Thursday, 24 November 2016

60m feels like miles…

20 November 2016

We climbed The North Buttress of Buachaille Etive Mor. Conditions look better than they are so the climbing was mainly on hooks. We abseiled after the main difficulties as the volume of snow higher made going to the summit difficult.

An amazing day with fantastic views across to the Mamores and the Ben

Tuesday, 25 October 2016


23 October 2016

A call off on Saturday gave Linda the opportunity to call in her Simply Epic Adventure birthday gift voucher with me on Sunday.

The weather was set to be fair with sun mid-morning, but the wind was cold when we made our way up Am Bodach.

Linda having a low centre of gravity has good sense of balance and made the initial down climb look easy. We both enjoyed the mountaineering style journey to Meall Dearg - the official start of the Aonach Eagach ridge. Consistent exposure and beautiful views with varied scrambling; taking in everything from terraced ridges and knife-edged arĂȘtes to towering chimneys . We made our way across  the crazy pinnacles before the final pull up to to Stob Coire Leith.

We descended from the summit to the Clachaig road junction and thumbed a lift back to the start point.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Pterodactyl Attack...

9 October 2016

After long hard summer of work, injuries and disappointments, Craig and I got out onto the Cobbler today with a psyche to climb in the sun.

Craig sums up the day, here and on the Simply Epic website here

We climbed Incubator six years ago and decided it needed a revisit.  It's a meaty HS 4b with three lovely pitches offering their own challenges along the way.  Craig headed off up the first pitch, a pleasant introduction to the joys of mica schist in the dry...grippy but hollow rock in places.

The next pitch is short with a sting on leaving the stance; an off-balance overhung sloppy hold type move with little confidence but well protected.  Despatched with aplomb, Mark brought Craig up to the crux balance-centric, bridging fest with a weird phallus rock protrusion half way up.

Craig won the rock paper scissors duel and headed off up the steep crack corner, lacing it up like a wild Western bar girl trying to look thin.  Half way up, the crack line terminates and it seemed churlish, if not irresponsible, not to make use of the phallus rock for safety, despite the sense of inadequacy it engendered...

The pitch kept on giving and involved some balance moves to escape the line right into a notch/haven and first available stance.  Mark followed up with style and led off up the final short rock moves which we didn't really recall from 6 years ago.  The guide book may reveal the proper finish if we got it wrong but it all seemed logical, unlike the heat from the October sun!

An old egg sandwich for Mark and smoked salmon for Craig saw them back to the car in the sun in jig time for coffee and cake in Arrochar.  A grand day in the hills for the boys, knocking off their THIRD!!! rock climb of the season - where has the time gone?

Crikey, roll on the winter season...

Friday, 23 September 2016

The borrowers...

18 September 2016

Kevin and Jane were keen to add another Munro to their tally.
The weather was in-coming so we decided upon Ben More as it’s near and we could go direct to the summit in a bid to get a view.

Sadly this never happened but it was great fun never-the-less and we met some enthusiastic people on the summit to take our pic.

Funny things happen when you ascend hills you have been on before - you remember the people, the friends, the conversations, events and stories told… Ben More is on of those hills and my head was full them on Sunday.

Monday, 5 September 2016


4  September 2016

First time on rock for Linda climbing the uber classic Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor Glen Coe with me on Sunday. The rock was a bit greasy in places but it was very atsmospheric and Linda threw all the right shapes when needed.

We had lunch on Crowbery Tower before heading to the summit.

NB 205 225

Some images from a great week in South West Lewis and Harris...

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Point made...

17th April 2016

Point 5 Gully

Craig and I headed to the Ben for what looked like good conditions but with incoming weather.

The weather came in just as we started climbing and with lots of new snow blowing about we got the full weight of the natural releases coming down point 5 gully.

This made for interesting climbing and a cool head was needed. Fortunately the ice was good for axe placements so we motored on till the end of the main difficulties before abseiling off into the mist and tricky pockets of slab…

A full edit of the day here on the Simply Epic blog.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Craig and I headed to the Ben to climb some ice although we knew this was unlikely as the thaw we witnessed on Sat had continued.

The Ice was still fat, but with natural release coming down most routes, we thought better of it and climbed onto Tower Ridge via Faulty Towers.

The ridge was in good condition so we soloed till the pitch before the Eastern traverse. We chatted to Mike and client at the gap and before we knew it we were on the top with shades on in 16Âș heat.

We headed down number 4 and back to the North Face car park in super quick time.

Craig at the gap

Monday, 7 March 2016

French bindings…

6 March 2016

Jane and I headed to Bridge of Orchy for some winter mountaineering in the sun. I had almost forgot what a pleasure it was to walk in the sunshine rather than shiver on a belay.

Today the early morning weather was excellent with good underfoot conditions and little wind.

Teams bailing off a fat looking Fahrenheit complaining of cruddy ice.

I was able to helps some youths with their antique crampons needing some unorthodox lacing to keep them attached to rather bendy boots...

Heading to Beinn Dorain
Raised footprints
Summit team

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Don’t drink that coffee …

Craig and I headed to the Coe with the plan of climbing Scabbard Chimney (V,6). We both have eyed this route for ages and today looked like the day. The first slab looked easily doable but was covered
in unless thin crud, we both had a go but it just didn’t feel right…

Next up, Ordinary Route Summit Buttress (IV,5) – This turned out to be good and interesting climbing. A full account can be found here on the Simple Epic blog

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sending more than a card…

14th February 2016

Shelf Route IV,6

Knowing the start of this route means you have to commit to the lower reaches of Crowberry Gully, Craig and I opted to atack the ridge head on. This made for 2 interesting pitches before we got onto the route proper.

Craig with some good beta sent me ahead with the instructions to climb the centre of three chimneys, me having never been able to follow instructions,  headed up the left hand one instead. This made for good sustained bridging with good hooks but unhelpful snow. The difficulties not being over till I swam up the deep unconsolidated powder to the belay, this was dug and backed up as the stance was steep.

Craig followed and climbed on till he found a suitable spike for us to bail from. It took us 4 abseils to get us off the route clear of Crowberry Gully.

An exiting day with good decisions made getting on and off our route.

More here on the Simply Epic Adventures website blog.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Wild at heart…

Sunday 7th February

Craig and I had Liam and Robbie on the hill on Sunday for a bit of skills and a look at safe travel.

The avalanche hazard was considerable so there was a lot of learning done and the boys seemed happy with the bombardment of information discussed off the hill and how it was all deployed on the hill on a truly wild day...

The snow was unhelpful on the Zig Zags but this weeks colder temperatures should help firm up the snow pack for some good climbing.

More here on the Simply Epic Adventures website

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Winter update...

Traffic as our route joined Twisting Gully pitch 3
The 8.1 felt good but a bit stiff to handle

Not really had the chance to update the blog recently leaving Craig to tell most of the tales on the Simply Epic blog.

Winter thus far has been slow to start, we have snow, but far from ideal climbing conditions…

1. Corie an Lochan – black, bailed.
2. Raeburns Route STNL in lots of powder before Christmas, abseiled the route as it was windy on top.
3. NB on the Buachaille – bailed after pitch 1 due to constant avalanche of graupel.
4. No 5 gully on the Ben, we went for a walk to look see what was in. Not much but No5 gully gave an interesting amble through some super rock architecture that we wouldn’t normally go near.
5. Twisting Groves (a variation) - climbed 2 pitches to the chalkstone of twisting then got caught up in traffic so bailed on Craigs new 8.1, 60m “strings".

Fully stories here on the Simply Epic blog…

Thanks to Craig for the pics on Sunday.