Last week saw that rare and magic alignment of good snow and good weather in the Scottish Highlands.
After returning from Kintail, I spent most of the week looking at webcams and forecasts; praying that it would hold out until the next weekend for some Scottish skiing. Conditions looked amazing, and I
Well six of us turned up. Then it rained. We all got cold.
Keith and Mike climbed a damp crease in the rain. I rushed a light lead - Steve soloed it as the rain began. Wayne and Gaz came and joined us from further down the crag.
Wonder why I’m writing it now, rather than skiing powder or climbing packed out gullies? Then read on…
Sara, Stuart and I set off from Leeds on Friday evening in light snow. As we skirted the Yorkshire Dales on the A65 the snow got heavier and the road got slippier.
“So what is your history with Quietus1 Mike?” asked Bruce.
“Well I had a go, but I came off. My foot was on the heel hook so inverted as I fell.”
“There was a lot of rope stretch, so I landed on the ledge below, hit my head, and got concussed.
Winter climbing, it’s a strange beast really, particularly what we like to think of as our ‘special’ British variant of the activity. Many of us will drive for hours long into the night for a dusting of snow and a long walk in to be met by conditions that make us think ‘yeah, it is in nick, honest’. A start in the dark by headtorch will often be matched with a walk out by headtorch, if not climbing by headtorch, a slump into the car and a nod to our partner of ‘yep another good day out, winter climbing is ace isn’t it’.
Having managed to successfully get two places on a heavily subsided Winter Skills course through the Conville Memorial Trust, Amy and I set off on the long journey from Bradford to Grantown on Spey. Approximately 350 miles and 7 hours later, we arrived at Ardenbeg Bunkhouse and after finding something to eat, meeting our fellow applicants and acclimatising to the typical Scottish temperature for a January evening (it was bloody freezing!!), we hit the sack in preparation for an early 8am start.
The wet summer had hampered most of my aspirations for multipitch climbing this year, although I’ve had a lot of good days out in the Peak.
Yet another trip to the Peak was the original plan for this weekend, but with a sudden change of fortune in this weekend’s forecast, the opportunity to climb in North Wales was too good to resist.
So Kev, Dave P, Mark and I hatched a last-minute plan to head over to Llanberis on Saturday morning. For those based east of the Pennines this meant a very early pre-dawn departure, with Mark getting up at 4 am to rendezvous with the others! I was able to set off at the more civilised hour of 8 am – but still tired from a hard week at work and a poor night’s sleep.
Me and Dave have just got back this aft from a 3-week long trip to Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. It was fantastic, we had excellent weather and did some quality climbing. Although the Valley itself was quite busy (peak tourist season), we had the routes pretty much to ourselves Our aim was to do some real classics and then to challenge ourselves with the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral (11 pitches, 5.9) at the end of the trip, which we did successfully!
Just got back from a couple of weeks at Ailefroid in the Ecrins National Park in the French Alps.
It's a beautiful place with a great campsite and absolutely loads to do for the outdoors enthusiasts.
The Plan: Drive up from Leeds to Whitehaven during the day Saturday to do the route in 4 days, staying at the end with friends who live not far from the coast near Sunderland. Then get the train back over to pick up the car at Whitehaven and drive back again east before going home. We changed this plan a couple of days into the trip and split what was a very long looking last day in two and thus giving us a leisurely final leg on the Thursday. This turned out to be an excellent move as when we had finished the route we did have another 10 or so miles to tag on to get to our friends’ house.
Anna and I headed over to Borrowdale for a few days. We camped in the site just up from Rosthwaite. £6 per person, per night, warm showers at 50p a go, but no hot water otherwise. Sunday afternoon we climbed at Quay foot Buttress getting a couple of good routes: Mandrake HVS and Abberation MVS.
I put lots of the photos from the LMC galleries in to some videos with some music to save you having to click through them all in the galleries.
Despite the good forecast, Saturday started windy, cold and drizzly. Hypothermia started setting in just sitting around having breakfast. There were sullen mutterings about having to go for a walk instead of climbing. In the end, most of us decided to flog into the climbs to 'have a look', with a big group of us heading up to the Napes and Kern Knotts on Great Gable.
PJ set a cracking pace up the long ascent to Sty Head, closely followed by Bruce, whilst Paul, the third member of 'The A-Team', grumbled along at the back. John and I didn't even try to keep up. Meanwhile Dave C and Rob ('The Real A-Team'?) quietly overtook everyone on the hill. Clag continued to obscure the tops of Great Gable and Scafell Pike. The nagging cold gusts of wind refused to subside. I watched to see if the spattered drops of rain on the rocks would start to coalesce; hoping to find a valid excuse not to climb in these conditions.!-->
Saturday saw an early start at seven. After a leisurely breakfast all but one headed for Grey Crag. Norbert, recuperating from a knee operation, planned to retrace his steps from the 2008 OMM over Hindscarf and Robinson.
Kev, never a fan of a walk-in, had somehow been persuaded to make the trip to Grey Crag. Perhaps tempted by glossy guide book photos? Perhaps by some gross miss-selling on the length of the walk-in.
As we approached Birkness Combe a couple of other parties with climber-sized packs appeared on the path from the other end of the lake. No comment was made but the pace definitely quickened. Dave, Alan, PJ and Bruce pulling ahead to get to the crag and bag the preferred routes for their teams.
Our journey began in the glamorous surroundings of Halifax train station where I’d met my girlfriend Amy after completing a half day at work. Our lakes adventure would begin with a train journey to Windermere via Preston. Upon arriving at Windermere station, we hopped onto a bus to drop our rather large rucksacks off at Ambleside before visiting one or two of the local hostelries whilst carb loading and perusing the map for the following day.
Day One (Coniston YH to Eskdale YH)
After helping ourselves to the full English, our first day began! We had originally planned to walk to Coniston but as both youth hostels were full, we decided to get the bus to Coniston (via Hawkshead) and begin walking from there. Following what seemed like a never-ending climb up the Walna Scar Road, we arrived at the col, where the views began to open up. The Scafell massif was covered in cloud although Harter Fell was clear and provided us with a way marker for the rest of our first day. Dropping into the Duddon valley we hadn’t seen a sole and after a brief lunch stop next to the river Duddon, we climbed up to the side of Grassguards. Using the SW flank of Harter Fell as a handrail, we made good progress along the tops before Eskdale YH came into sight. A quick descent was followed by a very welcoming pint in The Woolpack Inn. An hour or so later we made good our escape and walked the few hundred yards as we arrived at YH just in time for tea!!
Showing 1 - 15 of 15 blog entries
A Crookrise rainy day come good
The Meet That Never Was......
Hanging Around in The Peak
A Tale of Two Winter Belays
Winter Skills in the Cairngorms
LMCer's in the Pass
Dave & Holly's trip to Yosemite
Paul's trip to Ailefroid (Alps)
C2C - A taste of things to come??
The Greenwoods Go Climbing
Lots of photos in videos with music
Wasdale Head Meet
Buttermere - Dalegarth Campsite
Tour of the Lake District