Tag Archives: mountainstothesea

Halley Christmas

A bit late on Decembers blog!  I’ve had a really varied season so far with the biggest difference getting to spend time at BAS’s other Antarctic Research Station – Halley VI.  Halley has been in the news a lot over the last couple of years as some previously dormant cracks started opening up in the Brunt Ice Shelf inland from the station.  Last year a huge team of Engineers, Drivers and support staff moved the main modules to the other side of the crack (known as the Chasm) only to discover there was another crack (Halloween Crack) even further “inland”.  Work continues at Halley this season with a lot of monitoring of the various cracks, readying the base to survive the Antarctic winter without staff and and attempt to fully automate all the long term science that happens.

From a Rothera perspective Halley is the place that all the fuss is made about while the science and field work happens from Rothera.  From a Halley perspective Rothera is not the real Antarctic.  The main difference for me is that you get bacon rolls for smoko at Halley

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At the start of December I spent a lot of time flying around the Ellsworth Mountains with Ian (Pilot) and Ben (Engineer) sorting out more science sites.  The views of the mountains were amazing as was getting to stay in the “hotel” at Union Glacier.

 

931A6048 Mt Vinson  – the highest peak on the continent (4892m)931A6052 Ben working at one of the sites south of the Ellsworths.  The first few sites were al uphill from the plane and involved lugging batteries to and from them.  A couple of these sites were at about 8000ft.  With the lower air pressure in Antarctica they feel more like 12000ft so its pretty knackering dragging car batteries behind you.931A6072 Tough place for a lunch stop.931A6090Enormous crevasses on the approach to the Union Glacier skiway.931A6098 Ben walking back to our tent on the guest side of the Union camp.  It was great to check out the setup here and catch up with some friends.931A6236 Flying again –  As field guides we spend a lot time in the aircraft.  Fellow field guide Julie knitting away on the long flight from Rothera to Halley.
931A6280 Halley VI.  The original Halley Base was started in 1956 with the most recent incarnation being commisioned in 2006.  The original four bases were snowed in and the staff lived in them underground.  Both Halley V and VI were designed to raised to deal with the snow accumulation.  931A6284 I’ve often wondered why you dont see many pictures of Halley from the air.  I think part of the reason is that its not a particularly exciting view but also that a lot of attention is focused on the space age modules.  The view from above shows the vast amount of infrastructure needed to keep the base running.  Above – Halley modules in the centre with the various vehicle lines, container lines, accommodation and garage modules.  The lines at the top of the photo are enormous windscoops leading to the “hinge zone” where the Brunt ice shelf meets the continent.931A6312-HDR Classic Halley view.931A6327 Christmas day – Doug climbing in Halloween crack.  Mark (FG), Doug (Air Mech) and Olly (Pilot) snuck off on Christmas for a quick climb in Halloween crack.  Having to ski-doo there, set up the ropes, abseil in etc meant there was only time for a couple of climbs each but a great way to spend Christmas!931A6332 Some things are the same on Christmas day the world over – lots of washing up!.  (Though I’m not sure Marks Hawain shirt and flip flops are standard)931A6343 Straight after Christmas it was back out into the field for me.  I joined Neil at Bluefields depot and then moved to a Depot in the Shackleton Range.931A6362Filling in the days with igloo building.  Rob (who switched with Neil) came to join me while I did constant Weather observations for the aircraft.  10 days of staring at clouds, drinking tea and reading.

Back to Rothera in the next couple of days and then back into the field for a couple of weeks before heading home.

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Antarctica, British Antarctic Survey, Climbing Antarctica, Field Assistant, Field Assistant Antarctica, Field Guide, Field Guide Antarctica, Halley Research Station, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Mt Vinson, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Over the sea to Skye

The rain is pouring down in Fort William so that may well be end of an amazing run of weather.  Not to worry I just bought a new kayak so I’ve been waiting to get some use out of it!  My last post from September is from a couple of days on Skye with Alfie and Oliver.  I have been to skye  a fair bit but always headed to the Cuillin to climb so this time we decided to get after some classics on the sea cliffs of Neist, Kilt Rock and Floddigarry.

IMG_2619I drove up from Glasgow after a couple of days working for Tayler Made Adventures.  The light was stunning as I drove through Ballachuillish and I stopped to get this shot looking out at one of my favourite mountains – Garbh Bheinn, Ardgour.  I love driving into Fort William from this direction.
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A Sign of things to come at Kilt Rock!

IMG_2628After being heavily disappointed that the Cal Mac Ferry didnt do bacon rolls and nor did anywhere on Skye (!) we headed to Neist.  Above – Oliver leading Midas Touch as the sun slowly comes around the crag.
IMG_2643Alfie “aspirant mountain guide” Tipler heading off up one of the 3star E1’s “Security Risk”.IMG_2641On “Security Risk” watched by Oliver.
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Photo courtesy of Oliver.  Last route of the day “Wall Street” me belaying Alfie – probably one of the best single pitch E2’s I’ve climbedIMG_2694Last light at Neist Lighthouse.  We went for a wander after climbing and I was shocked to see all the photographers lined up along the cliff edge.  While I think there is a lot of merit in “getting the shot” at the perfect time as you sit out there I was a bit thrown by the plethora of tripods, lenses, filters, partners giving minutes till sundown, wifes handing out sandwiches etc.  Why not be out there all day with a camera and a lens and watch the light change.   The above shot was taken from the top of the hill above Neist (where none of the photographers were) and below from the cliff edge with approximately 12 other photographers.  I was smiling inside when the light went flat at the last minute!IMG_2709IMG_1150Next day it was off to Kilt Rock first thing.  I actually took this as we were leaving – another party abseiling into the route that we had just climbed – the awesome “Grey Panther”IMG_1115Oliver and I on the belay of Grey PantherIMG_1143Oliver checking I am in fact belaying as well as taking photos.

Next up it was off to Flodigarry just up the coast.IMG_2721duoAlfie and Oliver at the base of “Spantastic” (the pillar that Alfie is leaning on).  The 1996 guidebook states “The pillar has a narrow base that may not support it much longer.  This is perhaps the only route in the country which attracts a weight limit – more reassuring to make an ascent at high tide when the sea can help cushion a fall”!IMG_2737We decided that it was Alfies lead – I dont think he’d read the bit about a weight limit!  This route is given HVS 5a.  I think it would be easier to call it 4b and say that the leader should have a complete lack of imagination as to the consequences of a fall!  Great fun.

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Shelterstone

I usually manage a climbing trip to some far flung destination every year but this year looks a little different.  I have so many places I still want to get to in Scotland and with the vote on independence this month (yesterday!) I decided to stay at home.  First up was the Loch A’an basin in the Cairngorms.  If you have never seen this side of the cairngorms scroll down to the last couple of pictures and I’m sure it will entice.  For me I really wanted to get some routes done on the shelterstone and managed to convince Adam into walking in at night to go for “The Needle” the next day.  Before the needle (and before Adam got up) I nipped up Afterthought arete and we headed back to Stag rocks in the evening to climb “Monarch of the Glen”.  The day after we climbed “Prince of Darkness” on Hells Lum – Same grade as the Needle but a fair bit harder in my opinion!

IMG_1043Adam starting up the first pitch of the needle.  This route was first climbed by one of my all time heros Robin Smith – Hard to picture him leading this stuff in 1960!
IMG_1068Adam enjoying another exposed pitch with Hells Lum crag in the background.IMG_2536Midgies!  Enough to ruin any climbing day but thankfully only in our camp for a wee while at dawn and dusk.
IMG_2537My wee yellow tent below the Sheltersone crag.  Just like Yosemite really!
IMG_2542Looking down the wonderfull Loch A’an at dawn.
IMG_2544Carn Etchacan, Shelterstone and Hells Lum from the head of Loch A’an
IMG_2556The trouble with climbing (or maybe its the best thing about it!) is that once you do the route you want to do you see another couple that look just as good or better.  I could spend a fortnight camped in the same place and climb every day, especially if I get to wake up to this view every morning!

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Cairngorm Rock Climbing, Cairngorms, Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Needle, scotland, Shelterstone, The Needle Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Colours Changing

As some will know I am not the biggest fan of summer.  Dont get me wrong I love the long daylight hours where the evenings never end or sitting in the sun on a warm day but if truth be told I do find summer days a bit boring.  Give me a stormy day any day of the week and I am much happier.  August in Scotland finally sees the colours change to something a lot more exciting, golden bracken and purple heather across the hilss with the nights “fair drawing in” makes for a much more impressive landscape.  August was again busy for me and quite exciting as I finally bought a new camera body, something I have been planning for about 2-3 years!_MG_1681 Patrick with one of the smalles lobsters of the season_MG_2191 Adam at the base of the first fall in Cruachcan canyon.  This canyon is great if you like, wet slippy sharp rock, sketchy downclimbs, shallow pools, and awkward loose abseils.  A long day_MG_2194Matt at the base of the first fall in Cruachcan canyon
_MG_2246 The end of the summer means the Mackerel shoals are huge – 12 rods for 45 mins = approximately 200 fish.  Or if your the instructer = lost of killing, hooks in your fingers and blood everywhere!_MG_2260 Iona staring down the 200 fish ready for saltingIMG_1655 Falls of Orchy on the River Orchy.  I took this before a great day on the river with Patrick, Dave, Mark and MattIMG_2338

Heather and Bracken on the summit of Lunga looking North.
IMG_2428 The Sound of Luing by night.  I have been planning this shot for a while and we finally got some good clear nights in the middle of August.  The bright glow is Oban with the yellow patches the villages of Easdale and CullipoolLunga-pan Another panorama from the summit of Lunga looking WestrfsunsethouseSunset over the Caol in front of the main house at high tide – another shot I’ve been planning for a while.

September for me means a bit of time off so watch this space.

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, mountains to the sea, scotland, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Winter Colours

Winter was here but now it seems its gone again and we are back with Autum.  The move to Fort William has finally been paying off in the last couple of weeks – living in the “Adventure Capital of the UK”.  We are still very much in a transitory period living with our friends Sue and Charlie and doing a lot of driving to get things done and see other friends.  This is definitely boating season up here just now with the odd wintery bit thrown in and for once I have actually been using my kayaks!  A range of photos below of the last couple of weeks.

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I was over at Glenmore lodge for a day (re)assessment and spent the night parked beside the beautiful Loch Morlich.  I new the day was going to go fine when I woke up to this.
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At the last minute I went over to Perthshire to help with safety on the “Tay Descent”  Bob and I were sweep/safety for the OC1 class (people in canoes who dont have any friends).  It was great craic paddling with Bob all day and even doing a couple of rescues.IMG_0268

Just before the start at Dunkeld.IMG_0273

The next day Bob and Robin and I headed over the Leny – Robin and I were both under the weather with colds but it was great to be on the water and watch Bob in his canoe on a pretty full river at grade 3 and 4.IMG_0283

We carried on down to where the Leny joins the Teith and picked up Hannah (making Bob OC2 as he then had a friend).  Spot Robins green boat above.

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Bob and Hannah storming down Tory rapid on the Teith amongst the Autum colours.

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Hannah and I headed into Glen Coe the next day for a short hill day on Buachille Etive Beag – Funny how many times I have been up its big brother but never this one.  Brilliant day of storms rolling past.  Above – Looking West along the B.E.B. Ridge.hannahstormcoming

Hannah walking towards the storm.  It hit just as we opened the oatcakes!

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Wild day in the mountains.  IMG_0434

Last Sunday we headed out to one of my favourite mountains – Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour).  I snapped this as we waited for the Corran Ferry.

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View from the Summit.  Far Left is Ben Nevis, Middle (roughly) is Glen Coe.  Brilliant day and the light just got better as we headed down the ridge.
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On the Summit

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Hannah playing with my fisheye lens – did I mention I’m doing Movember?
islesglencoeA quick shot on the drive home on Sat after I had been up in Glen Coe for a nip up the classic “Dorsal Arete” in Stob Coire nan Lochan.  The Pap of Glen Coe from the Isles of Glencoe hotel.

 

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