Category Archives: Torridon

Winter

Finally now that winter is drawing to a close I have time to look at some of the photos from the last couple of months.  From my return to Scotland in early February the skiing and winter climbing seasons have been truly spectacular.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The themes for my winter have definitely been climbing routes that I never thought I would (for various reasons) and climbing routes that were only just in condition (while everyone else seemed to always be on routes in perfect condtions!).  Above a photo taken by Joe Rochford of me leading the big ice pitch of Raeburns Buttress direct a rarely climbed ice route to the right of Boomers Requiem.

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Climbing as a 4.  Very shortly after getting back Malcy, Chucky, Scott and I headed to the Bridge of Orchy Hills to climb “Farenheit 451”.  I mainly didnt think I would ever climb it because of how busy it gets.  Turns out if you climb it just after it forms on a bad weather day theres no queues.  This was also the start of another of my winter themes – Hot chocolate and chips in the Bridge of Orchy hotel.

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One of my funner weeks this winter was with Mel and Sharna who mainly sung songs from Frozen on the belays or their own special rendition of “If you like it then you should have put a sling on it”.  We had an amazing week getting to lots of different venues around Lochaber and reviewing the hot chocolates of a variety of hotels.

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Abseiling of the arch of Church Door buttress.  Church Door on Bidean Nam Bian is one of my favourite crags it was amazing to climb Crypt route with my clients on one of the stormiest days of the season.

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Brian on the second pitch of “Gully of the Gods” on Beinn Bhan.  We woke up on Skye this morning to heavy rain – funny when one of your dream routes becomes a consolation prize.

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Mark Chambers and Chucky soloing the first section of the infamous “Crab Crawl” on Creag Meagidh.  We had high hopes for this but again changed from one brilliant objective to another.  We only did the first 5th of Crab Crawl (400m!) before we decided to do “Smiths Route” instead.

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It wouldn’t be winter without the hot aches.  Rachel had just finished two weeks of nights as a doctor but still insisted we go and climb ice in the pouring rain.  She paid for it (as did I) with some pretty bad Hot Aches and a lot of wet kit.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, Buachille Etive Mor, Climbing, Creag Meagidh, Creag Meagidh Ice Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |

Nice weather for Ducks

For the time that I lived overseas I pictured living back in Scotland getting out to some of the stunning places around the west coast, blue skies, the odd cloud, the odd bit of wind, the odd midge.  It seems that I failed to picture summers like the one we’re having.  Overcast, damp, midgy.  I have long believed that you can always find the right condiditons for your adventure sport in Scotland if you just look hard enough and drive far enough.  This summer I have spent time in a huge variety of places – Thurso and the North Coast, Ullapool, Skye, Fort William, Inverness, Ardgour, Torridon, Cairngorms and everywhere seems the same.  July has been as bad as the rest of the months for weather but its still hard to complain as the hard won “good days” feel all the better.  It could also be that Hannah and I just got back from 8 days in Vratsa, Bulgaria where the temperature sat in the upper 20s to lower 30s and only rained once.
IMG_2165 Desperation set in and Adam and I headed for “Bullroar” on Ben Nevis.  The famously wet crux pitches were indeed wet and I got colder than I did all winter.  Above and Below – Adam leading the long traverse pitch.IMG_2169IMG_4954A lot of July saw me working in Inverness for Adventure Training Scotland.  Even with the ability to go anywhere it was still pretty hard to find “good” weather.  Above – my two co-instructors Johannes and Lawrie staring at the only bright bit of cloud from our camp in Coire Lagan.  IMG_0889Descending from Sgurr Mhic Choinnich in the mist.  We had been deliberating whether to go up but were rewarded with stunning views back down to the coire and out to sea.

IMG_4966_1Happy to be off the ridge!IMG_4970A forecast with a low chance of precipitation but a high chance of midgies (low wind) saw Adam and I (followed poorly by Scott, Josh and Kirsty) head up to one of my favourite spots – the South Wall of Garbh Bheinn.  Above – the always stunning view from the corran ferry.IMG_4986_1Adam starting up Excalibur.  IMG_5007A view back across at Liam Ingram on “The Pincer” from the belay of “The Peeler”

Next up it was off to Vratsa in Bulgaria with Hannah.  Hannah at the top of “Bezengi” Tower with the central wall behind.
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Hannah making the traverse out to the West ridge of the dogs tooth.IMG_2194Limestone everywhere.IMG_5018The view from our balcony.  So much climbing so close to where we were staying meant lots of time to chill out and samply some Bulgarian food as well.
IMG_5024 In the “big cave”.  We headed up here for a look as there are some incredibly hard routes that climb inside this.  The scope for new lines in this cave is absolutely unbelievable though probably with an entry grade of about 7c+IMG_5036We also went and checked out the show cave at Ledenika.  Well worth a visit if only for the weird 1980s style light show on the tour.

Next up – a quick turnaround for me, out to South Africa to meet a group of students and then head to Northern India with them.  Best get packing!

Also posted in ali rose, Ben Nevis, Climbing, Climbing Bulgaria, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scotland climbing, Skye, Uncategorized, Vratsa Climbing

The Rest of January

January has been a whirlwind month of catching p with old friends, seeing family and the odd trip into the mountains. Thanks everyone for your hospitality and help over the last six weeks, I am off to China and Hong Kong on Friday (with a brief stop in Holland) and will be back in Scotland in April.
A few photos of the last couple of weeks.

Having driven down from Torridon to sort out my chinese visa I drove back up on the promise of good weather. This photo was taken just before dawn of some glacial erratics leading away towards Sgurr Ruadh with the clouds in the valley below.
The night before I spent in this bothie in Coire Fionaraich.
From the summit of Sgurr Ruadh looking back at Meal Chean Dearg and Beinn Damh (the sea loch on the right is the head of Loch Torridon)
The Torridon Ridges (about an hour before sunrise) L-R Beinn Alligan, Liatach and Beinn Eighe.
Skiing, Scottish style – A classic shot from early January. Toby, Ally and Ruaridh checking the map down the valley at Spittal of Glenshee.
Ally Ross out in front on the way up Ben Tuilieachan above the spittal of glenshee.
Summit cairn with rime ice.
Tobi, Ali (hidden behind), Ruaridh and Louisa skinning up the ridge in the very strong wind.
Two Skiers silhouted on the way up the ridge.

Next update should be from Lijiang, Western China
Also posted in bothy, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Scottish Skiing