Archive | Summer Climbing

Chamonix to the West Highlands

Our last day in Cham (Fri 1st June) took us to the mediocre sport crag known as Les Gaillands. It was only a 1.5km walk from the apartment with lovely views of Mont Blanc, so why not. Super super hot day, so climbing wasn’t very pleasant, sore feet as we both only took downturned shoes and ended up just sticking to bumbly routes! Lots of lazing about was had. We climbed a 3 pitch route (TD-) with a single 60 metre rope, so ended up having to abseil off in 3 stages which was a bit of a pain, so headed for some single pitch stuff after that. Routes were ‘Directe aux guides’ F6b, and I (Janey) attempted ‘Les Lezards’ F7a, but failed due to the heat and my lack of training recently. It did however feel pretty hard for the grade.

Keith on Direct aux guides (6b)

I was home for one day before heading off again, this time to Bridge of Orchy to help out with the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award for George Heriots School. This was a good week, despite feeling rather home sick and missing my wee pup. Oh and lets not forget the horrific old army style bunkbeds that were the cause of a serious lack of sleep.

Day one involved taking John and Michael up curved ridge. Roped up for a few sections but was fairly straight forward for them as conditions were good. Bone dry rock and lovely weather. Four of us then went on to complete the rest of the Buachaille Etive Mor ridge line (Stob Dearg to Stob na Broige). Carried rack and rope the entire way which was certainly good training for me until the rope was kindly taken off me for the descent.

Loch Etive

 Descended down between Stob Coire Altruim and Stob na Doire, which is a much much nicer route than the usual descent from the summit of the buachaille. 10 hour day in total, then headed along to Gorton Bothy to check on the kids, and back to the Lodge for yummy food (which I didnt have to cook) and wine :)

Wednesday I headed off up the hills behind Forest Lodge, Stob a Choire Odhair for a fairly pleasant walk with the ipod. Cloud base was down at about 700metres, meaning visibilty at the summit was fairly rubbish – down to 10metres, so I opted to just head back down from the first munro instead of heading along to Stob Ghabhar and save myself for Thursday.

At the summit with absolutely no view

Keith headed up late Wednesday night after work so we could log a hill day together on Thursday. He chose a route leading directly up Stob Coire nam Beith, starting from the visitors centre in Glen Coe. It was quite a steep ascent, and a struggle for me being my third hill day in a row. The boulder field and scree wasn’t the most fun i’ve ever had to say the least. ew. We continued on along the ridge line (basically a path of scree) to the summit of Bidean nam Bian, to be greeted with heavy rain and cloud. We ended up running short on time, had to be back to check on the D of E groups, so descended down lost valley instead of summiting the second munro we had planned.


I am now finally back home in my comfy bed, about to get up and cook a roast chicken dinner for Keith coming in from work. nom nom.

Next week brings another two days of fun, either climbing or hill walking depending on the weather, then i’m off up the Bridge of Orchy again for the qualifying D of E week. Fun times!

Janey’s Birthday – Climbing in Aiguille Rouges

Since the forecast wasnt looking too great today we decided to get the bus up to Argentiere and walk in to the lower sector of the Aiguille Rouges, and what a trek it was.

We missed the bus we were aiming to get this morning by two minutes, watched it pull away, nightmare. The silly French bus timetables claimed there was a service every 15minutes, which clearly didnt actually run on a sunday, so we ended up waiting for an hour until the next bus came along! However, eventually got on that and made it to Argentiere, to be faced with quite a trek in the heat. Its pretty hot here at the moment. It almost wasn’t worth saving the 30quid on renting a car for the day haha (the bus was free).

When arriving at the face of Chezerys, it appeared a lot of the rock was rather wet (as in streams/waterfalls running down some of the routes). We chose to climb Voie blanche D+ (150m) which felt harder than the guidebook described – it was slab climbing and I cannot slab climb. We also took the harder variation start for the first pitch. Nice route though, although 4th pitch a little on the damp side.

awesome view from the bottom of the crag – weather was nothing like forecast told us?!
Route finding
more views
Keith on P1
Keith at P3/4 belay

 We abseiled off (scary as usual) and descended back to Argentiere rapidly in fear that we would miss our bus once again! Saw lots of chamois’/ibex’s (we do not know the difference), but sadly no marmottes like the guidebook suggested we may.

getting rather close on the path back down :)

Keith then took me out for a lovely birthday dinner consisting of duck, bottle of red wine and a cheese selection to finish. YUM.

nom nom

Think we will have a chilled day tomorrow as our legs are knackered and we could do with a lie in. Weather looks pretty minging anyway! Maybe I will spend more of Keith’s money in the nice shops here :)


Two weekends of ridge walks/scrambles

So since we have been quite lazy with the blog the last wee while, feel it is time to update. Here is what we have been up to for the past two weekends:


Bivi in the Grey Corries

Last saturday after the weather forecast predicting snow and hail showers our plan to do Cuillin Ridge was cancelled, so we headed up to Fort William and decided to do the Grey Corrie Circuit to log a walking day. Plodded in along the old tram way, which was rather boggy and unpleasant, but at least the sun was out. Upon reaching the dam we saw what we thought was a wild wolf chasing the farmers heavily pregnant sheep down the hill. Turns out this was someones husky, so a very angry Keith was straight on the phone to the police. We chased the husky back up the hill (turns out there was two of them) but no owner in sight. The poor sheepsie had been forced into the pool of the dam, and sadly Keith scared her trying to hook her antler with a piece of cord to guide her out the water. However she managed to swim to the other side of the dam and climb out into the forest. What a stressful start to the trip. 
We continued on up the hillside and found ourselves a nice wee dry, flatish bivi spot near the start of the ridge we were going to walk the next day. 

getting roasty toasty in my winter bag

moonrise :)
We made some fruity tea, had pasta for dinner and by the time we got into our bags it had hit zero degrees and was getting colder. We woke up a couple of times in the night to the snow falling out our faces, which continued through until about 8.30/9am the following morning. 
wakey wakey

frozen nalgene :(
We pushed on with our walk, although contemplated just heading back to the car and going to mcdonalds several times. Once we reached the summit of the first munro top the weather started to clear and it turned out to be a lovely day :)
Morning snow and whiteout. Janey not impressed.
A few more pictures of pretty views and sun:
view of Aonach Mor on the right, and Ben Nevis in the middle/behind

finishing the ridge

view of the ridge we walked
The munros we did were ‘Stob Choire Claurigh’ and ‘Stob Coire an Laoigh’ as well as several ‘munro tops’, and of course afterwards we made what may be becoming a fairly regular post hill day trip to Mcdonalds.
Three days later Keith received a phone call from the owner of the two huskies. Turns out they had escaped from his house the night before we saw them and he had been searching the hills for 4-5days. Even after notifying Fort William police station on the Friday, it somehow still took them three days to pass on Keith’s contact details or let him know they were seen, ridiculous. Anyway he has now found his huskies, so a happy ending, just not for the poor pregnant sheep that has probably lost her baby lambs!

Aonach Eagach Ridge

Yesterday, we took Keith’s dad and our friend Debbie up Aonach Eagach ridge, a grade 2/3 scramble depending on the guidebook you read. We had quite fancied doing this ridge for a while, and with an ok looking forecast the plan went ahead. 
The morning started off with a complete epic on Debbie’s behalf. It seems her brain cells, or should i say ‘cell’ (singular) does not function in the mornings. She arrived at 7.18am (only 3minutes late, an all time record for the girl) as we were due to pick Keith’s dad (John) up from Corstorphine at 7.30. She knocks on the door, heres me thinking everything is fine and dandy whilst finishing off my toast and comes out with ‘ive locked my keys in my car’. Now, not only had she locked her car keys in her car which could be sorted later, she has also locked her bag and walking boots and everything else she needs INSIDE the car. good one!! 
So after a trip back to Debbie’s house and her mother searching her tip of a room high and low, the spare key is found! So we set off. 
The path is very straight forward heading up to Am Bodach, and after this the fun begins. We had beaming sunshine and no winds for the first 1.5hours of the day, but of course, as soon as we start scrambling in comes the snow/rain showers, and the visibilty drops to about 20metres. Everyone scrambled down and along to the summit of the first munro – ‘Meall Dearg’ with no problems though as it starts of fairly easy. 
Keith guiding his dad down the first descent of the ridge
As we are standing around for a wee rest we notice a guy coming down the first descent of the ridge, looking very sketchy, with nothing but what he is wearing, trainers on his feet and walking poles. He arrives and asks me ‘how long does this ridge go on for?’, so I tell him that is about 4kms long, with much more scrambling than he has just done and that there is no safe descent until the end, he replied telling me that that was ok. After telling him to turn around and go back the way he came he refused to listen (I think he was worried about climbing back up what he had down climbed) and he continued to follow us.
5 minutes later I decided to use what Keith calls ‘the tone’… I asked if he had a map or compass – no of course he didnt. I told him to turn around, he kept dismissing that as well. So I then told him I thought he was being a right idiot and putting himself in a dangerous situation….what does he do…. ‘I know its stupid, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.’  Me: ‘I’m not worrying about you, I just do not want to see mountain rescue being called out for no reason as you’re unprepared and clueless’. 
Anyway, after me having a wee bit of a go he continued to follow us for a while and then was never to be seen again. Must have eventually realised he needed to turn back. Unbelievable. No wonder there are so many fatalities in the hill side!
The Team
Debbie descending :)
Janey and Debbie
en route
When we reached what I think is called ‘red chimney’ the rock was completely drenched with all the rain and snow we had been experiencing, that we decided it was time to rope up. I climbed up the chinmey and set up a direct belay off an awesome spike to bring John and Debbie up on. Climbing wasn’t very hard mind you, but we didn’t want to risk then having a wee slip on our watch :) 
a grim and wet looking red chinmey

More ridge photos:

Upon reaching the summit of the second munro, ‘Sgor nam Fiannaidh’ and what is essentially the end of the ridge, Keith ran down the loose scree slope to the main road in order to hitch back to the car and pick the rest of us up from Glen Coe village. I guided the others down a much better, although longer path to meet up with him and the car.
Keith must just have one of those faces, the third car stopped for him!! It was an old couple and the man made his wife get in the back of their 3 door car so Keith could travel in sheer comfort along the road! He always manages to hitch so easily….I cannot see why, it’s not like he’s attractive or anything haha.
With today’s weather and wet rock me and Keith feel that the ridge was more like a grade 3 scramble/moderate climb than some sources suggestions of a grade 2. Felt rather spicy in the wet, and Debs and John did very well in the conditions :) It was actually quite a bit more full on than we were expecting. Awesome though.
Aonach Eagach Ridge

4 sunny days in the hills

28.3.12 – Etive Slabs

We headed up to Glen Coe intending to climb The Pause (E1 5b ***) on the Etive Slabs. Walk in was lovely and boggy, and as we were wearing shorts, pretty sore being scratched on the legs by all the heather and heathland. Oh well it was such nice weather trousers would have just been inappropriate.

view from the base of the crag.

We geared up and I set off on pitch 1, and took a wee lead fall :(  It seems wet climbing shoes and dodgy slab climbing don’t mix. Went for it again but was too scared after falling so backed off and let Keith take over leading this pitch. It was seepy and horrid.

Keith on P1

We really weren’t feeling the wet scary paddy style of the route, so traversed and abbed off a tree from the top of the first pitch :) We chilled in the sun for a while watching the team on Spartan Slab then headed back down to the car and went to check out The Chasm. Sadly there was still quite a bit of snow in the gully, so decided we better leave this route til later in the year.

We picked a nice spot to park up in Glen Etive, cooked some pasta, and went to sleep :)

Photos of the awesome car in sleeping mode:

29.3.12 – Creag Dubh

We woke up in the morning and the weather wasn’t looking great in Glen Coe, so we headed east. The weather didnt seem to improve much along the way, but we came across a patch of sun as we were passing Creag Dubh so decided to stop for the day. We climbed Inbred (HVS 5a***), the crag classic, and Tree hee (S 4a**) which was not worth either of the stars it has been awarded!
Keith on P1 of Inbred HVS 5a ***

30.3.12 – Bynack More

On Friday we did the Bynack More circuit. Weather and views were lovely, I got a slight tan, and Keith is sunburnt! Knee was the sorest it has ever been, so was rather epic on the descent, can’t wait to go to the physio next week and get it sorted out! 
Nice looking bothy

view from the summit

K at summit

on the return route
 On the way back we hoped to go for a swim in An Lochan Uaine (The green loch – named from local folklore about it being dyed from the fairies washing their clothes), but sadly after dipping our feet in we discovered it was full of leaches! Neither of us had seen them in the UK before, strange. It was freezing anyway so probably a good thing! We had a look around the shops in Aviemore afterwards, then decided to head home a day early as we were missing our comfy bed, cups of tea and puppy pal!

An Lochan Uaine

31.3.12 – Meall Buidhe, Lilly’s First Munro!

Yesterday we decided to see how Lilly would cope hill walking, and took her up her first munro!! We chose Meall Buidhe as it is ‘a fairly simple’ munro according to the guidebook, and it was :) She absolutely loved it, and surprisingly I even had trouble keeping up with her! Once pup is off the lead she really goes for it, and her usual refusal to walk is obviously just to wind us up. It was however rather boggy, so would not be a nice walk to do just after rainfall. Luckily it has been dry the past few days and her wee paws didn’t get submerged too much. 
Here are the many photos we took, including a video of her reaching the summit! Such an amazing day! We are so proud of polar pup <3

‘Hurry up guys’

Lilly and Keith with the summit in the distance
3 of us sitting on the cairn

Lilly enjoying the views, with Schiehallion in the distance


Having a wee snooze before the descent

Deer near the landrover track :)
Today is a rest day, we are going to get some yummy food from M&S, maybe some beer too, and chill in the garden practicing crevasse rescue for our upcoming trip to the alps :)

Bouldering in the County

Best weather of the year so far, so I skived uni and me and Keith headed down to Rothley, Northumberland (in our new car) for some summery bouldering on the rough grit.

We LOVE the new car. Putting the 2 boulder pads in the boot this morning after 5 years of having to put a back seat down in my old peugeot was the best feeling ever! Lots of money well spent. Could have fitted at least another 3 in there before even having to move the seats :D Keith having never ventured outdoors for bouldering before meeting me wasn’t as excited, but hey ho, he’s a weird bumbley trad climber.

ohh yeaaah. 

So anyways, Rothley is a weird crag. The grit is super sharp, unlike when we were down in the peak last year, but I guess we did just climb classics that were probably rather polished. We hardly had any skin left after warming up. Most of the problems we did consisted of not much but slopers, which was good as I’m crap on slopers and I suppose it needs worked on.

We stopped for lunch after the first 3 climbs (obviously as we’re lazy bumbleys) and ended up lying in the sun for a good half hour :) I have tan lines, but sadly Keith is still albino.

Everything we climbed we flashed, didnt really work anything, skin wouldnt have been able to take it anyway. Did 5-6 font 6b’s, a few 6a’s and a 7a that felt pretty soft for the grade. The guidebook didn’t mention a sit start so we initially jumped on and it felt like a 6a at a push. The sit start is definately what makes it more like the grade, but is a one move wonder – just my style at the moment as I have no endurance what so ever.

Here are some photos :)

Pocket’s Wall font 6a

Keith on the mantely top out of Pocket’s Wall

Cranking hard on Reclaimed font 7a, going for the jug

Hanging Arete font 6a

Hanging Arete, font 6a

Awkwardness on the low level traverse, Locomotive Breath, font 6b

Keith about to finish up on Locomotive Breath

Pretty tower ruins



Sloper Traverse, font 6b

Janey and Keith