Monday, March 31, 2008

Mountain Leader Training

I am back home again now after the two day expedition on the Mountain Leader Training course. The weather was very wet and windy and the candidates truly experienced wild camping! The photo (sponsored by Petzl!) shows us out on night nav.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mountain Leader Training - North Wales

I drove back from Scotland on Monday and had a quick break at home before driving up to North Wales for Tuesday. I am working this week for Blue Peris Mountain Centre on a Mountain Leader Training Course. This is a 6 day course looking at the skills required to lead groups in the UK mountains in summer conditions. I am working the last 4 days of the course.

The last couple of days have been spent looking at mountain weather, mountain rescue, improvised rescues, water hazards, river crossings and ropework. There is a fair amount of snow about on the tops and we have had some beautiful blue skies, sunshine and snow capped peak type views.

Tomorrow we head off for a 2 day expedition with an overnight camp and a night navigation excercise. The forecast is for blizzards, high winds, rain and sleet so I will be earning my money!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stob Coire nan Lochan

We headed into Glencoe to put all of the skills covered yesterday into a mountain journey. The weather stayed kind all day with the odd snow shower and plenty of sunshine.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Winter Skills Weekend

I was joined by Sam, Nick, Tamara, James and my Mum & Dad for this Easter weekend for a winter skills course. The conditions are some of the best we have seen all year with long days, blue skies, cold crisp weather and lots of snow about. We headed round to Aonach Nid using the Gondola to maximise our time on the snow and had a great day looking at ice axe and crampons, snow shelters and avalanche avoidance.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ice Factor - Teaching Practice

Today was a wet, windy and mild day so perfect weather for the Ice Factor!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Curved Ridge, Buachaille Etive Mor - Teaching Practice

Simon and Andy lead Curved Ridge today whilst I acted as team photographer! We had another stunning day and managed to cover lots of skills from buried axes to direct belays and moving together Alpine style. The boys did well and we were down by 4:00pm which is all the better considering this was only their 4th day of winter climbing. Lots of snow due to come in over the next couple of days so the ski crowd will be pleased!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Morwind, Aonach Mor - Teaching Practice

We decided that the luxury of a Gondola ride was the order of the day today and headed for the East face of Aonach Mor. The weather forecast had predicted temperatures well below freezing but at the bottom of East gully it was 1 or 2 degrees above. We decided to avoid the routes with large cornices above and climbed Morwind. This is the original line of the crag but only had its first ascent in 1988. The route is graded III, 4 but felt harder today with unconsolidated snow. It was snowing lightly all morning which added to the atmosphere and made it nice to see the sun as we topped out.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Comb Gully, Ben Nevis - Teaching practice

It has been another beautiful day in the Highlands today. I bet there were a lot of sickies pulled this morning judging by the amount of people out on the Ben. Andy, Simon and I climbed Comb Gully, IV, 4. The first pitch was well banked out but the next two were steep and on great snow ice. The cornice was easily avoided on the left and the views from the top were stunning. Number 4 gully gave a rapid descent. There were teams all over indicator wall, Blair had climbed Hadrians Wall Direct and reported a poor first pitch of unconsolidated snow. Green Gully was apparently in good nick and the Cascade looked fat.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dorsal Arete & Twisting Gully - Practicing teaching winter climbing

I am back in Scotland and the sun is shining! I have been out with good friends of mine, Andy and Simon. They have joined me for 6 days winter climbing having never done any winter climbing before. This is a great opportunity for me to practice everything that I learnt at the start of the month on my MIC training and they get a week of instruction free of charge! We had an awesome first day in Stob Coire nan Lochan under blue skies and sunshine. We did some refresher winter skills in the Coire then climbed Dorsal Arete taking in the pinnacles and a left hand finish which went at about grade III. We descended Broad Gully and then climbed Twisting Gully at III, 4. We definitely made the most of the good weather and the longer daylight hours at this time of year and the boys did great!
The snow needs to consolidate a bit more to be really good but it is forecast to be cold over the next few days and their is an aweful lot of snow about. Its all good!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

MIC Training - last two days

The last two days have been very wet, windy and warm - ideal winter conditions! Yesterday we headed up Dinnertime Buttress in Glen Coe and had to drop off the ridge and do some skills in the shelter of the wind.

Today we headed up to the Grey Corries to look at teaching snow and ice lead climbing and managed to find some shelter from the wind. Home tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

MIC Training

I am on an MIC training course this week in Scotland. Sunday was spent on Buachaille Etive Beag looking at winter skills in beautiful weather. Yesterday we climbed Boomerang Arete in Stob Coire nan Lochan. There had been a lot of heavy snow and the sky was blue all day. We spent the day looking at teaching winter climbing.
Today saw a similar theme and we were equally spoilt on the Ben climbing the South West ridge on the Douglas Boulder. Teams were out on the Orion Face, Point 5 and many more.