Sunday, 3 February 2013

Beinn Eighe 20th Jan

It's almost a year since my last post and a few weeks since the climb this!

A snowboarding fall last March left me with tendon and rota cuff injuries. After months of physio, I then broke some ribs whilst competing in an Italian Enduro - so it was goodbye to the 2012 rock season.

To get the ball rolling, me and Paul Prentice decided to head north for Beinn Eighe.  After a few beers in Kinlochewe with Lindsay Yule and Paul Smith, we drove down to a very busy Coire Dubh car park and pitched the tent.  6am start and we were heading for the base of Beinn Eighe's Triple Buttress.  2hr 40mins later we were at the foot of Central Buttress VI,7****
Beaten to the route by another team we decided to wait and gamble on them not being to slow...

Having wanted to climb this route for years it certainly didn't let us down. The higher you climb, the harder and better the climbing becomes.  Bottleneck Chimney and the above broken groove are great fun pitches.

A slight error on the descent had us wandering around for a while, but we made it back to the car happy with our lot.

Beinn Eighe Triple Butress

Paul starting pitch 2

Higher up pitch 2

Team on Pelican

Monday, 30 January 2012

Engineer 's Slabs

Engineer's Slabs VI,7 has stopped me in my tracks on numerous occasions.  Out of condition, bad weather, teams ahead of us and even un-psyched partners.

This morning was different with a hoared up crag, no wind.  Only other team was on Pinnacle Ridge and Scott and Steve were up for it. So game on..

One thing soon became very apparent as the belays are a joke for a team of three.  Steve had to balance on a tiny ledge whilst Scott was in the Sentry box - and on the belay beneath the final corner, they both had to suffer hanging in the groove.  It felt like an on-sight (having last climbed it in the summer of 96) but from what I do remember, this is equally as good in summer as in winter.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Cove

Tyneside has very little to offer for dry tooling, but an area which is suitable is the Cove at South Shields.  It has two good areas; one being the cove itself, and just a few hundred metres north is what we call the Burl Cave.  The rock is limestone with lots of pockets and is ideal for hooking.  Just remember to check the tide times, otherwise you'll get wet feet!

It'll never be comparable to Newtyle, but it is in a good setting!

Here's a few pics and a video from this morning.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Vicar

With Steve Roberts, John Glendinning and Steve Wilkinson we headed into a windy Coire an Lochain yesterday morning.  Me and Steve Roberts decided on The Vicar VII,8  whilst John and Steve headed for Andromeda IV,4

Like most grade VII+ climbing it can be time-consuming finding hooks and good protection. But the major crux of the day was the weather.  High winds, heavy snow and unbearable spindrift made for difficult upward progress!

Steve made it part way up the cracked wall on the 3rd pitch, but we decided to rappel.  Time was pushing on and we had both left our head torches in our sacks!!

Lesson learnt... Don't climb something so hard in such harsh conditions.

John and Steve had a good time on Andromeda, but topped out into ferocious winds.

Another difficult drive home due to heavy snow and a incident on the A9.

Me on first pitch


Steve Wilkinson topping out

Nice gloves Steve..

Friday, 30 December 2011

Prore Direct

None of the Tyneside crew were able to climb today, but I managed to hook up with Pete MacPherson and Murdoch Jamieson for a look into Coire An Lochain.

Prore Direct VII,8 was the route choice for the day.

I fancied leading this route a few weeks back, but having followed Pete up it today, I'm happy with being on the second.  It's never desperate, just a few to many sketchy hooks here and there.

Very busy with over 15 teams out.  No surprise with the fantastic conditions.

Top day out.

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Citadel

We got it wrong on the East vs West last weekend, with higher than forecast temps stripping the snow and ice from our intended route at Beinn Dorain.  So roll on another weekend and I was heading up to meet Paul Prentice for a look into Shelterstone.

We left the car at about 06:30 and started the long trail break (mainly by Paul) up through Coire an t-Sneachda over to Hells Lum and descend down into Loch Avon basin.  By about 09:30 Paul had started up first pitch of The Citadel VII,8 on Shelterstone. Generally the gear was hard won, and it didn't help with the turf being insulated and the ice was also pretty cruddy.
After a few hrs of climbing it was time for Paul to dispense with the first Crux pitch.
Balancy, boulder type moves get you up onto the slab before moving up into the excellent sustained crack above. All taken very well by Mr Prentice.

Another excellent pitch above leads to the outstanding stance next to the upper Crux and Flake.

By now it was Dusk and I felt under pressure with the failing light to get on and UP the final crux pitch.
I dispensed with the flake and traverse easy, but it was the short crack above that foxed me.  Whilst trying to pull into the crack an Axe popped, and down the wall I went.  Thankfully I managed to get a good rock 10 placement which held the fall.

Paul suggested we retreat, but I was now full of Psyche and nothing was going to stop me getting up this route.  After about 40m I eventually found foot prints which led to a large open book corner. This turned out to be the wrong way and is the Moonlight Finish. The foot prints were from the previous day. James Higgins and Neil Adams (their blog account can be found Here).

The corner above was all that was stopping us standing on the top of Shelterstone.  Paul was starting to feel the strain, but made a sterling effort Stein Pulling his way to the top.

We eventually got back to the Cairngorm Car park at 23:00

We drove back to Paul's in South Lanarkshire and from there I headed down to Tyneside. I stopped for fuel at one of the service stations (I fell asleep at one of the Pumps before getting my Diesel).  I was awoken by someone banging on my bonnet checking I was ok!

Shelterstone in winter is a rather big day out..

There's been lots of action on shelterstone over the past few weeks.
Other than Jims Blog I've highlighted above, Greg Boswell had a awesome repeat of Stone Temple Pilots X,9 Blog Here.  Martin Moran had a interesting day on the Needle Blog Here

Paul Starting up The Citadel

Paul second pitch

Start of the first crux pitch
High on the crux
Me starting the second long crux
Paul psyching up for the Moonlight finish.
Getting there..,

Monday, 7 November 2011

Chamonix Oct

With a fully loaded car (thanks Paul, MBC) Paul Prentice, Lindsay Yule, Paul Smith and myself set off for Chamonix on Friday 21st. By the Saturday morning we had arrived and were readying ourselves for the following day.
Sunday morning dawned and we were on the first Telepherique up the Aiguille du Midi.

                                    Paul Smith trying to recover from the night before!!

                               After about 8 rappels we reached the foot of the Burnier Vogler Gully.

                                      On the calf destroying easier terrain.

                                         Lindsay 1 pitch from the Cosmiques ridge.

           After this great little climb, we descended the Cosmiques Ridge to the Abri Simond Bivy Hut.

We had hoped to climb the following morning on the East Face of the Tacul.  But me and Paul Smith felt like shit due to poor acclimatisation.

                                         So back up the Arete des Cosmiques for us.

Following day was overcast and windy, so we decided to give any climbing a miss.

With a promising forecast on the Wednesday, we set of from the Les Grand Montets car park for The Ginat route on Les Droites.


             5.5hrs later and we were on the Argentiere Glacier looking for a decent bivi spot.


Looking over to the Colton-Brooks.


Only 5 more pitches to go!

On the walk in I felt incredibly weak and sick. Thinking I'd be better in the morning, I decided to stay the night at the bivi site.
We set off at 04:30 for the start of the Ginat. But after a couple of hrs I realised I wasn't well enough to continue. Painful decision, but it was the right one.

                                                              First light on my walk out!!!

Couple of days later and I was feeling much better.
Not wanting to lose what little acclimatisation I had gained, I headed for the first lift up the Aiguille Du Midi.
First person down the ridge and across to the Triangle. I climbed 4 pitches of the Chere Couloir.

                                                    The 6 other teams I met on my rappel.


                                            Rapped off using mega light Tag line.

                                   It was then a quick blast up the Cosmiques Ridge.

Met up with the Guys early afternoon for a spot of shopping.  Gels and energy bars by the dozen were bought.

                                          Following morning we got the train up to Montenvers.

                                                          Grand Jorasses.

Crossing the Bergshrund late afternoon on the Croz Spur.

                                                Lindsay and Paul at our bivi for the night.

                                            The Man that snored for 5 hrs!!!

                                                          The next morning

                                                        Lindsay happy on the Croz.

                                                           4 pitches to go!

We finally topped out and started to abseil down towards the Glacier. Now dark, and with little knowledge of the descent, we decided to bivi near to the Rocher du Reposoir.

                                                  Following morning was stunning.

                                    Well earned rest at the Refuge Boccalate.

                                     Looking back up towards the Grand Jorasses

                                          Courmayeur, food and beer this way...

                                      Following day was spent dry tooling at La Fayet.

                                                                     Till the next time..

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