Tuesday, 20 November 2012


18 November 2012
Craig and I met early and headed to Fort Bill with a plan to climb North East Buttress. 24hrs of snow made the Ben look wintery but it didn’t feel all that cold. As we passed a deserted CIC hut we decided that conditions were not really “in” so opted for Tower Ridge instead.

Getting to the bottom of the route involved some ”interesting” soloing up deeply snow covered un-bonded rock held in place with non-frozen turf.

Once on the ridge it was obvious that the snow had no base and conditions were tricky , but we pressed on till we were wading waist deep beneath the little tower. The wind got up, it started snowing, and both of us had that feeling you get before things go wrong. We bailed with a couple of abseils and picked our way back down to the hut.

We met Spike again (I think he is following me) who had climbed and boarded down no 4 gully-good effort.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Penguin, thanks ...

3 November 2012

Craig and I headed to the Cairngorms to have a look/see at the “just arrived” winter conditions. Surprised on route by the blizzard conditions on the A9 we kitted up and headed into Coire an t'Sneachda.

The wind, CLAG, freezing temperatures, SNOW and spin drift made it feel like proper winter. We geared up and headed for the direct start of Invernookie (Scottish III,4). SMC guide reads, an interesting and popular climb which takes a line of ramps on the wall above and right of Fiacaill Couloir. Loss of turf means there are some tricky moves (IV,5 under powder).

Thin conditions made this feel stiff for the grade with most of the hard moves requiring hooks and torques
and a bit of cunning. The climbing was harder than III,4 and both of us felt that if this was your first grade III you would have been in for a bit of a spanking.

The weather improved and we had a great start to our winter climbing campaign...

More here on the Simple Epic Blog 

Climber on the crux pitch of The Seam IV,5
Craig on the exit pitch
Winter MOJO returned ...