Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Sunday 17 April 2011

Stephen is heading to Boston with his wife Caity to live and work on the 3rd May. He has always wanted to climb the Cobbler so at short notice and with a good forecast off we went. Just over 2 hrs saw us on the summit. After some photographs to take stateside we got out of the wind and ate more food than I have ever had on the hill (thanks to his mum for a great packed lunch...). As we walked back to Glen Crow it was noticeably warmer. A relaxed day, good chat and great company. Keep in touch... “wee man”.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Super alpine + (new route, Nikon Direct, E6)



10 April 2011

Winter is over but we still have our winter heads on. So, up at 4, leave house at 4.30 and meet at 5am ! With the promise of 21˚ we headed to the Cobbler. I like the transition between winter and summer climbing. The cobbler is a great climbing venue. We often climb here after work instead of single pitch crags near Glasgow. Craig led the first pitch of Recess before 7.30am It was cold, but by the time I took over it was warm and sunny. Great climbing till Craig's camera fell into space. This meant we had to climb a spurious (new ?) line to retrieve it... Camera found and working, but the pictures are still poor...

Ben A'n. The last eighty

27 March 2011

Alan (www.mcateerphotograph.com) had some outdoor photographs to take for Scottish Trade International. He needed a venue and 'models'... We arranged to meet at Ben A'n. It had been a while since I had climbed here but I knew the walk in was short, there was rock and the views stunning. The added bonus was when the photography shoot was over we could abseil down the cliff and climb some routes. Strange that only Wednesday we climbed ice ! We both led The Last Eighty in the warm early summer sun ... magic.

Corie an t-Sneachda

23 March 2011
Grand plans for Orion Direct on Ben Nevis prompted us to take Wednesday off. The promised cold spell didn’t arrive and the word on the street was that Orion was stripped. Craig, Bill and I went East to Corie an t-Sneachda. It was mild but dry. We climbed Facaill Coulior, headed down the goat track and along to the first pitch of Mirror Direct. Great away day and good to have Uncle Bill back on the tools.


Alpine starts are simply the best feeling ...
Difficult start. Frozen turf or frozen snow or ice would have made this easy!
Craig on pitch 2
Topping out and a big smile from me !
13 March 2011 
A huge dump of midweek snow had Craig and I head to the Cobbler. The deep snow was drifting to over 1m in places. Maclays Crack looks like a great line but the turf was not frozen. We climbed Great Gully with me leading the first pitch. The weather improved and by the time we topped out we had great views and blue sky. Fantastic.


Why ? how ?
Me, Phew
Craig, Epic
6 March 2011
Another alpine start with Craig to SCNL. We knew we were onto plums as it was mild. Nothing looked in condition so we wandered up Boomerang Gully to the summit, round the Coire rim and abseiled down SC. With no freeze and little snow this is a seriously loose place ! All good though and great practice for baling off the Eiger !

Twisting Gully

30 January 2011
The usual Alpine start saw Craig and I heading into the Lochan again. Twisting Gully had loads of spindrift coming down it but I led up the first pitch to see what was happening. The spindrift was avalanching every two minutes. Craig got well drenched as he climbed through to make short work of the tricky ledge and ridge above. I dispatched the chock stone and we lead alternate pitches to the top. Great day, great climbing, great company.


Me off line on Morwind
Craig on the first pitch of Lickety Spit
22 January 2011
After a couple of weeks of high avalanche conditions and some long mountaineering days Craig and I were keen to climb. There was snow, but again the temperature was high. We headed for Aonach Mor, abseiled in and traversed to the base of Morwind. I led the first pitch but wandered left and right and left again, looking for good axe placements. Being off route I found myself high above my pro, standing on one foot and scratching around for anything solid...nothing, then a nut...phew! Placed, clipped and bailed. Craig had a go at Lickety Spit before we headed for the climbers coll. Another great day with a lift down the hill on the piste basher.

North Chimney and Central Gully

2 January 2011
Alpine start again for me and Dan. Ice had to be found as Dan was super keen. It was cold and dry and nothing looked in as we walked up Stob Coire nan Beith. We climbed the short but exciting North Chimney in two pitches and continued up Central Gully to Bidean nam Bian summit.

Left Twin

Dan abseiling in
Looking up pitch 2
Dan (always let your mate test the abseil anchor first...)
Left Twin looking better than it was
30 December 2010
I love the Christmas holidays ! You get to go climbing everyday, well not quite but I managed to hook up with Dan and head for Aonach Mor. First lift and a sweat saw up abseiling down easy gully. The snow was deep, soft and the temperature was 9˚needless to say the corie was quiet. I led one pitch of Left twin, brought Dan up and bailed. The ice was delaminating and we got bombarded.

Curved Ridge

Me on the sharp end
Me, Bill and Craig

Rigging the abseil  

27 December 2010

Alpine start saw Bill, Craig and me head to Buachaille Etive Mor. The original plan was to climb Crowberry Gully but there was way too much fresh snow, so we headed up Curved Ridge. This route is always great regardless what the weather is like. Today we ran out of time and bailed by abseil. Another great day.

Coire Balglas

Me walking through the hoar snow -7˚
This blue streak is what we are climbing
Me with the hot aches ready to abseil

24 December 2010

Christmas Eve saw Craig and I head to Coire Balglas to climb Balglas waterfall. This was great and seldom freezes. We don’t know the grade but it was steep and pure water ice. The walk across the farmers field in the dark was fantastic with the hoar crystals sparkling like diamonds.

Ordinary Route on Central Buttress IV 4 **

Craig on the last belay
Me approaching the Coire
10 December 2010

Another early cold start to the season. Craig and I went to Stob Coire nan Lochan to climb Ordinary Route on Central Buttress IV 4 **.   The Coire was quiet with only 3 other teams. This is a great route that I have climbed twice before. Craig shot up the first pitch. This is a fantastic pitch that some people miss out (Don’t its well worth it). I led through linking the 2nd and 3rd pitches. We swung leads till we topped out. Great day. Cold, blue sky and quiet.

Dorsal Arete

Date 27 March 2010

Tony and I went to Stob Coire nan Lochan. The plan was to climb Twisting Gully but this had loads of spindrift coming down it so we ended up on Dorsal Arete. These photographs were taken by the party above us. Great day and good to be back on the tools with Uncle Tony. The previous route we did together was an early January 2010 hit of Eas Ani on Beinn Chuirn above Tyndrum.

SC Gully

Date 13 March 2010
Craig and I went to Stob Coire nan Lochan. The Coire was busy but SC Gully had only one team in it so we tooled up and off I went up the initial ice fall. This was steep, took screws, and was over way too quickly. I climbed past the first party and set up belay. Craig climbed through up the narrowing gully and not the right hand icefall. This is a much harder mixed variation. The next two pitches had us sitting in the sunshine, happy.

The blog has got to start somewhere. Pity, there some great shots, real adventures and people missing ...

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Alps Retrospective

Some images from past alpine trips...

25 July 2010 - Decent from the Aiguille du Tour to the Col Superior.

Descending the Col Superior heading for the Albert 1er Refuge

31 July 2010 - Cosmique Arete high above Chamonix.

12 July 2009 - The View from the Aiguille Des Grand Montets.
Me on the summit crest of the east face route on Aiguille Des Grand Montetes.
21 June 2008 - The Allalinhorn (4027m) from the Hohlaubgrat route.

24 June 2008 - The snow plod to the Breithorn (4164m).