Archive for October, 2011

Big Chill


Well I got that well wrong; I’m off for a Ridge Traverse Sunday/Monday instead! Cool but windless and clear: full moon coming too.

Is all this wet going to go hard very fast? Fingers x’d.The cold blast that has hit New York will be with us before the weekend. Saturday looks like the best day to play! Here’s my favourite Unysis forecast- Click

Some scenic dry tooling practice earlier this week; will it pay off?



Matts Report

Here are some photos of Yosemite valley and the climbing out there. Enjoy!

El Capitan in the sunshine (approx 3000 feet of rock from top to bottom)

And in the rain!

The Lost Arrow Spire

Belaying for aid climbing can be slightly tedious!

My friend Tony posing in front of Half Dome

Matt posing in front of Half Dome!

The first pitch of “Lurking Fear” an aid route on El Capitan

Lower and Middle Cathedral Rocks

Tony leading the second pitch of Lurking Fear

Looking up Yosemite Valley; the top of half dome visibile on the right and Mt Watkins is in the distance on the left side. 

Racing the haulbag

High up on “Royal Arches” A nice multi-pitch VS

Fighting hard with Generator Crack. This an off width climb-too large for fists but not large enough to fit inside. It is also a lot steeper than it looks.

Climbing a more straightforward crack!

Dry Tooling comp; Ice Factor 8th October


I was coaxed well out of my comfort zone into the intense and impressive world of indoor dry tooling competitions yesterday. Climbing indoors, using leashless ice axes and competetive climbing; any single one of these would surprise many who know me well and they would have enjoyed watching my flailing antics! Luckily I’m not proud, really enjoyed myself, learnt a lot and met some great new folk.

Gillian on the last of the 3 ice routes; that bulge at the top hurt a lot but was nothing compared to the overhanging routes for the dry-tooling routes.

Gillian was my mentor and got us onto the ice first; all went well with 3 first time successes and I was enjoying myself despite aching forearms. I hadn’t realised that I’d started on the easiest routes of the 15 and things unravelled rapidly after this and I only topped out on one more. Gillian’s arms lasted far longer and she showed both grit and skill to top out on 3 more coming in 5th place in the female category.

The finals gave a chance to admire some supreme athletes with a combination of incredible strength combined with amazing gymnastic ability. The dutch girl who won seemed to climb at least half of the route whilst upside-down performing figure of 4’s and 9’s. She and 2 of the male finalists tried desperately to get high enough on a hanging log to reach the final clip but all in vain. Boyfriend Denis showed us all how it was done with a highly ungymnastic manouvre of humping the log and pretty much mantle shelfing on the heads of his axes to huge and deserved applause.

I’ve got no photos I’m afraid (fingers didn’t have strength for the shutter) but the STS site should have a great display soon-

Your feet have to stay in the boxes as well as your tools

Always Sunny on Skye?


Matts Report

I enjoyed some dry weather and beautiful views before heading to Yosemite a month ago and returned to find more of the same! It took us all day to do Sgurr Mhic Chonnich and Alasdair mainly because the views were so photogenic.

Bla Bheinn peeking above the cloud

Bla Bheinn in full view

Looking towards An Stac and the In Pinn


Sgurr Alasdair

Final Traverse for 2011? 1/2 October.


Mike’s report.

After September storms October dawned peaceful and dry just on time for George Gill and friends Steve & Ted. The Aquaxplore early bird landed us safely below Gars-bheinn which we reached comfortably in 2 hours

The East Ridge of Gars-bheinn; a stunning way to start

We the had entertaiment in the form of Skye MRT doing a helicopter exercise whilst being filmed for Highland Rescue for a couple of hours around Coire a’ Ghrunnda.

Rescue 137 lowers George & Jonah into Bealach a’ Garbh-choire

From Mhicchoinnich onward peace and quiet and warm sunshine gave perfect conditions, possibly even a bit warm on the superb steep scrambling up An Stac Direct to the foot of the Pinn.

Cool shadows from An Stac Direct

Mist descended around us between Banachdaich and Ghreadaidh but then opened up just in time for sunset as we arrived at the bivvy spot on Ghreadaidh.

Prince eat your heart out- we’ve got Purple Mist

Rarely have I had such a perfect combination of warmth, windless and stunning lightshow for such a long period. Admittedly whisky enhanced, the colours of the sunset and frequency of shooting stars made it an evening to remember.

Sunset over Loch Eynort

An inconsiderate shower at dawn enforced a lie-in but we were on the hoof again by 9am. Across the mainland more and more peaks appeared out above the clouds while the Western Isles were bathed in sunshine.

Mist shrouds An Caisteal while mainland peaks appear behind the Northern Cuillin

Dry rock ensured fast progress but needed us all to dig deep.

Ted romping up 2nd Top of Mhadaidh

Balancing along the roof-top of An Caisteal

4th team member and driver Phil timed it perfectly to meet us at Bealach na Lice. With the hotel in sight and only 2 peaks to go it was a shock to realise it would still be 5 hours before we’d be sharing a beer with him.

Tree surgeon Steve aiding up through The Mouth on Am Basteir

After the Tooth and Am Basteir we were relieved to dump our sacks before the final victorious rise to Gillean.

George celebrates while Ted soaks up the sun.