Monday, 18 November 2013

Nopics, or Nomics

Sunday saw Craig and Mark up early to run along a snow covered Aonach Eagach - 730am in the carpark revealed no snow and a couple of options…we chose a quick up and down the much loved Curved Ridge.

Not sure what we might find in the higher slopes to the summit, we travelled light but took crampons and axe jic…pics needed but not crampons…there is very little snow up there bar some wind blown early 'neve' on the eastern aspects.

We took the line of most resistance and enjoyed splendid views and excellent company…

Early morning over Rannoch Moor

Interesting cloud formation in the Glen

Lonely chap high on the mountain
We continued beyond the top of the ridge and skirted round the base of Crowberry Tower and scrambled up, over looking Crowberry Gully, onto the summit for the best lunch spot in the world.

Crowberry Tower
A further scramble off the summit saw us climb over the remnants of the snow to the summit and thence to the 'Tourist' path and back to the car.  All in, a nice day out visiting familiar ground; Curved Ridge is always an entertaining and fun day out…one of our favourites :)

Even better with such good company -

Hopefully the forthcoming cold snap and snow brings more wintry conditions and a bit of quality ice/neve for harder routes in the Lochan area.

Monday, 11 November 2013

It's Definitely This Way!

Sunday 4am and up for the first winter climb of the season.  Mark and Craig headed up North for some action to Aviemore, heading off into the mist around 8am looking for Fiacaill buttress area. Increasing height brought  increasing snow and a final swim to the entrance to the couloir.

A party ahead of us were heading for The Seam, which was on our tick list but the conditions were not great for it, so we took the Invernookie line; always a great early season alternative - indeed, The Seam party bailed after the traverse to the base of the chimney.

Craig on third pitch
We had a fine day swinging leads; me first and third, Mark second and fourth.  We hooked and swam up the route as the snow was deep and soft, and the turf soft.  A lovely day broke around 12am as the mist lifted and revealed the corrie in its full winter garb.  There was plenty of action around the Fiacaill and elsewhere in the corrie.  
Mark on the final pitch traverse
All in a great start to the season and hopefully more to come, with more super weather and more consolidation of snow and turf :)

Wonderful views
Top of the world - nearly
Me on final pitch
Looking over Corrie an Lochan
Is that the lower car park?

Monday, 4 November 2013

29er and A Baptism of Ice

Craig and Mark were out on the bikes to scope some new trails around Glencoe and more importantly testing out the new Santa Cruz Highball 29er; Craig's first introduction to 29er'dom.

A whiz up the A82 and re-introduction of the suicide deer on several occasions saw us out in the cold, rain/sleet and wind at the bottom of the Devil's Staircase.  Ten minutes in the car saw the worst of it over and then a mad dash to change saw us off up the hill, the Highball running nicely over the rough stuff.

The high pass was 'negatively baltic' and a quick pic of the 'Bookle' in all its approaching winter glory saw us hightail it off down the hill towards the Ice Factor and a warm coffee.

A nice roll and sausage and warm up in the cafe at the Ice Factor saw us checking the winter gear (nothing worth drooling over I'm afraid) then off up the road to Glencoe village and some new trails to keep us off road.

A pleasant spin up the Glen off road most of the way saw us finish off the ride in style with time to spare. The 29er is a lovely bike but I'm still musing over whether it is a trick to get us all to replace our bikes and new kit or a real step forward in technology and progress.

The snow was lying in the Glen and with more cold weather approaching, it may be time to get the ice axes sharpened for next week....luvely jubily :)

Meanwhile, over at the sharp end, Bill was delivering an MBLA Trail Cycle Leader training course around Mugdock Park with staff from Ardmay House and Fiona from Cycle Scotland.   The weather was wet and bedraggling on Saturday but improved on Sunday.

All candidates had a great couple of days learning the requisite skills to lead groups on TCL terrain and headed home with grand plans to get out and ride more...what we should all be looking to do.

Well done to Fiona, Tara, James, Ben, Lincoln and Andrew for keeping with the programme over a hard two days.