Saturday, 25 June 2011

So much more...

Finally i was on my way to Skye after hearing so much amazing things about the Isle. Amazing climbing, amazing rock, amazing setting, amazing scrambling and not forgetting the Ale!

I had a full A4 page with all the routes and places i would love to get done most of which were recommendations from friends who had inspired the trip. We were staying in the Glen Brittle Memorial hut which is run for climbers and hillwalkers wanting to spend time in the Cullins, the hut is a really cool place to stay and probably the closet you can stay to Sron na Ciche without a bivvy in Coire Laggan!

Grand Deidre and the TD Gap

The first day dawned dry but with a cloud base at around 900m, so Sgurr Alasdair was hidden from view, So we decided to get on a classic VS called Grand Deidre, a 70m corner line which tops out on top of the TD Gap. Really good route, safe and exposed with some awesome bridging moves. It was an eye opener as well due to the loose rock that teams have to be aware of during any activity on the Cullin, after the crux pitch i felt alot more in tune with the rock which gave me the confidence to relax in the mountains.

View from Hut!
Tuesday brought a cloudless morning and the seemingly perfect opportunity to give the Sron na Ciche Link up a go. My time in the mountains was aimed at doing easy classic climbs so after considering a couple of HVS/E1 alternatives up the buttress we decided to give Cioch West, Arrowroute and Integrity a go. I ended up leading all 7 pitches of Cioch west in a pretty quick time which boded well time wise to get the rest dome and back in time for Supper. However, the previous cloudless day had turned into a heavy and very wet rain day which instantly soaked all the routes! We climbed the last pitch in the rain and hid under the Western roof of the Cioch hoping for the rain to stop and our routes to dry, as expected this didn't happen so we retreated down the Terrace below the slab and abbed down Eastern Gully.

Wednesday dawned windy and dry so i was up for some cragging at Neist, allways wanted to go here along with Kilt rock and Staffin but Sean wasnt feeling the love for cragging so we ended up going bouldering at the heather hat at Culmanean, which was actually pretty good (gabbro is a bit too rough for bouldering!!!) with the setting of the Cullins in front of you.

Heather hat

Sean ended up bailing and Ali took his place to carry on my time in Skye. So on Thursday we were going to get on some harder routes up the Coich starting with Crembo cracks, i looked out the window and decided i should pack my waterproof jacket, just in case! However, it was gone!? After searching everywhere we came to the conclusion that the couple who had stayed at the hut last night must have taken it by mistake before the headed over to the Outer Hebrides! Noooooo.

Cooking some Beer-can (Jamacan accent required)

So we jumped into the speed machine that is Ali's Citroen and co-piloted by me we got to Uig just as the ferry was pulling in to the harbour, found there car and knocked on there window to see some very confused faces. I asked them if they thought they need an extra jacket for Harris which bought more confusion to the situation so i asked them if they could search there things for my jacket, right enough they had it!! Phew! So 9O'clock in Uig climbing Plans ruined for the day we ended up buying Bacon and fresh rolls and cooking it whilst relaxing on the top of Alis car waiting for the Skye Brewery to open. Living the life.

Winter Traverse anyone ;)

Several weird looks later and booze acquired we headed back to the hut for more food and a secondary plan to head up and summit Sgurr Alasdair via the entertaining Sgurr Sgurmain ridge. Absolutely awesome place and on the top i got psyched to attempt the full traverse in in winter which is said to be the best expedition in Britain.

Even had the weather for the Aviators to come out

Last day and Ali had to be home for the afternoon so Tim (the huts warden) showed us some sea cliffs that he used to climb at. So we got he gear out and managed a couple of new routes one of which I ended up cleaning on top rope after it turned out to be technically hard and bold, gave it E4 6a Tim's Roof.

Loch Brittle

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Day dawned with clear blue sky's, and about time too! I had arranged to climb at cummingston with Dan as i am planning to climb with him in the alps for my first season in August. Psyched! So with that in mind it was a chilled out day, Lead a couple of wishlist climbs including Oranage Ape a really good E2 5c with a bouldery start and interesting climbing above in the groove, I then got on a bold E2 5b called Double Deidre of Doubt. One cam thats of any use if you fall on the crux in 7m of climbing, moves were easy enough to be able to keep a cool head!

Starting to plan my trip to Skye which kicks off this Sunday for a week of classic climbs ticking, cant wait!

In between times ive got a Triumph 900 to fix, some more work and packing, and maybe one more sneaky day of climbing!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Simply the Best....

Finally got to Diabaig, looking through the guide book there doesnt seem a bad climb at the place, and the grippy Gneiss helping the cause.

After the long drive we pulled up in the tiny hamlet of diabaig pretty excited to get on the classics. We went to the main cliff first as this has the highest concentration of climbs, and found one other pair on Route two, the four star HVS 5b. Simon suggested an E1 to the right of this called Black Streak, this takes a clean thin crack line through a small overlap and contains two picthes of superb and enjoyable crack climbing. After abbing down off of the worse (lethal imo) bit of rock imaginable and drying our stuff after it rained during out ascent route 2 was free. Same again, another really enjoyble route that has heaps of gear and interesting moves throughout.

Northumberland Wall

Then, and what turned out to be our last route of the day, we went for Northumberland Wall, the crag classic E2 5c. I manned up and got on the crux first pitch which despite my dubious thoughts at the bottom wasn't as bad as it looks from the bottom, and once past the first crux traversing move is steady and enjoyable all the way (but still sustained!)
Diabaig Harbour and Skye
On Sunday we headed up to seana mheallan but only got three routes in due an earky departure late start (slept in ;) and lots of rain showers! And the main crag was wet again!! It was a day of confirmation though;

I dont like Midges,
I need a van to sleep in,
I dont like the approach to Seana Mheallan,
The western Sector stays dry but the main crag seeps and is a late season venue,
And i cant take failure (a hold broke on me and i came off, not strictly my fault but still annoying!)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New Horizons!

First day back climbing after getting back from work. Fancied some stamina training to get back into the flow so chose the now popular venue of Moy rock. It was drizzling when we arrived so it was not evident if the rock was going to be dry or not. Thankfully we could enjoy many meters of pebble pulling on dry rock. Result.

The first route we did was Little teaser and is a route i have failed to climb clean the previous twp times, so after being 'weak' after two weeks away from climbing i wasnt expecting to do it this time. After half way up i was beginning to feel some pump but after getting to the crux felt strong and got the sequence first time. Awesome. Maybe better technique?

Next was the 6c to the left, The Dark Side, another route i had previously failed on, unfortunately this time was no different. I failed on the crux at the top and didnt commit to reaching the crucial sloping hold. I asked to get lowered down after a rest to just before the crux sequence and nailed it first go. Its an awesome climb though!

Little Teaser

Eyeing up Monkey Mafia E5

After this we went to cummingston for some hard trad toproping action! We set up a toprope on Monkey Mafia, an E5 6b ish route that takes a steady start direct up to a insane roof traverse. I managed to get to the crux move but ended up going to low and missed out a crucial knee-bar and came off! still promising that i got up it eventually!

Found some more cummingston potential aswell!