weather, would help to settle things down. With this much powder about it would be criminal not be skiing really, so that’s the plan for tomorrow.
The snow covered road leading upto Bealach na Ba.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Scheffau Austria 2008.

We have just had a very good week in Austria with fresh snow everyday! We arrived back to a snowy UK too, so time to pack the sack and head off into the hills in search of a few routes I think.
However first things first I also have a week of 3 course meals to work off!
Hopefully some climbing posts to follow during the easter holidays before returning to work under the guise of an English teacher! Should be fun.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fantastic day on Beinn Eighe.

Sometimes it easy to over complicate these things with long descriptions and wordy accounts of days out. So as today’s outing into Beinn Eighe (Coire Mhic Fhearchair) and onto Fight or Flight (** V 6) on West Fuselage Wall with Pete was simply.
“Bloody Fantastic”
I will let the pictures tell the story.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Windy tales from the Cairngorms.

Today was one of those if only days. We headed off into the Coire an t-sneachda, in the hope of grabbing a route or two before the worsening weather set in this afternoon. Two flaws in this early start plan, one the car couldn’t get up the hill till the plough had been up a couple of times and being first in after a bit of snow, spells- trail breaking!
Anyway we were at a very very windy stretcher box by 730 to 8. With spindrift all around and a strong wind-chill, and even stronger wind neither of us really fancied hanging around in this coire so we went in search of better conditions in Loch Avon valley.
The snow was good underfoot with a firm feel to it. The goat track area was well banked out and with good snow we were soon on the top.
At the top of Stag rocks in the Loch Avon valley, we could see the Shelter stone and Carn Etchachan looked good, but our second objective, one of the routes along the wall of diagonal gully were in the teeth of the strong Northerlies blowing over the top.

As a result the routes would disappear under a plume of spindrift. The descent looked decidedly dodgy too with a good two to three feet of windblown powder and a nice slab forming. Down the length of the gully you could see debris from stuff that looked like it had released this morning, so we opted to continue our walk and explore the plateau, and head off back via Cairn Gorm. On the way down the skiing looked good and out of the wind the sun was warm and provided us a bit of respite from a bitter wind-chill. All in all a bit of fitness gained and a bit more of a clue of conditions in the Northern Cairngorms, so a lot of positives out of the day. Lets see what the North West yields tomorrow!