Dodging the showers on Ardverikie Wall, Beinnin Shaus

Ken: A bit of faith was needed this morning, as driving out of Fort William and through Glen Spean, it was quite damp and the mist was lingering in the glen. As expected, by the time Nick and I reached the car park at the southwestern end of Loch Laggan, it was looking a bit more promising.

The plan was to ride in, but Nick’s bike wasn’t playing ball, so we walked in up the forestry tracks to Ardverikie Wall on Beinnin Shaus. Thankfully, it’s not a long walk! The route was almost completely dry, apart from a few patches on the 4th pitch, none of which impacted the climbing. It’s such a good route with excellent climbing from the first step, right the way to the very top. Nick soon found his rock climbing feet and climbed the route in good style.

The weather wasn’t quite as dry as expected, but the few patches of drizzle didn’t amount to much.

Snow on Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis

Ken: The first of the season’s snow showers fell on Ben Nevis, today, although only really settling above 1250m. Rich and I climbed Tower Ridge and encountered the first specks of snow at the top of the Little Tower and by the Great Tower, there was a noticeable amount collecting on the ledges, particularly on the northern flanks of the ridge. There wasn’t enough to slow us down, and no doubt that it will be all gone by the end of the week. Still, nice to see it!

For Rich, this was his first time up the mountain and not a bad way to open his Ben Nevis account!

Sublime conditions on Buachaille Etive Mòr.

Dave: Another day with Stuart and the objective was a mountain day covering lots of terrain, the plan up North Buttress and down Gret Gully Buttress on Buachaille Etive Mòr.

Walking in through the mist made us wander how dry the rock would be and if we would get above the cloud. Fortunately the rock wasn’t too damp in the mist and we appeared out of the cloud below the main climbing section.

The climbing was amazing in the sun with a sea of cloud below, after some time on the summit we made a swift descent of Great Gully Buttress.

Zero to Hero 10 pitches in Glen Nevis

Dave: Stuart had never tied in or belayed before and his only climbing experience was on an Outward Bound course years ago, we started with the basics climbing the gutter in 4 pitches, Stuart learnt fast and showed a natural ability for the climbing.

After a quick snack we climbed Resurrection VS 4c to test his climbing ability, Stuart managed this with one bit of difficulty probably because of the lack of chalk.

A bit more food and we set off for Aurobarnsfart VS 4b, the longest route in the Glen. It was a brilliant day to be high and exposed.

MacAskill’s line Dubhs Ridge.

Dave: Yesterday I was out on the Dubhs Ridge with Ben and Laura. It was their first time on the Cuillin and they wanted to do the route having seen the recent Danny MacAskill film.

Being a Sunday the Ferry from Elgol was not running but through local contacts I arranged a fisherman to take us across on his way to work.

The normal start is up the grassy gully but I chose to lead the initial slab in a few pitches climbing as close to “cycle path” as possible. Higher up we went as direct as possible and traversed the left exposed edge trying to identify parts of the film.

After the amazing abseil descent from Sgurr Dubh Beag we descended Coir’ a’ Chaoruinn to the head of Loch Courisk traveling down a part of the Cuillin I have never been and don’t know anyone who has either.

Once on the Loch side we then had the long walk out to Kilmarie via the Bad Step and Camasunary.

Ropework for Scrambling on Curved Ridge, Buachaille Etive Mor

Ken: Great to be out on the excellent Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe today with James and Catherine. They were keen to develop their mountaineering ropework and led themselves up the majority of the route. We took in Crowberry Tower before the summit of Stob Dearg. Yet another fine day in the Highlands!

Amazing 2 weeks of mountaineering.

It’s been a busy two- and a-bit weeks on Skye but at the same time the mountains have often felt much quieter than earlier in the season. This may be because I have been continuing my theme this season of trying to get off the standard routes to tailoring the experience for the clients.

Some variations have been-

Accessing Sgurr Ghreadaidh via ramp which runs under Eag Dubh and onto the ridge of Sgurr Eadar da Choire.

Climbing the Northern 3 Munros via Sgurr a Bhasteir to Bruach na Frithe and descended from Sgurr nan Gillean via the South East Ridge.

Descended from Bannachdaich via Sgurr nan Gobhar.

Ben Nevis Ridges

The weekend has been amazing warm weather, ideal for being in the mountains. Dave has been out on Ben Nevis with Charmaine helping her prepare for a trip to the Alps this summer.

Day 1, the team headed for Tower Ridge for Charmaine’s first ascent of Ben Nevis and first views of the North Face.  Tower Ridge was fairly quiet with 3 RAF MRT teams which the team passed, had lunch, and passed again on the outside of the chimney after the eastern traverse. The team finished the day with a walk around the summit and a descent of the tourist path.

Day 2, up Castle Ridge and down Ledge Route was the objective, and it gave a tremendous day out with no one else on Castle and one other team who were sunbathing on Ledge Route.

For those of you looking to ascend Ben Nevis, we offer guided ascents for both mountaineers and for walkers:
Guided Ascents of Tower Ridge, which is £250 on a 1:1 basis and an additional £20 for a second person.
Guided Walks up Ben Nevis, which is £220 on a 1:1 basis and an additional £20 for each additional person.

We also offer private guiding for other routes on Ben Nevis and the rest of the Scottish Highlands.

Blacks peaks above a sea of white.

I think the inversion today was better than yesterday, from the central Cuillin we could see all the peaks above the cloud.

The objective for the day with Donald and Suzan was Sgurr a Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a Mhadaidh, Donald’s last of the Cuillin and Susan’s last on her second round.

To give a journey to the day we traversed under Eag Dubh and out to the ridge between Coire Ghreadaidh and Coire an Dorus, this brings you up to the short side of the wart.

After enjoying the views we swiftly made our way to An Dorus and up Mhadaidh, in decent we bypassed An Dorus adding to the journey.

MacKenzie’s Halo.

A truly wonderful day in the Cuillin. A muggy walk in and slog up the An Stac screes brought us unexpectedly out of the cloud.

We were treated with a giant brocken spectre being made by the summit of Sgùrr MhicChoinnich.

Fortunately we arrived at the In Pinn with no other teams climbing or at the base, which gave us time to enjoy the climb.