Winter in Scotland 2017

On March 20, 2017 by Tim Neill

 

A few days at home after the Guide’s course I was back up in the Highlands for 6 weeks of work and hopefully a little weekend climbing…

Keith and I headed up to the Raw Egg Buttress of Aonach Beag on my first day out and ended up climbing a recently highlighted route called Top Gun…good climbing on various tiers of the crag between big ledges. A good high crag with stacks of potential for hard new mixed lines!

The weekend hit rate for climbing would be fairly challenged by the undecided weather and the most reliable routes were high snowed up rock that were steep enough for turf to be frozen as well. The season’s highlights for Keith and I were Poco Loco Direct on Church Door Buttress and the famous Unicorn on the cliffs of Stob Coire nan Lochan. I’d tried this about 20years ago with Dave Hollinger…he cruised the first pitch, but our late start and my limited experience above grade V at the time forced an abseil off. This time went well and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good thrutch!

On the work side of things I was lucky enough to be on the West Coast nearly all of the time as conditions were often pretty marginal. Here you can climb a variety of classic routes that aren’t too condition specific like the big ridges on Ben Nevis and on the Buachaille. There are few good options like this it seems over East with the Northern Corries being the source of most doom and gloom.

There were a couple of weeks of reasonable weather and conditions that made for excellent climbing and I had a great time doing what I’d been teaching others to do on the BMG courses in January.

I was lucky to run an MIC Training course for Plas y Brenin with an excellent bunch of committed mountaineers at the beginning of February…coinciding with a lucky hand from the weather gods! Apart from this the majority of the other weeks were guided climbing with no NGB syllabus or grade cap.

Guiding the classics like Gargoyle Wall, Cutlass, West Chimney and Crest Route amongst many others.

My final week was working with the Mountain Medics…a varied week from Ledge Route (classic mountaineering Route up to Ben Nevis) to Droidless ( a neat Grade VI on the accessible Mess of Pottage, Cairngorm) as well as lots of informative lectures and medical training. And to end with a weekend with Mountain Equipment getting photo stock for new product with Rich and Lukasz. Lukasz did some magic with his camera to make some stunning images in some pretty grim weather.

Of course this winter season was far from vintage…thanks to everyone who I got to climb with and who committed to making the most of it!

Here’s Beth climbing what felt like the last route in Scotland one day…

Hot aches after a cold shower in Gardyloo

And the Evans for salvaging a wet day and earning an afternoon coffee at “Crafts and Tings”!!!

Dave climbing Agag’s Groove…big boots, big gloves and desperate!

Mountain Guide Training

On March 20, 2017 by Tim Neill

Back in late January I was privileged to run a couple of training courses up in Scotland for 10 very talented trainee Mountain Guides and so help them towards their upcoming exams later in the season. Probably the most challenging set of courses I’ve ever had to run due to the lack of useful winter conditions and sub optimal forecast. Fortunately I had Paul Warnock and Matt Stygal as co pilots and of course 10 confident, fit and talented candidates who wouldn’t blink at hiking high onto the Ben probably everyday if need be.

Over the 2×5 day courses we climbed all the great ridges on the Ben numerous times and lapped the classic snow gullies up and down on short ropes. We only endured 2 days of dreaded high pressure west coast drizzle and mostly enjoyed settled calm weather. My day on the NE Buttress with Gareth and Calum would’ve been a dream day in the Alps for sure!

Both courses had a day of big boot climbing on the Buachaille without any contact with snow or ice which was retrospectively bloody useful and hilarious at the same time ( given that on one day you could’ve climbed as hard as ever on the Rannoch Wall in the sun)…and even a day of ok winter climbing on Aonach Mor’s east Face. After seeing the east side of the NE Buttress from the top of the Buachaille it was clear that’d be the best chance of real winter climbing. A tip off from my friend Lou confirmed decent ice climbing and so a couple of days of good ice routes returned the efforts of a longer than normal walk.

As ever, thanks to the talents and professionalism of the whole team. And of course, the very best of luck towards fully qualifying as Guides!

Chasing the Winter

On February 2, 2017 by Tim Neill

Here’s a few photos of some elusive winter climbing lately. The photos above and below are from Ben Cruachan, Coire Chat. With Matt I climbed a couple of classics on our way up North for some work. Highly recommended is to double up Dr Noe with Tainted Elixir. I’d been keen to go back after visiting  almost exactly a year ago when we climbed the tricky “Goldfinger”. Our friends Simon, Malcolm and Neil had done a good job of making Dr Noe look good that day and Tainted Elixir has been promoted to mythical status with its inclusion in a great new book called “Chasing the Ephemeral” … a timely and prophetic title given the season so far!

 

 

A couple of weeks work were followed by a brief coldish snap over the weekend, so a trip to the Ben for The Clanger Direct (avoids the squeeze pitch) with Matt and Keith. I’ve seen this heavily iced up (would certainly be more fun) but it was surprisingly helpful on frozen turf and snowy rock. The original squeeze finish looks snug…

The following day we snuck in a “Cold Climbs” classic from the Arrochar Alps in the form of Monolith Grooves on Beinn an Lochain. It seemed a reasonable bet as we’d experienced frozen ground well below the CIC hut towards the end of the week before and the snow had been forecast to dump there first. Luckily the predominantly turfy climb was well frozen and helpfully icy to speed our way up this great wee climb.

 

With the bonus of topping out on the summit of the mountain, nice weather and conditions we were soon on the road south and back in Wales for tea time. I’m looking forward to getting back there sometime as the crag was great…there’s a few other good looking established lines plus a glaringly obvious line waiting for the right team and conditions!

Alps Summer just gone…

On October 30, 2016 by Tim Neill

I was in the Alps for 3 busy months this season. Guiding on average for 3 weeks each month and leaving a week each to do some climbing in my own time. The season benefited from a very snowy spring and early summer, then extended spells of good settled weather until I left mid September.

June was fairly poor weather wise and a couple of Conville Trust courses based in Chamonix endured terrible weather so ended up being very skills based rather than enjoying cool inspiring vistas…

Paul on Brown Sugar, Perrons

Paul on Brown Sugar, Perrons

A short spell of nice weather after allowed a couple of mountain rock climbs with Matt, Keith and Paul. Brown Sugar is a recommended Piola route on the Perrons and we also managed the Über classic Bonnatti line on the Grand Capucin…a fair bit of melt water pouring down the crux wall made it all a bit spicy.

G Cap

G Cap

Matt and Keith cranking up the Bonnatti on my birthday!

Matt and Keith cranking up the Bonnatti on my birthday!

July started with 3 weeks guiding for the UK Joint Services Alpine Concentration. We were based out of Realp in the Uri Alps of Switzerland. The first few days were spent up at the Diavoletza hut in the Bernina…acclimating and enjoying easy access to cool glacial peaks around Piz Palu and Bernina.

Piz Palu

Piz Palu

On Piz Cambrena

On Piz Cambrena

Returning to Realp we swarmed around Switzerland doing a good mixture of technical 4000m peaks and good alpine rock objectives as weather and tiredness dictated. Highlights were N Face of Lenspitze and traverse to Nadelhorn, N Ridge of Wiesmies in good snowy conditions, Houhlabgrat on Alalinhorn, some nice peaks around Arolla in some wild Scottish weather and a bunch of great rock peaks around the Furkha pass and near Ticino.

Lenspitze, N Face

Lenspitze, N Face

N ridge, Wiesmies

N ridge, Wiessmies

Normal route, Wiessmies

Normal route, Wiesmies.

Pizza del Prevat, Ticino

Pizza del Prevat, Ticino

 

 

Straight after I joined Chamonix based British guide and top alpinist Jon Bracey to look after Lewis and Jane’s endeavour to complete the classic 50 list of 4000m summits. Over a busy 10 days we did a heap of great climbing around the MT Blanc range and summited the beautiful Aiguille Verte and,the awkward to get to, Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey in good style. This left only 2 more on their list…one of which was knocked off later in the summer! Inspiring effort.

Jane rapping into the Freney glacier from Col Eccles

Jane rapping into the Freney glacier from Col Eccles

Lewis and Jane on summit,Blanche de Peuterey at first light

Lewis and Jane on summit,Blanche de Peuterey at first light

Cool view

Cool view

Lewis climbing the Moine ridge on the Verte

Lewis climbing the Moine ridge on the Verte

Verte summit

Verte summit

 

 

Early August saw a week with my mate and fellow guide Mark Walker. We shelved hopes of the Grandes Jorasses for the Bonnatti route on the Red Pillar of Brouillard followed by the Innominata Ridge to the summit of MT Blanc. Always good to climb the mountain from this side, although we only enjoyed our descent via the Pope route back to the car in retrospect! Either side of this we enjoyed some easy access mountain rocks at home in and around Chamonix.

Red Pillar

Red Pillar

Innominata Ridge, S face, MT Blanc

Innominata Ridge, S face, MT Blanc

MT Blanc, Paul and Dave just behind

MT Blanc, Paul and Dave just behind

Climbing on the Brevent with Mark

Climbing on the Brevent with Mark

Ben Tibbets, photographer extraordinare on Fidel Fiasco, Blatiere

Ben Tibbets, photographer extraordinare on Fidel Fiasco, Blatiere

A fair bit of guiding locally around the MT Blanc range and some great day routes with friends led towards assessing on the BMG alpine test. Hopefully concluding the training scheme for a bunch of super talented and strong young aspirants I had the pleasure of been guided for 5 days over some less travelled classics. We started with a hefty approach to the Jacchia bivi hut on the S side of the Grandes Jorrasses and then an early started saw us flying up the mighty Tronchey ridge to the summit of Pte Walker and down to the road ( and pizza kindly delivered by my wife Lou and little girl Esme…she thought the Jorrasses looked big!) without head lamps…good stuff considering the terrain. Next day was a lazy start to the old Triollet hut and the day after we climbed the S ridge of the Aiguille de la Savoie…rock as good as anything on the Midi S face and an easy 5 hr grade IV ridge…well worth the convoluted glacial approach. A further day of crevasse rescue tests concluded my part of the test leaving Bruce and Mark to traverse the Perrons and give the guys the good news they’d passed their exam. Very cool!

Jacchia hut and a load of Guides!

Jacchia hut and a load of Guides!

Heading towards the Tronchey ridge

Heading towards the Tronchey ridge

Up in the Tronchey towers

Up in the Tronchey towers

Will on the S ridge of the Aig de la Savoie

Will on the S ridge of the Aig de la Savoie

I then joined Jonathan for an excellent trip questing up a few more awkward and elusive 4000m summits. Warming up with a few little summits from the Torino hut, we set off early on day 2 for the Aiguille Rochefort and the less visited Dôme de Rochefort and then back to the valley. Next morning up to the Boccalatte hut and then back to the summit of Pte Walker of the Grandes Jorrasses. The following morning a lazy hike to the Monzino hut and then an early start to the Eccles bivi hut for my 3rd visit there of the summer. Due to the heat and location we left at 11 o’clock in the night to climb over Col Eccles and summited the Aig Blanche de Peuterey by 5am and back to Eccles for breakfast and then all the way down to Val Veny by early afternoon.

Dôme de Rochefort

Dôme de Rochefort

Pte Walker

Pte Walker

After climbing the Blanche de Peuterey

After climbing the Blanche de Peuterey

MT Blanc from Jorrasses at dawn

MT Blanc from Jorrasses at dawn

 

We called in our rest day card before setting off for the Valsorey hut to climb the Grand Combin. A shaky forecast meant we had the whole mountain to ourselves and a rapid climb up and back down the Meitin ridge…the solid red and golden granite of the MT Blanc range a distant memory! This is a really cool big mountain in a gereat isolated setting…and certainly the safest way up and down.

N Face of Jorrasses

N Face of Jorrasses

The following morning I was walking to the Leachaux hut with my mate Miles Perkins with a date for the Walker Spur…we had arranged to climb together on our 3 days off earlier in the summer and were hoping to get lucky with this elusive route…I’ve hoped to climb this classic every summer since my first visit to the Alps in 1990 and it’s never quite happened. Strangely it was the same date as my previous climb up the N Face of the Jorrasses a couple of seasons ago when I climbed the Colton McIntyre with Pete Graham…the omens were good but the weather wasn’t!

Rain all afternoon seemed to clear in the evening. We got up at 1 am to a solid cloud base low down on the mountain…re check at 3 had a few stars twinkling in the gaps…so dawn saw us over the rimaye and on our way.

On the Walker Spur

On the Walker Spur

Damp rock gave way to verglas then good dry rock climbing gave way to superb icy mixed at the triangular nevé and soon enough the summit of Pte Walker for the 3rd time in a fortnight. Miles phoned in a wine order to the hut and a couple of hrs later we made the Boccalatte hut for great hospitality, dinner, wine and a good sleep! We were very lucky with conditions apart from the wet bits low down…and the fact the only other team was miles behind…the Walker lived up to all the hype!

Miles’ partner Kasia and their little boy Iago picked us up early next morning at the road and got us home via coffee and pizza. A final climb with Matt on the Brevent the following day ( Premier du Corveé… brilliant route) and I was off to Arolla for my final guiding engagement of the summer…a regular fixture with the Diploma of Mountain Medicine and their final module of alpinism. A great week of autumnal weather and quiet mountains and finishing the season for me on the summit of the MT Blanc de Cheilion…and a long descent back home to Snowdonia!

Last summit view from MT Blanc du Cheilion

Last summit view from MT Blanc du Cheilion

 

A couple of cool films from Beinn Bhan last winter…

On October 1, 2016 by Tim Neill

Keith has put together a couple of neat films from 3 days on the superb Giant’s Wall on Beinn Bhan.

Perhaps 3 of the best days climbing for me last winter season.

Plenty of other interesting short films on his Vimeo page for Scottish winter and alpine fans too.

 

Winter climbs this season…

On March 23, 2016 by Tim Neill

Once  work started the personal route tally hit a dive…weekends were either 1 day long, bad weather or both! Plan As often ended up as Plan Zs or nothing at all… I was glad of my earlier efforts in December and early January.

The route pictured above was the culmination of wandering around the Ciste corrie backing off a number of routes and avoiding potential avalanche…it was however an intriguing route with a well deserved reputation!

This was a day where we shouldn’t have gone out at all…

Then in one day it all went well for the weekend climbers!

However this was the day before! Good climbing but in a hurricane!! Keith and I uplifted our spirits with a cool icy mixed route at Bridge of Orchy called the Prophet. Really good gear on most of the pitches, lots of ice, good turf and exciting climbing…enhanced by the wind blowing my rack above my head. This climaxed on the final thin ice pitch where I literally hugged the ice with my head between my axes! Motivation was high to ensure success and improve the weekend hit rate

The next weekend was a one day off affair where cumulative work fatigue and a tight schedule had to be put aside in the hope of recovery at work…easier said than done when working full time in the winter hills.

And so, straight after work Keith and I headed to Kishorn, Applecross via the chippy. A 4am departure was just enough to put us into pole position as some friends, Helen and Dave, pulled up into the lay-by.

Daybreak had us launching onto the mega route”The Godfather” on Beinn Bhan. This über classic had been in the dreams for a long time and here we were on a perfect day. The climb is beyond all adjectives! It builds up and up to a wild finally and will take everything you’ve got if you’re operating at the grade.

We topped out as the sun set. An incredible view out to the islands…with the high pressure installed Harris, Lewis, Barra, Pabbay and Skye appeared like floating apparitions on the horizon. The Cuillins looked as grand as ever too.

The walk back and subsequent drive to Glencoe in fits of delirium was pretty special and swinging my rucksack on for work the next morning I had to dig deep. But recover over a busy weeks MIC training I did and the next days off had me and Keith, joined by Matt as well climbing another couple of belters on Beinn Bhan again.

Der Riesenwand of “Cold Climbs” fame was the first. Perhaps the worst route in Scotland for a team of 3! A series of epic zig zags, poor belays and spaced gear leads in a sort of mini Eiger fashion up a fantastic cliff.

Commitment is very equitable for leader and seconds and it seemed quite a tense outing!

We wandered back down leaving most of our kit below the objective for the next morning…

An early start and an light walk back into Coire na Fhamair had us setting off into “The Gully of the Gods”…a Fowler masterpiece. It was generously fat with ice and looked more grade VIII than VI, but was perfect…perhaps Mick graded it IV. The atmosphere is considerable and brings smiles and stern looks in equal measure…constant type 1 fun all the way.

Background cooing was provided by the resident Rock Dove population…enhanced by the amazing acoustics within the cleft’s interior. All too soon the final bulge leads to a great amphitheatre and an icy romp to the top…with icy unclimbed lines everywhere on its left! The final cornice deposits you beside a sort of “blow hole” feature on the plateau…easily fallen into and clearly a subterranean extension of the line extending back from the edge. Afternoon tea in Fort William rounded off an excellent few days in the NW and a reminder to always make the effort when things look good.

After another weeks work my final free day coincided with the end of the high pressure cold weather.

Nick and I bumbled up to the Ben with an open mind and we settled for a possible unclimbed line of ice. It hung above Gemini on Carn Dearg and had been in my mind since trying to spot it source after numerous forays last season during the particularly icy conditions then.

Nick dealt with the thin ice ’cause that’s what he does best! I thought we’d call it Capricorn to keep the link with Gemini…and perhaps because Capricorns have the traits required for ground like this.

I fell victim to that great trick that Scottish winter does…it beats you up then gives you a few great days like nowhere else. I saw a few other lines on the Ben that we could’ve climbed that day too, as well as many beautiful mountains from the top of Beinn Bhan I’ve yet to visit. Fingers crossed for next year then!

So a final great day on a great mountain with a good friend too. Rain arrived the next day, but I was climbing in the sun at Tremadog in Wales with my lovely wife while our daughter was at school.

Winter Guiding

On March 23, 2016 by Tim Neill
Skelly...one of the staff at Joint Services...now an MIC holder

Skelly…one of the staff at Joint Services…now an MIC holder

I’d thought I would separate my winters work and my own climbing for a change. This past winter season I found one of the most challenging for as long as I can remember…mostly due to late January and February’s constant wind and snow. It was all consuming and tiring and perhaps explains my lack of attention to any updates…

One of my all time favourite climbs...N Buttress on the Buachaille

One of my all time favourite climbs…N Buttress on the Buachaille

After the Guides course in late January I made a short stint for PYB, spending a few days updating with Avalanche forecasting and also provision for Winter ML, then some classic ridges around Glencoe…a good bet in the windy snowy weather, although the N Butt in the photo above is stretching the definition of a ridge!

K Dawg on the East Ridge of Stob Ban

K Dawg on the East Ridge of Stob Ban

The following 2 weeks work was with JSMTC Ballachulish on their 2 weeks of “Winter Climbing Concentration”… As per usual the enthusiasm and fitness of staff and students meant for a full and exhausting time. I worked with students who were working towards their Winter Climbing Leader award and some who were sitting their MIC later in the season…it worked well for them all I believe.

In the Gorms on the Mess of Pottage

In the Gorms on the Mess of Pottage

Wavelength on Fluted Buttress

Wavelength on Fluted Buttress

The Invernookie...a Corries Trade Route!

The Invernookie…a Corries Trade Route!

We enjoyed classics in Glencoe like Twisting Gully, N Butt again, Curved Ridge. I climbed this winter’s very popular East Ridge of Stob Ban…the first of a few trips this season. On the Ben we made the NE Buttress and Tower Ridge plus SW Ridge on the Douglas Boulder too.

We made a couple of trips to Cairngorm climbing a bunch of lines on the Mess of Pottage, Wavelength and the well travelled Invernookie.

And so a busy 10 days. Then a quick week at the Brenin to run an MIC training course with a great bunch of young and not so young trainees.

Ian on Twisting Gully, SCNL

Ian on Twisting Gully, SCNL

The weather was now slowly improving allowing better ice and gully climbing, although a gnarly wet day was endured on the Sron na Lairig…less endurance and humour testing days were had in SCNL, the Buachaille, Stob Ban…

An annual week with the Doctors on their Mountain Medecine Diploma coincided with the arrival of a cold high pressure…and so a week of great weather, views and company ensued. My highlight of the week was climbing with Rhianne and Adrian at Bridge of Orchy. We made our way up the classic grade VI ice of the Promised Land…apparently a rare treat.

Adrian's pic...me on the Promised Land last pitch

Adrian’s pic…me on the Promised Land last pitch

And my final fortnight were a back to back MIC training and test. The conditions were excellent throughout…except for one day when we climbed wet rock in Glen Nevis instead of having a type 3 day up high. Training is more fun than assessments for both sides of the fence I can assure you… Good luck to the trainees on their future exams and well done to the assessment candidates who put in a great effort regardless of the results. I was lucky to work alongside one of the MIC trainers from Glenmore Lodge on the MICT…hopefully this will lead to more similarities in the future and was timely given the current review of NGB climbing awards…perhaps now is the time for the MIC to be recognised for what it’s used for by instructors these days as its well past its original concept? We’ll see…

MIC training on Summit Butt, SCNL

MIC training on Summit Butt, SCNL

Last long walk of the winter...descending to the Red Burn

Last long walk of the winter…descending to the Red Burn

And so until maybe next winter…

Guide Training and a little more…

On January 29, 2016 by Tim Neill

This is a phenomenal way to start a winter seasons guiding in Scotland. For a few seasons now I’ve had the privilege (and pressure) of directing the BMG winter training course and this year kept my run of luck with conditions and weather, allowing us to prepare the candidates for their exam towards the end of the winter. As always the trainee guides were of the highest calibre as well as fantastic and reassuring company over 5 long days in the mountains. Our new association training director, Ade Nelhams (also director of the famous ISM…International School of Mountaineering) joined myself and regular partner Paul Warnock for the course.

Busy Tower Ridge

Busy Tower Ridge

Our small team tallied Green Gully, Central Gully Rhand, Thompson’s Route and Tower Ridge ( up and down! ) on Ben Nevis, Crest Route, Scabbard Chimney, Twisting Grooves in SCNL, and D Gully Buttress, Naithsmith’s Route and North Buttress with lots of laps down Curved ridge in between on the Buachaille too.

The Eastern Traverse

The Eastern Traverse

John Crook scudding up Green Gully in v good conditions

John Crook scudding up Green Gully in v good conditions

 

The well timed finish coincided with a savage period of rain over the summits which decimated the promising conditions for a few days. So conditions are now building again from square one. Apart from scudding up NE Butrress on Ben Nevis this week during a colder, snowy part of the current oscillating storm cycles…summit at 10 30 and a challenging descent off the plateau in the winds that were averaging 90/100mph around midday…my work has involved a Winter ML review and a day with Avalanche forecaster Mark Diggins.

Mid January

On January 29, 2016 by Tim Neill

Weathering out the storms at home in Wales over the holiday period allowed plenty of time to reacquaint with climbing indoors, road biking and learning about mountain biking…and some reading up on some less popular places to climb when I’d head up to Scotland.

As soon as an opportunity arose I met up with Donald King for a few days before we started guiding for the winter as further opportunities looked slim. We had an amazing run of routes, whilst not really off the beaten track, more a little less mainstream.

Donald heading out the top of Directosaur

Donald heading out the top of Directosaur

Firstly a visit to the Lost Valley in Glencoe. The walk in was the sort of thing that only happens on an early season foray by desperate men as we left the car with torrential rain bouncing off the windscreen.  We were joined by Mike Peascod and Guy Buckingham…two men not easily deterred. Fortunately the rain gave way to snow and a plastered and wintry cliff. They romped up Moonlighting leaving us to finish our way up a challenging Directosaur.

Top of Coire Chat crag

Top of Coire Chat crag

The following day saw Guy join us for a yomp to the beautiful Coire Chat on Ben Cruachan. Despite the  3 hr approach our friends Simon, Malcolm and Neil were there too, and we had a sociable start before our lines had us a little more engrossed in goings on. As the guide suggests the climbing is superb and the views on a clear day (as we had) are exceptional…southern highlands, round the compass via Cairngorms, Central highlands to Rhum Cuillins and down to Jura!

We chose the 3 star Goldfinger which gave plenty of tough climbing and comes well recommended! The return yomp was a gift in comparison and we narrowly avoided head torches. I’d consider a mountain bike next time as it may be possible to reduce the chunky walk in considerably by scooting up the reservoir road? And of course the last leg of the return would be great fun.

Heading up to Centre Point buttress

Heading up to Centre Point buttress

Early the following morning we were cycling through the forest below the Grey Corries to reduce the approach to the quartzite cliffs below Stob Coire an Loaigh. Having visited there a long time ago for the classics Tallibalan and Blue Rinse it’d gone out of vogue as a venue as the forestry track had been locked and so the approach considerably increased. But having just done it again it was easy. Some friends just visited too and found the gates open. Well I can’t recommend the cliff enough.

Donald on pitch 1

Donald on pitch 1

This time we climbed the superb Centre Point via a variation entry pitch previously climbed by the James’s Edwards and Thacker. In my limited experience of just 3 routes there I’d say treat the grading cautiously…whilst Tallibalan is a good fun romp at the grade (from distant memory) BR and CP are pretty tough outings and considerably more engaging than anything with similar grades on the Ben, in Glencoe, Cairngorms or up NW! I spoke briefly with the main developer of the crag and total legend, Andy Nisbet afterwards and I’m sure he won’t mind me quoting him….” Some like it Hot has a fantastic pitch, as good as any I’ve done.” Looking forward to heading back ASAP. It’s like climbing on Beinn Eighe but without all the easier ground above and below…

Pitch 2 and a good idea of the climbing on the crag

Pitch 2 and a good idea of the climbing on the crag

Our last little foray didn’t get very far as even with fresh guns in the form of the Rudkin, we all retired early for a coffee in Glencoe…return visit required as it was a stunning line with an easy approach! However the route will obviously require bodies and minds operating on full capacity…

To be continued...

To be continued…

And so home to Wales for a few days with a quick reliable classic up in Cwm Cniefion which always seems to have great ice and fast climbing as well as being roadside in comparison to all the cliffs visited up in Scotland.

Pillar Chimney on Clogwyn Du

Pillar Chimney on Clogwyn Du

 

 

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