Friday, 29 May 2009

Salamander, Creag Ghlas

This route has to be high up on my list of favourites - lovely slabby climbing, great gear and a fantastic situation with stunning views. The weather helped a bit and Ron and I enjoyed a hot, sunny, blue sky day.
We arrived to find two other climbers high on the route so we really felt we had it it to ourselves as we climbed. The first pitch has an incredible dog-leg crack which the guide book describes as "noticeably harder after the dog-leg". It was right, it was more difficult but in a nice sort of way! The second pitch has less protection but lots of good holds and some heather too. The trick seemed to be how to work out how to get along the heathery ledge without getting mud on the rock boots. The next pitch has a choice of 5a or 5b and Ron chose to climb the 5a route up the slab and around a little overlap. And so it went on with another lovely slab and some layback moves into a crack. The final and fifth pitch took a hidden chimney on big moves to the top.

Above are a few photos of Ron climbing on the third, fourth and fifth pitches.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


Ron and I had very brief visit to Traprain Law on Wednesday and with only time for one very quick route,we chose Great Corner as it was an easy route I used to enjoy when I lived in Haddington and Traprain was my local crag. I was a bit surprised by just how polished this route has become and saddened too by the crampon scratches that were so visible.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Cummingston and more

A bit of a hectic week for me with lots of trips down to Edinburgh and back to Aviemore but on Friday and Saturday, I was working for and Tiso at Glasgow and Aberfeldy. We had a slightly damp but fun day looking at lots of useful techniques for scrambling.
Today, Ron and I went up to Cummingston to enjoy the good weather and some classic Cummingston routes. We started off on the Prophet Walls, I lead the two VS routes and Ron lead the HVS right corner. After that, we went over to the Stacks area and I had fun leading Stregosaurus, the holds, once I could reach them, were just great!
Ron then went on to lead Diedre of Doubt and he even managed to find some gear placements on the "poorly protected smooth corner above"!
Ron had the camera so photos on his blog here

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Skye - right place, right time

Ron and I headed off to Skye last Sunday hoping that the weather was going to be good and it turned out to be fantastic for almost the whole week.

On Monday we took David and Alastair up to and onto the Inaccessible Pinnacle and luckily, we were ahead of the crowds. We had fun scrambling up and the abseil down off the short side provided more excitement! Amongst the crowds, I met up with friends, Mark and Grant who just happened to be along to watch the fun. We continued on along the ridge after the In Pin to Sgurr na Banachdich.

The weather was great again on Tuesday, blue skies and sunshine, so Ron and I went into Coire Lagan to Sron na Ciche and Shangri La.The first pitch was straightforward then the second started with some intricate moves up a little wall. A long corner followed which was quite sustained in the third pitch and as the guidebook said, deceptive in the next! A big grassy ledge provided a comfortable place for me to belay Ron on the final, strenuous corner. Overall the climbing was excellent although without rucksacks, it would certainly have been a bit easier! The evening sun stayed with us on our descent down the Sgumain Stone Shoot and we ambled down taking lots of time to look at routes for another visit.

Wednesday was a rather lazy day and apparently Skye was the warmest place in Britain so it was good to relax in the sun and plan for Thursday. It was also good to catch up with Chris and Chris and hear about their adventures on the Basteir Tooth and their plans for Sgurr na h-Uamha for the next day.

Back to Coire Lagan and Sron na Ciche for a day of classic routes - Cioch West, Slab Corner and Integrity. Years ago, I seconded Ron up Integrity and it has been a route I wanted to go back and lead and I got my wish. The climbing was tricky at the start but the climbing on the slab above was just perfect - lots of lovely pockety bits for hands and feet and a crack for protection wherever it was needed - and then the awkward bulge to get to the belay. It was better than I remembered!

On Friday morning the wind had picked up and the rain started to spatter on the tent so we packed up and drove back to Aviemore already planning more routes providing the weather is kind.

Loads more from Ron and photos and video from the Inaccessible Pinnacle too