Friday, 20 July 2012

Coire Lagan

Morning Coire Lagan
Final day dawned another great day, a bit of cloud hangin around sgurr sgumain and Alasdair but nothing that looked as if it wouldnt clear during the day. Most importantly it was dry.

Boots touched down on Bastinado at 9 and we were discussing our next adventure at the Glacis by 3. 6 hours of great climbing in a place that gets better every time you go, as you learn more about the history, geology, climbs and geography of the place.

Bastinado a 2 star route is a 4 pitch E2 5c with a reported 'brutal' crux. Martin lead off on the first pitch, taking a nice 40m layback crack to the 1 st belay.

Martin P1

2nd and third pitch was combined to give a warm up crux of 5b and the actual route crux of 5c in a nice 30m pitch. Crux was pretty desperate, not hard physically but just a really long, awkward, frustraintingly close to getting it hold. But once caught it leads onto a nice exposed flake line leading to a belay. The final pitch leads easily up below the great hanging slab of the Cioch.

Bastinado E2 - 1st crux

My lead again and it was great to climb up the slab and Arrow Route, passing the great fun looking line of overhanging crack on the Cioch itself (note to self: get on this next time). No gear, just really weird bobbly rock. Great fun.

Arrow Route - VD

Last butress was breached by climbing Atropos. Atropos gets a bit of bad press on UKC being apparently a rubbish line, loose, poor belays but I liked the climbing. The first slab is really nice and the second pitch feels like your free climbing 2 overlaps in one pitch and ending up on the glacis is a great feeling no matter how you got there. The second roof is a bit loose but this is the mountains, just got to be careful. A great day ended by finding martins bag of biscuits and my lunch box half way down the crag in bits after the local crow had decided he was a bit peckish. Got to commend them really, swines!!!!!

Atropos P1 - E1

Decided to drive home late that night to convert the van the next day.

Campervaning it up living the life

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Skye - Kilt Rock

Kilt Rock - Amazing Place to climb
Second day dawned sunny but with some ominous looking clouds above. On the road to Kilt Rock we drove through several showers that started to dampen our spirits somewhat. However at the turning north from Portree all was well with the Old man of stoer looking awesome in the summer light.

After the walk across the field that leads to Kilt Rock i got my first sight of the columnar jointed mega seacliff. This place has loads of character and an air of scaryness that i started to feel at the top. It was Martins lead and he chose to get on the nice line of Tartan Terror to the left of Skyman, my eyes were on this for the day until i got there!!

Martin post fall on Tartan Terror

Martin did a good job leading the 25m to the crux, he geared up, psyched up and went for it. And then he went for some flying lessons, after a much fought battle he had to concede and take a winger onto the bomber gear. Good effort though, and from the ground it looks good and doable. But when your starting up the crux you soon feel the sustained nature that consumes so many of this jamming crack paradise (or any other way you feel about jamming). So after more minutes of grunting and sweat Martin got to the top after winning an impressive battle against the crux crack. My turn on second and got up but had to learn how to relax whilst using jams pretty quick, very nice but pumpy E1.

Abbing down Grey Panther
Next up was the 45m crag classic Grey Panther, E1 5b ****. It doesnt take the normal crack line as most others do, instead a cunning use of Bridging has to be used to wiggle your way up the impressive and never ending Dolarite corner. Half way up you start to think you havnt even made a dent in the route as there is still so much climbing to come. Then the thin for the feet crux comes and i started to sweat underneath my jacket in the warmth of the sun.

At the top looking down the route is great, so many quality moves all the way up. A climb i wont forget in a while :)

Last route to wind down for the day was the classic HVS Electric Bagpipe, by the way, a freezing belay seems to ensue during the leader dispatching the route. Nice climb aswell, very worth while abbing down the gull once more at the end of a day for a wind down. 115m of climbing in three routes. Day is over but im definitely going to come back after a longer running spell of climbing hard (and using my new learnt and trusted jamming techniques ;) I have a few more of the harder classics to get on!! Cuillin tomorrow

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Back to it - Skye - Neist

Neist Point Lighthouse and Harris

Neist - Arrived late Tuesday night at Neist Lighthouse car park. Nice weather and a decent breeze saw the worst of the midgies away. I got the familiar feeling of being somewhere new and being excited about the climbing to come in a new place. Also being at Neist Point with the weather as it was confirmed how much i love being in, and exploring Scotland.

Lazy morning breakfast finished and the boots donned, it was time to head off to the Financial Sector for the action to begin. This will be the first time i have been outcrop & Sea cliff cragging in Skye with my previous trip being up the cuillin. It was a great day, i started the day with Bridging Interest, a lovely climb that, as the title suggests, has some good bridging moves.

Bridging Interest HVS 5a
Martin led Insider dealing, being another good route going through a roof with the 1st of many jamming moves to come on this trip. Two more good routes soon followed with an interesting wall climb, Security Risk and a rediculous climb, A fistful of Dolarite finishing the morning session. A handfull of good wee routes to warm up on in a great setting and even better rock. Eyed up the better climbs on this cliff, in particular Wall Street and Hurricane Hideaway, the former being a route when im climbing a bit more.
Security Risk E1 5b

To finish off the day i fancied heading to the Bays, Bay 3 had a nice looking crack line going at E2 5c I was a bit apprehensive but got on it anyway and had to rest on the crux after misreading a thin move to get into the main corner crack. Above this it was an awesome crack line and really enjoyable climb. Loved it, supercharger looks doable!!!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Floods, breakdowns and Distractions.... And Climbing, finally

Long time since my last post from the West Coast trip. A few events have stopped me from getting out and concerntrating on my climbing. I think the main one being the construction of my new log cabin that will be used as a summer house / second house long term but my folks will be moving into there as i move into their house. So lots of building and sitting on a roof hammering nails through cedar shingles.

Dad at work
A new van for myself has also taken up some of my time as i work to convert it into a camper with beds, power and cooking etc.Riding bikes, both motorised and pedal power are another distraction from climbing. And i suppose not forgetting the wettest summer ever!!!!!!

But anyway I had planned, for the 2nd year in a row, to head down to N Wales and sample the classic climbing delights of Angelsy and Snowdonia. 2 days to go the MOT ran out on the van and after a manic phoning session to find a garage who could do it asap, the van had been looked at and had failed. What!?!

A simple fix, sticking rear brake, very harsh to fail it but failed it was. And with the transport failure the wales trip soon followed, down the pan. Plan B soon came together and a trip to Skye was soon organised, apparently the driest place in the uk and had been for 2 months.

The next three posts will sum up the excellent trip to Skye with Martin.