Tag Archives: North East Buttress

Good sandwich making skills and frozen water

Good sandwich skills are essential to a good winter day out.  I know there’s people out there who just throw a lump of Soreen or some cereal bars in their bag but for me that just doesn’t cut it.  Theres been rather a lot of sandwich making recently as I decided a while ago to take some time to focus on winter mountaineering and climbing.  For the most part this just involves getting out every day to climb with different people, heading out on my own to look at different venues / solo easy routes or the odd days work in the mountains.  Evenings are then spent desperately trying to get kit dry and staring at weather forecasts, blogs and the Avalanche information website.  Eventually something comes up which means you cant go out – such as winds gusting over 100mph or like today, a bed being delivered.  Its been a pretty awesome January with some amazing days of good ice and blue skies but being out every day you definitely see some of the worst of it as well.  So heres my photos from January – a few blues sky days and then the rest.IMG_1414crpGraham trying to find the tunnel on “West Chimney” of Church door buttress.  Helen and I stood on the  belay getting showered with snow and then gravel before Graham declared the tunnel blocked – turns out it has been for 2 years.  Turns out the routes a bit harder now.
IMG_1430Graham looking very happy on “Pinnacle Face” on the West face of Aonach Dubh – its been amazing to see so much snow down at the road in Glen Coe – we went to the West face twice that week with the approach taking twice as long as normal.IMG_1476Darkness and snow – Heading home after another day on the hillIMG_1481A blue sky day and a Saturday!  We opted for North East Buttress on the Ben as it was rather busy. IMG_1490IMG_1523A couple of photos of Graham on the curtain – a quick morning blast on one of the nicest days of Jan.IMG_1524I can see my house from here.  Walking back to the car, its not every day it looks like this!IMG_1533I spent a day being observed/mentored by Mike Pescod from Abacus Mountain Guides and dragged Georgia along as my “client” for the day.  Georgia topping out of the first pitch of  “Shelf Route” on Buachille Etive MorIMG_1535Mike setting off up the crux pitch of Shelf Route.  The route was rather buried in loose snow making for a fairly wallowy day for Georgia, Myself and Mikes client Tommy.  I wonder what it was like for out in front>IMG_1540 Mike and Tommy heading for Crowberry towerIMG_1546Georgia high above the clouds in Glen Etive.  IMG_1554Mike and Tommy heading for home towards Coire an TuillachIMG_0611
Finally headed up to “Crypt Route” with Scott.  Things were looking pretty marginal for winter climbing when we got there with water pouring down the crag but the gamble had paid off with it being very wintery inside the buttress.  Above – Scott getting  to the first belay.  Below – Scott leading off into the depths of the buttress.IMG_0610 IMG_1568Ed leading up the first pitch of “Vanishing Gully”.  Ed, Craig and I headed in with a fairly poor forecast and were met with fairly poor conditions – what a surprise!
IMG_1570 Ed belaying outside while I hide in the cave.  If you have any beliefs that winter climbing is fun this day would have dispelled them (check out the water pouring from the icicles)IMG_1578 Trying to stay warm in the cave before the next pitch.IMG_1581 Beautiful but rather brittle water ice on the second pitch of VanishingIMG_3827 Its not often Scotland looks like this.  IMG_3830 Or this.  I drove over to the Bridge of Orchy hills to meet Bob for some winter skills practice – the drive over was absolutely stunning.IMG_3832 Bob practicing his “Stomper” belay below the cragsIMG_0614And finally – yesterday Scott and I headed up to the west face of Aonach Mor.  Couldnt resist getting a photo of a stuck VW T5 as we crusied past heading up the road to Nevis RangeIMG_3837Scott looking stoic approaching “Western Rib”IMG_3838 Beautiful views of Carn Mor DeargIMG_3851 Getting to the first belayIMG_3857Scott leading up one of the more technical pitches on Western Rib.  I really like the routes on this face of Aonach Mor – They dont look like much but are awesome fun for a long easy day out – and they have cable car access

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Time Flies

I have just been literally blown out of the Torridon hills after aborted attempts on both the “Fisherfield 6” and “An Teallach”.  Not to worry, there was lots of time to take photos and wander around a beautiful area.  I have been on the road a lot in the last couple of weeks and have managed the odd days climbing and walking.  The problem with blogs is that they promote the idea that all the blog keeper is up to is exciting wonderful things.  This is not actually the case (or not for me anyway), there are plenty of days doing not very much or just trying to make money.  I say this as a couple of friends have recently commented on both the blog and the wonderful places I get to – so if its any consolation –  The last couple of weeks have seen me planting trees in the sleet, spreading fertiliser in the wind and rain, going through some driver training, sitting my minibus driving test, painting shelves, dog proofing a fence, sitting my Level  2 coach exam (for Canoeing) and a whole lot of driving place to place.  I may in fact try and write a post one of these days with only pictures of the less glamorous places I get to (the inside of the truckstop in Livingstone where I ate lunch two days last week comes to mind).  But for now here are the photos of the glamorous places I have been in the last couple of weeks….

 

I was driving away from Mull a few weeks ago and suddenly realised that I had time to stop and explore.  This turned into a long day of running and climbing first of all into Garbh Bheinn to solo the Great Ridge (diff) then up glen gour to check out Indian Slab Crag (an underated destination).  I took this as I ran down the ridge from Garbh Bheinn looking over Argour
The next day I climbed North East Buttress of Ben Nevis with Ruaridh.  In this photo Ruaridh is moving up the easy ground at the base of the ridge.  It was very warm making for some exciting sections with the sound of ice falling being fairly constant during the day.  We managed to climb quickly taking the “tough brown variant” (also IV, 4) rather than the “mantrap” and were on the summit in around 5 hours.

Unfortunately the day was very damp and we were trying to move quickly so I didnt get the camera out much!

After a weeks work doing some forestry stuff it was off to the lakes for my coaching assessment and then a days climbing.  It was too cold to hang around so Hannah and I opted for the soloing easy routes option.  Above – Hannah after the traverse pitch of “Little Chamonix” (Vdiff)

Hannah soloing the final moves of Little Chamonix.  She kindly agreed to down climb and reclimb the last moves so that I could get a photo!  We then went on to climb “Jackdaw Ridge” (Diff) and “Donkeys Ears” (Sev)

 

An inquisitive robin at the base of the crag

Then it was back to Mull.  On the drive home from Craignure we decided to check out Loch buie and the standing stones.  Above – me standing on standing stones

A busy day at Ben More post office

We headed to Eilean a Ghearrainn for a short days cragging.  Above – Hannah leading “Lee Vining” (Sev).  Anyone familiar with Gaelic will notice that this is an island.  It is not meant to get fully cut off from the mainland at high tide (always being wadeable) but unfortunately this is not what we found.  This turned our short day into a long one with a long wait (till 830pm) till it went out enough that we could wade back to the land drover.

Early on in the long wait!  Hannah all bundled up waiting for the tide to go down.  At least the stars were amazing and there was lots of things to “I spy” (like – rock, sea, buckle…..)

Not the best effort as my fingers were frozen… Heather burning under the stars on the way home from the benightment.
Couldnt resist stopping for this one!

Lastly I headed up to Torridon for the last couple of days.  Above – Shenavall bothy by moonlight shortly after my arrival at about 11pm

Salubrious accommodation.  Emergency shelter at the base of Beinn Dearg Mor

Shenavall Bothy with Beinn Dearg Mor and the Fisher field 6 behind.  The weather looks fantastic but actually it was incredibly windy!

An Teallach from the South.

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