Sunday, 28 September 2014

Old Friends...New Routes

After a long summer of work, it was good to get out for a climbing session. Bill unfortunately tied up elsewhere, Craig and Mark made the best of the weather and headed for the Coe with North Face Route on the Bookle in mind.

Arrival and the walk in found us in light drizzle and chilly winds but the face gave us some shelter as Mark headed up the first pitch.  The walk in is as meandering as the climb itself but eventually leads to a nice wee niche in the rock and a straightforward start.

Chilly start

Mark leading off

The climb has pretty good holds but many interesting moves in the first few pitches, followed by a lovely traversing pitch round a corner and up a pleasant groove - Craig went a bit high and ended up with a lot of rope drag at the belay but high seemed the obvious line.

Second pitch heading for a nice bit of action

The 'hero' shot...lovely short pitch

Mark led off up the guidebook crux though we weren't sure where the crux was tbh.  A slabby approach saw Mark off up the crack line for another short pitch - 8 pitches in total and really neither is more than 30m tops...evidencing a nice meandering route.

Mark at the top of the crux

There followed a superb chimney pitch up a very slimy & wet chimney - like soaked but filthy - and Craig despatched the airy step back across the chimney to the belay bringing Mark up to finish off the difficulties across the next hero shot pitch on quite wonderful, grippy rock.

Craig on the chimney pitch

Mark on the final 'hero' pitch
All in, this is a great route with much interest and variety of moves.  It terminates at the top of D Gully Buttress and descends down Curved Ridge.

A great day and what a great decision to avoid the Rannoch Wall, which had about 50 climbers on Agag's and January Jigsaw on an outing from Glasgow Uni...a babble of ropes indeed!

Nice chat with a few parties on the way down saw us crossing the River Coe with nearly dry feet and a drive home...which would have been much quicker if the part timers doing the Pulpit Rock road widening got their finger out and hurried up a tad!!!

NFR - a worth 4 star severe in the wet on any day.   Could possibly get a visit in winter? :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Montana to Africa via Switzerland

Scottish MTN Safari from C Coid on Vimeo.

Craig was most fortunate to hook up with Daniel and Jason over for some biking and had a most memorable time.
The team
Three days around the 'Gorms, two in the NW Highlands and a final day in Fort William left them breathless in many ways!!
References to Scotland being Montana, USofA and African savannahs give you an impression of the weather (hot) and variety of scenery available in our wee country.

From wanting to throttle Craig well into a two hour hike-a-bike to echoing praise of the best 2 hr descent ever undertaken gives you an idea of the fine time they had.
We're gonna kill you soon...!!
Still might kill you but it looks good ahead
Craig, we love you!
Best biking ever!!!

From Menzies in Dunkeld (Scotland's best deli??) to some fine pizza and beer in the Grog n Gruel in Fort William, food and hospitality met expectations (bar one bizarre scone and sandwich moment in Torridon!!) and Jason's search for fine ale and finer whisky was sated :)
Jason in trepidation of the haggis Scotch egg!! Understandably we thought...

Daniel enjoying some local fire water
All in, a truly memorable week for all; general consensus was that Craig's truck rocks but Scotland's biking rocks even more.  

Thanks also to Guy at the Bothy in Braemar for some secret trails.

First shot at publishing a movie with Mac iMovie, so things can only get better......

Tuesday, 15 July 2014


Arriving in Geneva again to poor weather and then to Chaminox to the Midi lift closed due to high winds, Craig and Mark knew they were already onto plan E.

Next day, the CLAG filled the valley and the rock was wet so we headed up into the mist to find the Cosmique Arete. This was a good idea and we found conditions good on route with the odd sunny spell between the clap of thunder and the sound of avalanches happening in the distance.

Next day with an AM weather window we headed to the Petit Vert to climb the North Face variation. It was like a cats cradle on the summit with at least 30 ropes. Abseiling down the route of ascent worked best for us on the day with café Americano at the cable way café and some demons exercised.

Next up, the Cosmique Arete again this time in super Scottish conditions. We moved fast overtaking all guided and non guided parties on route to finish in super fast time on the platform.

The weather over the next couple of days looked poor for all of the alpine regions so we headed out of the valley to Sass Grund to check it was still there. It was and so was Golda and the warm and relaxed Heino hotel. We headed up on the hill the next day for the Alallinhorn by the normal route but with 600mm of new unstable snow/graupel it was never going to happen. We dug some pits and decided to return to Feltskin and walk to the Brittiania Hut for Coffeesnapps. In the afternoon we headed up to Hohsass to look at the Weismiss, which was hidden mostly in cloud.

We headed back to Cham in the rain taking in Zermatt for coffee and a look for a new bazzy (baseball cap) for Craig - no joy there or any other gear shop in the alps.

It had rained non stop in the valley while we were in Switzerland so the only safe option was, yes the Cosmique Arete again, this had totally changed in character with most of the route buried; indeed the crux crack was a good metre shorter than the previous journeys. The route was busy with mostly guided parties (French Itallian and German) so at the usual bottle necks we tried our best bumming food, starting a snowball fight and trying to get an international choir going…

Feeling acclimatised and seeing a weather window for our last full day, up again we went with 3 routes in mind. We burst through the cloud and had decent vis on the Valley Blanc so plan A it had to be and off we plodded in direction of the Triangle du Tacul and the Chere Couloir.

This gives good climbing on 60-80º ice and feels very Scottish in character (especially when it started snowing) and is quite reminiscent (to us anyway) of Point 5 and Green Gully on the Ben. Some super slick abseiling had us back on the VB, packed and heading for the slog up the 'walk of death' before we descended into the mist and rain of the valley.

All in a great trip making the best of the conditions, the Pizza at Casa Valerie and the beer at Monkey.

Testing some new kit, the Bergelmit Jackets and Vanir Salopettes performed very well with the mixed conditions and getting the "eye" on route and in town, thanks Tommy.

Some pics from the trip...