Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ae out on their Bikes

Friday saw Craig and Bill out scoping Forest of Ae 7stanes resort for future visits with groups.   It took us about an hr from the south east of Glasgow, down the M74 towards fairly close to hand for us as compared to other places we visit.

We went round the red route in good time with a couple of punctures, enjoying the technical bits here and there.   It's a good location with red, blue and green routes available; the red route is certainly not suitable for the unfit or those lacking in good bike handling skills.

It even has a bike wash at the end of the day - great, and an honest bunch of locals and cyclists...I left my camera on the rear bumper of the der Panzer and it was there on return :)

All in, a great day and location...we will return to hone the skills.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Friendo's Spur

18 November 2012
Craig and Mark had an early start to Fort William with a plan to climb North East Buttress. 24hrs of snow made the Ben look wintery but it didn’t feel all that cold. As we passed a deserted CIC hut we decided that conditions were not really “in” for NEB so opted for Tower Ridge instead.

Getting to the bottom of the route involved some ”interesting” soloing up deeply snow covered un-bonded rock held in place with non-frozen turf.

Once on the ridge it was obvious the snow had no base and conditions were tricky , but we pressed on till we were wading waist deep in places beneath the little tower. The wind got up, it started snowing heavily, and both of us had that gut feeling of impending doom. We bailed with a couple of abseils and picked our way back down to the hut via an incredibly laden Easy Gully but thankfully the snow was sufficiently wet to hold together well.

We met Spike and his mate who had climbed and boarded down no 4 gully-good effort.

A speed walk out saw us back at the north face car park feeling the effects of a long day. Notwithstanding our bail, this was a fine day underpinned by determination and good decisions...fight another day :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Acapella in the Snow

Craig and Mark were out in the hills for the first winter climb of the season, whilst Bill was working for Tayler Made Adventures.

Cairngorms was the climbing location and there was an alpine start and arctic conditions to get there;

Eventually arriving, we headed into the corrie in cold windy conditions with plenty of snow about;

We had our eyes on Invernookie 111,4 which takes a line up the RHS of Fiacuill Couloir (number 6 in diagram); we take a picture of the route and route description on our iphones - technology is wonderful nowadays...

Sadly, my Nikon Coolpix 5000 died a death after some years of abuse (drop and survived many times) but it is now officially deceased have to look on ebay for a good all pics are from Mark.

We found the start with a team ahead and one right behind, so things were a bit slow for everyone. opting for the direct start on the right before entering the start of Fiacuill Couloir; this has some meaty moves with little for foot placements in the thin conditions and Mark led it well for a full rope.

Next up, I led through and met the team ahead, with more moves on steep walls with nothing for feet. After waiting for the team to move off, I brought Mark up and he led thro' to the cave near the top  - this was the crux pitch with hard moves for a 3 IV in the conditions we felt it was more 4 - good lead :)

I then topped out with a delicate traverse in the powder to a final crack move to the top with the usual absence of foot placements (see pic below).  A team on the Seam to our right were having a great time too - that looks a very attractive climb for another day.

Final pitch traverse
We headed off over the plateau to the Goat Track, being buffetted by strong cold wind and spindrift on the way and made our way to the car to complete a great day for the first climb of the season.

On the plateau

Views to Cairngorm
Near the carpark, we met a group from St Andrews out doing a photo shoot for an Acapella group called "The Other Guys" - we asked and were given a rendition of their Christmas Carol, which was great!  Good luck to them.

More to come, and hopefully the early snow is a good indication of an excellent winter.

Bill has 2 more TCL training courses running over the next 6 weeks. If you have aspirations of becoming a Mountain Bike Guide you need to get on the programme ASAP. Call Bill on 07717 005 803 for details.

Acapella - just so you know