Tag Archives: Winter Climbing

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

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, Torridon, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , |

Return to the Norm

My first month back in Scotland in 16months.  I got back to Scotland and the usual round of people endlessly discussing conditions and weather, a fair amount of rain and some less than wintery hills.  This has not been too much of a burden really as there have been loads of friends and family to catch up with amongst remembering how to deal with banks etc.  It is awesome to be back.  I have spent a large amount of my adult years in different places in the world and the one thing that really makes you do is appreciate home.  As I mentioned in my last post, a lot has happened since I left and it has been great to catch up with friends old and new and of course revisit some places that I love.IMG_8757One of the first things I did on return home was go up to the place where my good friend Joe passed away a year ago.  This might seem morbid to some but I wanted to go up the path and try and put myself in Joe and Simons minds as they headed off that day.  I have walked that path many times with many people but I will always now think of those two headed of on another adventure as I wander into the high coire of Stob Coire nam Beith.  Above – a very damp Stob Coire nam Beith.  The hills had no snow on when I first got back.931A2171Spending time in the hills with friends is always the best way to catch up.  Ruaridh came over for the weekend and we headed out in the hills in some very wintery (and windy weather).  We headed west both days to try and avoid the worst of the wind but I still got picked off my feet at one point.  Above – Ruaridh heading up the long ridge of Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour).  931A2182Ruaridh giving his “its so windy” face.931A2184View from Garbh Bheinn back towards Fort William.  Winter has returned!

931A2193On the Sunday we were joined by Jago, Sarah and Gemma and headed off towards Streap.  Streap is only 15 mins drive from my house but I had never been up it.  We didnt really expect to be able to go all the way to the summit but actually the wind was not too bad on the top or the final grade 1 ridge and we were treated to spectacular views out to the Cuillin and back towards Ben Nevis.931A2205Looking South West.931A2218Final summit ridge as the weather changes.

IMG_8793I have been doing a few days of work as well.  Someone said to me recently that as a Freelancer you basically do the jobs the someone else doesn’t want.  If thats the case I’m fine with it.  I spent valentines day with a lovely couple climbing a grade two ridge in the sun as they planned their honeymoon on Skye.  IMG_8805There has been a fair bit of bad weather days this month.  Some days you just have to find a bothy, make hot chocolate and eat loads of brownies.  Linda and Miles chilling!931A2227In between bouts of work and play I have also been sorting out a new van.  Wee Katie Tayler looks on as I start to drill holes!IMG_8762 I have managed to get a little bit of climbing done – Caspar leading up behind the flake of “Flake Route Right Hand” on Church door buttress.IMG_8775 Caspar leading the pitch above the arch just before he did a bit of a slither back down the way he’d came!IMG_8809 Stu and I headed up the Ben with various plans.  We should have known the day wouldn’t go well when we had to dig numerous vehicles out of the snow, were late setting off and had to wade through thigh deep snow to get to the base of the routes.  Above – a happy Stu trying to work out where we are.IMG_8821 Turns out that we didnt know were we were (not bad for two MIC’s!) but climbed something about the right grade.  Stu coming up the initial pitch somewhere on the middle tier of Trident Buttress.IMG_8827 My friends Jago and Sarah are living with me just now seeing what the highlands have to offer for a winter season.  I insisted they join me for some mountaineering  a couple of days ago and we got one of those special days climbing in the sun with amazing views and finished it off in the Nevis range cafe!IMG_8836Jago and Sarah on one of the last sections of “Golden Oldy”  on Aonach Mor.
IMG_8839I can see my house from here!  Its tough living in Fort William but someones got to do it.

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ben Nevis ice climbing, bothy, Climbing, Creag Meagidh, Cuillin, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scotland climbing Also tagged , , , , , , |

Winter Ridges

 

 

January has been busy already and its only half way through!  The celebrations didn’t stop after new year – we came back to Fort William for Pete and Kag’s house warming party, to meet our new lodgers and throw a house warming party or our own (the next night!).  The weather was looking great but the avalanche conditions not so great on the day of the house warming so Gile, Adam and I decided on a quick romp along the wonderful Aonach Eagach ridge.  The conditions have stayed largely the same with only the very brave or the very stupid climbing anything other than ridges on the west coast just now.  Things have now calmed down a bit on the avalanche front and the winter climbing season is definitely here.

The house warming party was great with lots of food and drink and music and it has been non-stop since then…..

1Adam and Giles on the Aonach Eagach with Stob coire an Lochain behind
2Coming along the ridge
3Adams first day in crampons – Quality equipment!
4House warming – Ninian and Lettie providing some tunes
5Adam struggling on the second big night and a day in the mountains
6The end of the night.
7 A few days later Hannah and I headed out with our new lodgers Georgia and Luis to climb “Golden Oldy” and easy (grd II) ridge on the west face of Aonach Mor – Hannah enjoying herself on the upper part of the ridge.
8

Luis and Georgia on Golden Oldy – A great route for a short day as you can get the Aonach Mor Gondola to and from the snow line making the walk in pretty short!9

Georgia, Luis and Hannah on the summit
10The next day it was off to Ben Nevis with Alfie – The avalanche forecast was “considerable” so we were going to be pretty limited on what we could climb.  The view as you walk into the North face of the Ben never fails to inspire.
11

We decided on “SW ridge” (IV,5) of the Douglas boulder.  This is a great route when everything else is to risky to get to. – Alfie on the upper section 12 Alfie getting to the last belay.

Then the weather looked good enough again to tempt me out on the Aonach Eagach with Luis and Georgia for another round.  We left the house at 5am to get the best weather.

13Luis coming onto the first summit just before dawn
14View to Stob coire an Lochain in the first light.15

Sunrise over Bidean Nan Bian16

Scottish winter always looks like this – really.17

Georgia climbing one of the technical sections on the Aonach Eagach

And finally – I headed out with Charlie and Sue to take some photo for Charlies new business venture – Clay pigeon shooting on the side of Loch Leven.

IMG_1215 IMG_1228duo

Next week its off to Glenmore lodge so will probably have too much stuff in my bag to justify carrying a camera and then hopefully more winter climbing and maybe even some skiing.

Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Happy Hogmanay

The start of 2014 and the probably the biggest change of my adult life – I have now bought a house in the Adventure Capital of the UK , Fort William.  The last few weeks have been a bit hectic with lots of moving of furniture etc but we are now all set up in a town recently voted “7th worst place to live in Scotland”.  The voters were obviously not outdoor people!  Straight after moving in it was a constant round of Christmases and even people coming to stay with us for a change…..
IMG_0617

My sister and a couple of her taller family members came over on boxing day for a walk and some fish and chips.  Above – the newest member of the family Dieter on the bridge at steall falls.
IMG_0623

My wee/big sister at steall falls

Next up Clare and Daj came over and on the second day we headed up towards Stob Coire nam Beith in Glen Coe.  IMG_0627

Clare wrapped up in the group shelter.  At this point Hannah and Clare wisely decided to head back towards the Clachaig Inn while Daj and I continued in fairly minging conditions

IMG_0639

Daj coming up Summit gully on Stob Coire Nam Beith.  It was wild on top which can be our first excuse as to why we ended up in the wrong valley on the way down.

Next up Giles came to stay and we headed out for the first real winter route of the season

DSCF2099It was slightly warm! – gearing up below Castle Ridge on Ben Nevis
DSCF2104

Me about to set of up the first technical pitch.
DSCF2123l

Giles battering his way up the crux

IMG_0647

We then headed over to Mull and the kind hospitality of Tony Francis and Ardachy Hotel.  Giles Bouldering on the beach with Iona in the background.

IMG_0662Stormy day on “Tony’s Beach” – Ardalanish Bay

A busy hogmanays night was had with dressing up, good food, dancing and a trip up to the local farmers bothy for more drink and music.  Great fun and all rounded off by a mass local game of shinty on the beach the next morning.
IMG_0769

Shinty in progress as the tide comes in.  (Shinty is basically ice hockey without ice or pads or any rules beyond dont hit anyone in the head)

IMG_0793Great fun if a little confusing as there were numerous balls in play about 60 people on the pitch as well as a couple of dogs getting in the way but a great way to sort out the hangover.

Note – I am not sure where the “7th worst” fact came from but it sounds good.  Kilmarnock was voted worst this year while the islands voted the best.  Incidentally if you google worst towns in the UK nothing north of the border with England even gets a look in – kind of confirms what I’ve thought for years!

Posted in Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , |