Munro bagging

On February 24, 2013 by Tim Neill


View down the 'Coe from Stob Coire Raineach

View down the ‘Coe from Stob Coire Raineach

After lots of climbing recently it was nice to take a walk with a (nearly) empty bag today. Day 1 of a week of mountaineering for PYB. Got some amazing views of Skye, Jura, Perth hills, ‘Gorms, Ben Alder and all the peaks that I don’t know which ones are which up north.

Glencoe looked idyllic, serene etc.

Vade Mecum and Abacus, Ben Nevis.

On February 23, 2013 by Tim Neill

Last day of our little weekend on the Ben, and Donald joined us for some more classic ice. With a simple rule of not doing anything that any of us had done before and avoiding the crowds we opted to try some of the lines left of Hadrian’s Wall. First off was Vade Mecum which lived up to its 3 stars and packed a stiff punch for its grade on the steep icefall crux.

A couple of abseils off v threads had us pondering what next. We opted for an old route called Abacus which is the furthest left ice line on the wall. Pure class, helped by the thin ice to make it spicy. A great lead by Donald.

Met Dan Arkle, a photographer from Sheffield, who’d been making a great stitched panoramic of the Ben’s north face. His camera was perched somewhere below and taking time lapse shots of him as he soloed Point 5 at the end of the day. It looked magic!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gloop to Woop

On February 22, 2013 by Tim Neill

An amazing transformation from the conditions last saturday has brought stellar conditions all over the Highlands. Ben Nevis has turned into a sea of first time “sticks”…….Awesome! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After 5 days of enjoying classics it was time to get onto something a little bigger. Rudders and I headed up the Ben towards the Minus/Orion area to see what was going on. In the end we opted for Orion Directissma….basically Orion Direct Direct. We got 9 pitches of continuously great climbing. Occassionally there were some good belays too!

Plenty of teams cruising up the original route and plenty of other options available for the bold. We’ve left our kit up there, so light bags tomorrow.


On February 22, 2013 by Tim Neill

Stood up in front of a lot of people last night for Andy Nelson, Stu Mac and I faced our fears and talked about some of the stuff we get up to. It was a good laugh and thanks to Mike Peascod for sorting it all out.

Andy delivered a super eloquent talk about the Scottish winter, Stu finished with some pics and jokes about expedition climbing worldwide and I filled a gap chatting about Alpinism. Thanks to everyone who supported the event and to my pals for all sitting in the front row! Thanks to Emma for the snap.

Being interrogated after the talks!

Being interrogated after the talks!


More PYB Intro Climbing

On February 21, 2013 by Tim Neill

Great fun over the last 5 days working with Keith and Dave and a great bunch of folk who coincided with primo conditions in Scotland. We mixed

SC Gully and Loch Leven

SC Gully and Loch Leven

and matched partners through the week and visited the Buachaille, Stob Coire nan Lochan, Aonach Mor and a couple of amazing days on the Ben.

With day 1 up Curved Ridge the bar for quality was set high. So between us we climbed SC Gully, Twisting R Hand and The Stick in SCNL, Left Twin and Jet Stream on AM and Hesperides Ledge, Comb Gully, No 2 and 3 Gully Buttresses, Thompson’s and The Curtain on the Ben. Lots of stars, a few Cold Climbs and learning plenty about winter climbing along the way.

Piggot’s Route

On February 16, 2013 by Tim Neill
Dave Styling

Dave Styling

Piggot’s Route, Ben Nevis.  16/02/13

Headed out with Keith and Dave today, on a wave of optimism, to a very quiet (and misty) Ben Nevis. The plan was to see if Piggot’s was in. It’s one of the Smith/Marshal classics. Luckily, despite the muggy weather the first sticks in the crux pitch stuck and we enjoyed the rest of the climb with first time sticks all the way. The finish on the crest of the Comb buttress is highly recommended.

Good Groove

On February 15, 2013 by Tim Neill

Good Groove, Ben Nevis.     15/02/13


Whow! This route has been on the cards for a long time. The delay has mostly been down to a question of what conditions were needed? Anyway, with Keith (on form) and local wad, Donald King team psyche was high.

The conditions were lots of ice/neve and heavy rime. A couple of runners on each pitch pushed us on to the top, but not without plenty of airy and wild climbing. Falling off at the wrong moment could see you landing by the CIC hut!

A great day, and a change from the modern “runners on demand” mixed routes around the corner.



Intro Winter

On February 14, 2013 by Tim Neill

Intro Winter Week, Plas y Brenin, Scotland.    10/02/13


Had a productive week working with Matt Stygal for PYB. Our Intro to winter climbing started with South Gully on Stob Ban and finished on Curved Ridge on the Buachaille. In between we climbed Comb Gully on the Ben, South Gully, Green Eyes and Organ Pipe Wall at Ben Udlaidh. Well done to all the students, especially with all the walking involved and endless swinging of axes! We had the full spectrum of weather….a good intro to Scotland I guess

Perfect Sticks

Perfect Sticks

Raven’s Gully Direct

On February 8, 2013 by Tim Neill

Raven’s Gully and Direct Finish, Buachaille Etive Mor.   08/02/13


It’s not often this is in condition. Well, we didn’t know this for sure, but Keith and Matt had climbed Crowberry gully the day before in fabulous conditions (first ascents of the season probably), so it was a reasonable guess.

With a lot of history pouring out of the gully walls, the route gets off to a wild start with the first gargantuan chockstone.It would be very easy to fail in the first 10ft of this climb! This epic tussle is followed by many more, then it’s decision time….direct finish or original route. To say the direct looks intimidating is an understatement, and it’s much harder than it looks. Wild. It’s a good job for most climbers who climb big winter grades that this one isn’t a benchmark testpiece.

Chapeau to Messrs MacInnes, Bonnington, Chouinard and Tompkins. Got Hamish to autograph my Coe guidebook the next morning. Brilliant!