Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Beinn Eighe and The Pass of Ballater.

Becky and I had a nice walk over the black carls of Beinn Eighe on Saturday, one of the few days in the last month it hasn't been raining. Yesterday I drove out to the Pass of Ballater to meet Andy. I forget how quality this crag is, we did a few very good routes. I was pleased with the onsight of Stinker and Little Cenotaph, and equally dissapointed at getting completly spanked by Fingerwrecker.

Beinn Eighe

On the South West Ridge of Creag Dhubh Beinn Eighe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sea Cliffs, wet mountain crags and silly runouts!

A busy week. It started with a trip to the Camel with Rich and Andy, these two looking very strong on their project, which no doubt will fall pretty soon.
I'm told the new line is somewhere in the 8a+ region, and with a redpoint attempt in two clean overlaping halves, it will be no longer than a couple of more fully rested attempts before these two have it the bag. My efforts were concentrated on the Stone of Destiny, a fantastic route and perhaps the best sports route in Scotland at 6c+? A pretty poor effort on the redpoint saw me quit after the first 5clips, especially poor as I had just done the route clean with the security of the top rope.

With a reasonable mid week forecast, and the school holidays in full swing Andy and I headed over to Skye. Day 1 turned out to be sea cliff day, dodging the showers we climbed the outrageous Spantastic that takes the obvious thin pillar above the tunnel here.

The outrageous Spantastic.

How much longer it will be standing is another question and I certainly felt it shake a little when a big wave booms in. Fortunately the gear is on the rock above the Pillar!!

We then headed south to the magical Kilt Rock where Andy dispatched the classic Grey Panther in fine style. What a route, as much gear as you can carry, fantastic rock and sustained for all 45Mt's of the pitch. A true contender for best single pitch route in Scotland at E1 I reckon. With the showers set to continue the next day we cut our losses and headed back to Inverness.

Grey Panther
Yesterday the sun came out once more which allowed for a very quick raid into Binnein Shaus in and out in under 5 hours. The Keep was the objective and despite being a little scrappy, and the ridiculously runout second pitch (25Mt's without any gear? Another good lead Andy!!), we had fun and ticked another route in the sun.

The views and the run out pitch2

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Needle: Shelterstone.

Yesterday, saw Andy and I head over into Loch Avon in the Northern Cairngorms and tick the utterly fantastic Needle, well worth the 4* for the top needle crack/corner pitch alone. A route well worthy of the "Classic" name tag banded around. By all accounts with tales of flash flooding in Drumochter and Inverness, we were very lucky with the weather, with warm winds and the odd cooling cloud to keep things perfect.
The route makes you smile for 265 mts including the micro caving at the top to thread the needle itself. All the pitches are varied, well protected and contain quality climbing, with the only the "crack for thin fingers" perhaps suffering a little, from a bit of Polish. Still no complaints. A thoroughly fantastic day on the hill.

The beautiful Loch Avon.

Start of pitch 2 with 230mts still to go!

The brilliant top corner/crack.

Andy "Threading the Needle", the gap under this chockstone is pretty tight, a real jigsaw puzzle to fit yourself through.

The upper half of the route in the evening sunshine.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June: A few highlights.

Wow that's June "Been and Gone" as they say. It felt like I perhaps hadn't done a great deal, other than DIY, new windows, garage door, utillity room now finished. Yet sorting out the pics, it doesn't seem it has been too much of a wash out.

It started with Becky, Juliana, Peter and I, making a weekend out of cycling the Dava way, this is the old dissused railway line that runs from Grantown on Spey to the Coast. Two days of Hardwork as we set off and returned to Inverness.

On the Dava way.

A few days later Andy, Charlie, and I hit the Old Man of Hoy in a day raid from Inverness, well not quite but we managed to top out 12hours after leaving home, and return the next morning via a midnight walk over the Island. A truly magical route and the achievement feels so much more than than the sum of its parts.

Somehow the Fulmars managed to miss me, but the other two got a bit of a fishy soaking, including one that soaked Andy whilst it was in mid flight, which I could'nt help but laugh at. It has to be said the rock itself is pretty intimidating, when you stand at the bottom with waves crashing, birds all over the place, and a crick in the neck as you strain to see the top. However we were up and down with minimal fuss.

Other highlights include a fantastic day on Skye getting in some alpine training, moving together on the three classic routes, below, upto and above the Cioch. With a brief pause for a sandwich on Scotlands best picnic spot.

Davy and I went up the Cioch nose in Applecross, the local crags have had a bit of revitalisation with my discovery of Tynrich Slabs.

Becky and I had a very wet weekend attempting to go sport climbing, Whilst the rest of the country basked in glorious sunshine we sat under a blanket of drizzle! Still we managed a few routes.

Finally the month finished with the Ben in perfect condition yesterday, Centurion providing the days entertainment, and some very hard pitches for the grade, or maybe I was just having a bad day? Still Andy "Opted!" to be rope gun for the crux pitch which was harder than I anticipated. Despite climbing like a fish in a pair of badly fitting Scarpas, it was worth it, just to see that place without a cloud, the view has been a long time comming.

So all in all a few things done this month.