Saturday, 17 July 2010
Today Gillian and I went for an afternoon's cragging at Polldubh. We warmed up on Heatwave (MS or Sev depending which guide you read, but a good route either way) and then moved on to Storm (HVS 4b/4c/5a) which I was pretty pleased about as it was one of the routes I was hoping to climb by the end of the summer. Gillian lead up the first pitch and then I took over for the striking diagonal crack. This felt like my hardest lead to date, although very well protected. Gillian made a good job of the top 5a pitch, lacing it with so much gear she ran out of extenders before the end of it! We then retired to the Fort for a shandy in the sunshine.
Rich, Gillian, Brian and I took a group of 27 American Scouts and parents up Ben Nevis today for the Ice Factor. A good effort from all of them to reach the top with still a little snow from the top part of the zig zags. After quite a chilly lunch stop to enjoy the view from the summit we headed down in time for a quick cream tea at Café Beag.
Friday, 16 July 2010
Alex and I headed out onto the Dragon's Tooth on the Ballachulish Horseshoe today, a pleasant grade 2 scramble, if a little loose in places. Plenty of other folk out walking the two munros today in lovely sunshine despite the mediocre forecast. On the way down we were entertained by the lambs just above the village - one of them followed Alex bleating at him all the while. We also noted a sheep which appeared to fall over as it ran down the hill, then sat there until we had passed as if it was trying to convince us it had meant to do that... Whoever said sheep aren't very bright!
Deciding that the weather was a bit iffy today and I probably wouldn't get out on anything tricky, I headed to shadow Al who was working for the Ice Factor today with Dan and Amanda. They climbed the Gutter (Diff) in quite heavy rain before it dried out for a little while allowing us to get onto Right Wall on Styx Buttress (VDiff) before beating a retreat as the rain came in again. Gillian came up to meet us in the glen, with the intention of us climbing afterwards, but we decided almost straight away that a session in the wall was a better option!
Maz and I headed further north today to a very blustery and slightly damp Stac Pollaidh. Lovely scrambling and some moody views of Torridon and the north-western wilderness, and some slightly hair-raising moments of nearly being blown off the pinnacles on this grade 2 scramble got rid of the cobwebs following a birthday beer or two at the Sligachan!
Maz's birthday dawned calm, clear and really quite warm. Her dream of doing the Inn Pinn seemed pretty feasible, although we still weren't completely sure if we would come across awkward snow patches or not on the way there. In the event we didn't, made it there, climbed it, abseiled in style and made it back to Glen Brittle in time for ice cream. Result.
On the second day of the Skye mini-break, Maz and I headed for a nice easy scramble on The Spur of Sgurr an Fheadain. This is a grade 2 route which I'd been eyeing up for a while as a pleasant short day out. It takes a line next to the fantastic Waterpipe Gully for the top section, which I'll need to go back for some other time. It's a nice wee scramble with good sound slabby rock for the lower part although there are a few looser bits high up. We descended the screes on the right hand side into the coire and walked back via a bit of boulder hopping down the burn. This was the first time I'd really stopped to look at the Fairy Pools and I can certainly see why so many folk go for a wander by them - stunning rock formations and aquamarine water in the sunshine is a winning combination!
Back to Glen Brittle for the evening where we found ice cream first (got to get your priorities right in these things after all!) followed by nice somerset cider on the beach, with a fire, some other random campers and a guitar. Good times!
Today Maz and I headed up to Skye for a few days of holiday. We got to Glen Brittle in the early afternoon, pitched camp and headed up into Coire Lagan for a spot of bouldering. Maz managed to skin her shin on the rough gabbro whilst we played on some problems. We also managed to get a good look up into the top of the coire and it looked as if most of the snow was cleared, just a few patches left. Not sure I'd have fancied the Great Stone Shoot up to Sgurr Alasdair though, still quite a large patch on that.
North East Buttress on Ben Nevis is an amazing line - the skyline ridge as you approach from the North Face car park. It presents an imposing route and a long day out. Pete and I got an early start on a beautiful day after a last minute decision in the bar the night before to head to the Ben rather than any of the other options we'd mooted. We swung leads for most of the way up, with Pete taking the trickier pitches of the 40 foot corner (great climbing) and the Man Trap (we went round it in the end after a few attempts). A fantastic day out with a gorgeous blood-red sunset over the Rum Cuillin on the way down.
I'm inspired to climb the ridge in summer now to see the differences in the line and lead the Man Trap... Perhaps have to come back and do it in winter at a later date!