Friday, 11 April 2014

Blog Catch Up ...Again!

Been a busy few weeks and again writing in the old blog has been neglected!  what have I been upto... here goes.

Picking up where I left off (climbing with Kate and Cameron), I returned to Polldubh with Jamie and Graham for some more cragging!  A good day was spent climbing Repton Right Wall (VDiff), Half Sheet (HVS 5a), 3 Pines (Severe), Flying Dutchman (Severe) and finished up Phantom Slab (VS4c).
I spent the next few days with Patrick, firstly a trip up Aonach Mor to practise crampon and axe skills, not to mention navigation on the summit!  The next day we tackled ledge route on Ben Nevis, an absolute classic and we were even blessed with the yella thing in the sky overhead most of the day.  After 2 days on the hill, we spent the next day at Polldubh going over basic mountaineering skills such as gear placement, belay construction and abseiling, a very pleasant day was had, right up until we reached the top of the Gutter (Diff) when the heavens opened and we ran away!
I was then out on the Ben for Atlas Mountaineering with Matt and Guy.  We headed up the mountain path as far as corner 4 on the zig zags, before detouring towards the top of No4 Gully in the hope of catching a glimpse of the North Face, our efforts were rewarded and we were given our glimpse of this majestic place.  From the top of No4 Gully, we talked about winter specific hazards such as cornices etc.  We then made our way to the summit, taking the time to teach Guy some basic navigation skills such as how to take and walk on bearings.  With his new found skills, Guy navigated our way to the summit (under close supervision) where we met Jamie and his group.
On the weekend of the 5/6th of April, Simon and I headed for the Buachaille.  We had chosen Curved Ridge as I thought it would be a good mixture of summer scrambling with a wintry exit up a gully.  We were not disappointed!  The ridge its self was almost entirely free of snow (if soaking wet thanks to the rain!), but made for some very enjoyable scrambling, we looked at belays, moving together and using natural features as belays.  Once we had completed curved ridge, crampons were dawned as we skirted Crowberry Tower into Crowberry Gap and onwards to the summit of Stob Dearg.  We then descended the extreme Western flank of Coire na Tulaich after spying some very ominous looking fracture lines in the cornice.  The next day, we made our way back into Coire na Tulaich, keeping to the western side of the coire to an area free of objective danger and looked at snow anchors.  We covered bucket seats, buried axe belays and snow bollards before calling it a day in some pretty foul weather!

Moving up past Crowberry Gully after Curved Ridge

Teaching young Guy some basic navigation techniques on Ben Nevis summit plateau

Himalayan style spindrift coming off Sgurr a Mhaim

Jamie pulls over the last move on 3 Pines, Polldubh

Patrick on Aonach Mor

Practising some crampon/axe use

Ben Nevis

Patrick high on Ledge Route, Ben Nevis

Patrick on the Summit of Carn Dearg after Ledge Route

Patrick learning to abseil at Polldubh

Quick hit on the Gutter before the heavens opened!

Matt and Guy near the top of No4 Gully, Ben Nevis

Myself and Jamie on the summit of Ben Nevis

Simon gaining Curved Ridge on Buachaille etive Mor

Simon on the Crux of Curved Ridge

smiles and snow!

Abseiling from a snow bollard

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