Thursday, February 27, 2014

Norway Thank You

Hi Rob,

Just a quick message to you and the team to say thank you for a superb week’s climbing and fun in Norway. It exceeded all expectations and I learned so much. It was great how you, Dave and Huw were able to cater for everyone’s differing aspirations and provide the arena in which we could push and challenge ourselves towards greater achievements. I’m not surprised that places for next year’s trip are being snapped up like hot cakes. (Its now full, Rob)

Many thanks,


Monday, February 24, 2014

Welsh 3000 on Easter Monday

I am running a Welsh 3000 challenge on Easter Monday (21st April) and have space for 4 more people. This is a true challenge, aiming to climb all of the Welsh mountains over 3000ft in less than 24 hours.

It is often referred to as the 14 peaks challenge because there is some debate as to whether there are 14 or 15 seperate peaks over 3000 feet. The entire route is close to 30 miles long and involves over 13000 feet of ascent.

We walk the majority of the route, you don't need to be a fell runner. We will try and cover easy ground quickly and you do need to be comfortable on grade 1 ground as we traverse Crib Goch.

You need to be hill fit as you will be on the go for about 18 hours from start to finish. Some prior training is essential as its a tough day out. It is a real challenge and far more people fail to complete it than go all the way to the finish.

If you fancy it, come and join the fun! Full details including online booking are here:

Norway Thank You

Hi Rob, firstly, massive thanks for arranging and ensuring the most wonderful week in Norway, full of fun and amazing ice climbing. I had not dreamed of doing such stuff, it was totally brilliant, the most fantastic sense of achievement every day.

Please thank Huw and Dave for me. They were great, the three of you making a dream, who offered encouragement and challenge in exactly the right quantities at the right times. I really enjoyed the support from the group, which made it a very fun and friendly trip. These are magic ingredients.

When I get to work tomorrow I will sort out booking for the 3000ers in April (tell Andy I need his top training tips) and Norway next February.

Finally, I am so jealous of people booked on your Skye trip. Should you get a cancellation, you'd be pushing at an open door.....

Thanks again, Rob. Another Expedition Guide triumph.

Jude - Rjukan Ice Climbing - Feb 2014

Read more testimonials on our website here:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ice Climbing in Norway

This week I have been joined by Jude, Sue, Andy, Shem, Shae and Ian as well as fellow instructors Huw and Dave for a week of ice climbing in Rjukan, Norway. One of the ice climbing capitals of Europe the ice never disappoints and this week has now become a firm favourite in my winter program. We have all enjoyed single and multi pitch routes around the WI4 and WI5 grades (Scottish 5-6) and climbed as many pitches per day as we would expect in a week in Scotland thanks to roadside ice and incredibly accessible climbing. There has been a lot of snow this year and we had a great day off in the middle where folk went skiing together at the beautiful local resort on fresh powder. Great company, great ice, great climbing - hard to beat! (Huw even managed to join a commando raid on the heavy water factory but that's probably another story!)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thank You

Hi Rob

Many thanks for the last weekend. Tom, Rob and I thoroughly enjoyed it, we learned a lot more than we imagined and were very impressed with the whole experience.

As well as the technical skills with ice axe and crampons the main thing we got out of it is the knowledge of how to go about approaching and planning a winter’s day in the hills safely.

Thanks also to Bryn for a great day on Sunday, it was perfect. Fantastic to gain new skills and knowledge (who knew snow could be so interesting? ;) ) and have so much fun

We’ll be out in Snowdonia over the next few weeks to put skills into practice!

best regards


Thank You

Hi Rob,

Just a quick message to say a massive thanks for a great course. I learnt so much over the two days and Bryn treated us to an excellent day out on the Sunday. I will definitely be returning to Glen Coe to do the same route in both winter and summer. A fantastic course and many thanks again. Keep up the great work.

Winter skills weekend - February 2014

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Great day on the Ice

We have had a grata first day on the ice in Rjukan, 9 pitches from WI2 to 4, blue skies, sunshine and no wind! Photos etc will follow next week as we have no wifi at the hotel. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thank You

Hi Rob, We just wanted to thank you for a really great weekend. The two days more than met our expectations of all the things we thought we would learn, but additionally taught us a wealth of things we were not even expecting! It was a very well planned weekend and we had a great summit today whilst being able to put into perspective all the things taught yesterday.

The weekend has helped us on many levels. Its our first step of winter climbing, our first step with you, but also all the relevance towards snow, weather, terrain and avalanche conditions for off piste skiing are a great insight.

You really have given us a love for Scotland, its our newfound secret playground!! Bryn was really great today Though he did organise better weather than you especially for our summit ;)

Thank you for a truely great experience, sadly my Go Pro was a no go today so i really look forward to seeing Bryns pics when they come through.

We hope you have a fun and safe trip to Norway

Luke & Bex - Winter Skills Weekend, Feb 2014

You can read more testimonials here:

My most useful bit of new kit this winter

Heres the most useful bit of kit I have bought this winter. Its an inclinometer that fits to a ski pole. Most avalanches occur on slopes of 30-45 degrees and as humans we are pretty poor at estimating slope angle. This allows you to be accurate in measuring it. It also has a thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temperature during the day. I have used smart phone apps to do the same thing but having it handy on a pole is way better. Its called a Pieps 30 plus and I bought mine on Amazon having never seen one in any shops.

Team Trail

The April issue of Trail looks great and hits the shops soon with my usual monthly "ask the expert" feature. Get your copy quick for spring time inspiration!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Winter Skills Weekend

I have been joined for the weekend by Alan, Rob, Tom, Becky, Luke and Simon for a winter skills course here in Scotland. It has been a generally bright day with just the odd showers and much lighter winds than forecast giving a great day for teaching. We spent lots of time looking at avalanche avoidance as well as the core skills of axe and crampon work. I go straight from here to Norway for our ice climbing week so blog posts may be quiet for a few days, don't worry it's only logistics! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valley Verte

The Valley Verte is the Highlands equivalent of the famous Valley Blanche and was the focus of our attention today. Huw and I were joined by Bryn and Rory who have come up for a quick hit and our cunning plan involved using the Nevis Range ski lifts to gain the days height. Unfortunately the lifts were buried under all the fresh snow so our plan was foiled and we had to skin to the summit in rapidly deteriorating visibility. The descent to the col between Aonach Mor and Aonach Beag was exciting in zero visibility and with some big drops on either side, much more exciting than on foot which is probably how I would do it next time! The Valley Verte drops from the col to the West on recently scoured slopes which were 40 degrees for about 300m of descent, thankfully the vis had improved but the light was still quite flat. We were all too gripped to take photos on that bit! As the angle eased and the valley opened up we had some lovely skiing down into Glen Nevis and then a beautiful walk under Steall Falls back to our pre placed car. An exciting day out! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wild ski touring

Today has been a day off so Huw and I got the skis out to make the most of all this snow! We parked at Fersit, doing a good deed along the way by delivering a parcel for a stuck delivery driver through the snow. We skinned up Chno Dearg, taking inspiration from Kenny Biggins new book "Scottish Offpiste Skiing and Snowboarding". This Munro sits at 1046m but some pretty strong winds that blew me off my feet twice meant we didn't quite tick the summit! It gave friendly angled slopes (generally below 25 degrees) which meant we could manage the avalanche risk but great overall snow cover. We had a spot of survival skiing from our turn around point, which made Huw feel sick with motion sickness as we could not tell up from down, before we broke out of the cloud and enjoyed some lovely snow and great turns. There was snow all the way to the car but a bit of bog skiing at the bottom! 

Thank You

Hi Rob,

I just wanted to say a big thank you for a really great few days - I've had a fantastic time and learnt a great deal, and I'm very impressed that you managed to get us out three days running despite the weather.  I really appreciate all the time, effort and patience that has obviously gone into this, and you (and Huw) make great company too, which is even better! It has been a lot of fun, and I will be back... Please pass on my thanks to Huw too, and I hope you have fun tomorrow in the Vallee Vert...

I did eventually get out of Glen Coe, after 2 hrs queuing and a very snowy crawl up the hill.  I got out just before the road was closed again, so I was very lucky.  That does mean I'm working rather than skiing tomorrow, though...

Take care, and see you next month!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stormy Day

There was snow on the car this morning and the snow gates on the A82 were closed until 8:00 am as there was even more snow overnight! With an unsurprisingly high avalanche risk we needed to stay low so headed into Glen Coe and made for the Zig Zags on Gear Aonach. We had to wade through snow that was often knee deep, occasionally waist deep, from the road! The boys and girls then lead the crux pitches for themselves until the storm hit and we enjoyed an abseil off in some very windy, snowy weather! There was a big avalanche on the NW flank of Beinn Fhada, we heard it for a few seconds before we saw the run out into the Lost Valley and it has been snowing heavily all afternoon at all levels. A pretty wild ending to a great course! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Snow, snow and more snow!

It has snowed overnight and snowed most of the day here in Scotland. Huw and I took the boys and girls on their second winter mountaineering day for a cracking day on the East Ridge of Beinn a Chaorainn. We enjoyed a snowy forest walk in and being at the front of the pack of other people with the same idea we also enjoyed a boot pack trail breaking session to the foot of the ridge! The snow was more than knee deep and we were glad to get onto the crest where some impressive shapes had been sculpted by the wind. We had some stunning views between some atmospheric snow showers and even the wind stayed kind to us. The usual summit navigation saw a bit of pacing on a bearing and then once again some more lovely views and a snowy forest walk back to a snow covered car. A great day out!