Saturday, 12 March 2011


Staying at a mates in Scotsburn, Tain we were looking out the window with only hail and rain to admire.after careful planning and a rash decision in the end we headed North to Latheronwheel a small area of sandstone sea cliffs south of Wick. Latheron must of been the only dry place in the whole of Scotland today so our luck was in. This is the second time i have come to Latheron and each time have really enjoyed it. The rock it heavily banded sandstone with horizontal break usually forming the only areas of protection by means of cams. gear is good and then climbing usually steep on big grippy holds.

All good things.....
Unfortunately the top of the crag has a thick layer of soil and grass which holds any rain and releases it down the climbs. The only couple of climbs that weren't damp or covered in slippery Lichen were Laphoraig HVS 5b and Socket Direct Start S 5a. Socket got soloed and Laphoraig was achieved by abbing down to as close to the sea as possible (high tide) and climbing up from a hanging belay. The moves over the roof of Laphoraig were steep and committing but on big holds so was maybe 5a. very good route all the same and a thumbs up for Socket as well, nice crack climbing with heaps of gear.


Creag dont and Moy Mock!

Forecast - High winds, Heavy snow..... Lets check out Creag Dubh. So we turned up when the weather was surprisingly nice. The rock was dry on the majority of Inbred but everywhere else was seeping. For Plan B we went to moy rock, which, being steep conglomerate should be dry.

Ali surprisingly cheerful

So after walking to the crag in blizzard conditions we donned our harnesses and chalk and got on with it! I started on Little teaser a pumpy 6b and chose The Dark Side 6c for my second and final route. The rock was dry but i was pretty cold in the weather and fell on both routes. Got pumped on both due to getting to the crux and looking for the sequence but due to it being conglomerate i couldn't see it quick enough and got pumped. (Note - I need to keep coming back to Moy Rock as its gret stamina training. Work on pushing more in balance with feet and rely less on arms. Also keep arms relaxed and straight and take advantage of good rests. Slow climbing down to figure out the sequence)

Hardcore and keen or stupid?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Logie Head

Another day of trad brought me and Sean to Logie Head. Bit surprised to find the rock bone dry with no seepage on any line, normally after winter it seeps for a couple of weeks. To start the day i got on Docs crack, a short crack line HVS 5b, a good warm up route??? Oh how i was wrong. Got on the route and after 5 moves i found myself pumped trying to get a rest on a sloping break with nothing for my feet, maybe went too far left into no mans land which resulted in a rest! Not the best start but we concluded that the grade is E1 5b (a pumpy one!) albeit offroute from the original.

After that false start and finally putting the blame on going offroute ;) Sunnyside Direct was looking good. This climb at E1 5c went really well with awesome moves and great climbing in general (E1 5b).

Sunnyside Direct - Post Crux
For the final route i got on Daves Dilemma E1 5b, the route goes over a small roof / incut into a thin crack. Getting out of the incut and over the wee roof was fun on good but slippery holds with adequate gear.

Daves Dilemma

All in all a good day.

Personal goals for this year is to get consistent at E1 with occasional E2 and onsight E3 by end of season, at which point i should have a sound foundation upon to start training to get up harder classic climbs next year. First goal ticked :) Keep the mileage up and the rest will easily fall into place (ha yeah right)

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Cullen Skank

Another nice day dawned so i thought i'd take advantage and go into a dark cave! Nearest bouldering to me is at Cullen Caves. An all weather venue with a decent amount of hard problems on very steep rock, not to mention sharp. On the way past i found myself eyeing up my long term project, an awesome looking line (very strenuous looking) that takes a thin 60 degree overhanging rising traverse up the inside of a cave and tops out on very suspect rock (Will need cleaning). Will start working it this summer or try and get it onsight once i have stared it down!

7a Cullen Skank Zak & Logie Head in Background

Anyway i took a jaunt down and did a couple of warm up problems i went on my wee project cullen skank Font 7a.  Im nearly there just need to find one hold and trust a heel hook but with no mats im a little hesitant to fully commit.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Week of scottish Wonderfulness - Day 6

Well, this weather has really ruined conditions everywhere. My plan for today was to go up the Ben with Gwilym but as of yesterday i was looking for a partner. I got in contact with Gregor to arrange a climb tomorrow but we decided to save it for another day as the Ben is looking pretty black just now!

So it turns out this will be my last day of the trip. what to do with no partners..... Glen Nevis Soloing/chill out.

Misty Glen

Ended up soloing Severe Crack VS 4c, Pinnacle Ridge S and Staircase S all on Pinnacle Ridge and all were extremely polished. I found it a bit off putting on Severe Crack as i didn't trust my feet on the polished holds. i also had a go on Chalky Wall E4 6a, Worked the first 3m and down climbed to save it for a lead in the (long time away) future.

Back home for a couple of days rest and planning for next weeks action.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Week of scottish Wonderfulness - Day 5

Second day in the Fort and after our escape from cornices yesterday we decided to give Glen Coe a go. Stob Coire an lochain and Twisting Gully our chosen route for the day. parking at the Coe car park it was evident that nearly everything had been stripped but being the keen climbers we are decided to go and check it out. Half way up the walk in path Gwilym winter had caught him up and thought it best to have a rest day as it wasn't particularly inspiring conditions and his knee was complaining. I decided to go on for a day out by myself.

Summit of Bidean

I ended up soloing Dorsal arete, which was pretty loose and exposed! From the top of this i went to the summit of Stob Coire an Lochain and traversed over to Bidean Nam Bian. stunning scenery and a good workout was the result. Long term winter isnt looking good as all but the biggest gully climbs are stripped with no sign of any cold weather and snow on its way. Hopefully the Ben will hold better things in store tomorrow.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Week of scottish Wonderfulness - Day 4

For the second part of my trip i have moved to mates chalet located in Fort William. Gwilym was up for a few days of winter climbing but i had a feeling all was not going to go to plan!? The first day we went for a look at Aonach mor, our chosen route was whiteshark, a III 4 ice route. We got the Gondola and quad chair up to the top of easy gully. After fixing up our snow bollard for the abseil down easy gully we walked around to the base of our route.

Too Warm!
 The temperature shot up around the time we approached the Whiteshark. Our gut instincts led our attentions to the very large and very soft cornices above our route and the corrie. We decided to gear up and i set up the first belay for Gwilym to lead the first pitch. After climbing 5m of wet snow some large clumps of cornice started to fall onto our route and us! We made a hasty retreat and whilst doing so witnessed another climber self arresting out of tunnel vision with little success. Plan B - walk to summit and sulk!