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 Blog Page

 

The aim of the Blog page is to give a little insight into what we get upto, as well as showing people some of the fantastic places that the UK has to offer. We aim to keep it short, concise, and to the point rather than having pages and pages of Blog waffle on just one outing! We have started it from January 2015 and aim to include just the highlights of the year/s.

 Any pictures will be linked to our Instagram page, just click the link to see the pictures, any videos uploaded will be sent to You Tube via a link so it should make running of the web page quicker and easier. Although we aim for perfect punctuation...there may be some spelling mistakes and typos, but bear with us as the true aim is to get the point across. Enjoy, and remember if you fancy taking part in any of the activities or have any ideas of your own then please feel free to get in touch.

 

31st Jan 2015

 

Decided to head to the Cairngorms to do a solo expedition. Even though the forecast was fo 'tortureous' conditions, I headed out just the same...

Started off from the ski car park and headed up to find my snow hole site at Garbh Uisge. Arrived there at night time 18:00 and started to carve my snow hole site for the evening in the drifting snow...it took 5 hours to craft it as the conditions was harsh, and slow going. Once in I was sheltered from the howling winds and pretty much went to bed straight away. Unfortunately I had to set my alarm every few hours and pull myself out of my sleeping bag as the weather was putting that much snow down it kept filling the snow hole back up! This isn't always the case, these were exceptional circumstances...

The next morning I awoke after a few hours sleep and just decided to head out. Unfortunately the weather had picked up wind wise and now was at a constant 60/70mph...this made heading back north (quickest way off!) very difficult...the air temperature with wind chill was stated to be -25 degrees, and rime ice was forming everywhere including goggles and compass! Once down at the car park (15:00) I was faced with my next problem...how to get the hell outta here! As my car was buried under feet of snow (see pic) Luckily there was one van in the Cas car park and they let me use there phone to ring the centre I had been staying at the previous night. They very kindly agreed to meet me at the bottom of the road for a lift back to the centre for hopefully a good night's rest! (thanks Mary) I then shoveled my cars boot out, grabbed some clothes and hoofed it down to the road end, which was another few K's away, just what I didn't need after the walk out! 

Once back at the centre I was met by a friend who had been working out of Glenmore Lodge teaching Winter skills courses, and he told me that the Met office was stating that the night I was out it had been the most recorded snow fall in a 24hr period for years! Also the Winter Mountain Leader assessment (unknown to me) which had been out at the same night I was out, cancelled and pulled off the hill due to bad weather that night.

Looking back it was probably a little fool hardy to head out and sleep in those conditions, but I believe that as a Mountain Instructor you need to push yourself and test yourself once in awhile so that if the worst happens whilst out in the hills by yourself or with a client you have the necessary tools to deal with what the weather throws at you. It's always amazing just how wild the Scottish weather in particular is in winter. You really do have to be fully prepared and experienced, or hire an experienced and qualified person whilst out, as you just never know when the weather will close in and you will be tested to be able to get yourself out of trouble.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCArmTCGHPB/

 

6th February 2015

Took a trip to Glencoe for some winter skills training. Matt wanted to learn a little bit more about ice axe skills and crampon technique. Decided to go up the NW ridge of Stob Coire Nan Lochan which has a couple of interesting steps higher up eventually leading to the summit. The weather was fantastic a ridge of high pressure was shining upon us and a great day was had. We looked at some basic snow anchors on the way up, and solid crampon and ice axe techniques were also looked at. Bagged the summit and headed down back to the car. We based ourselves at the YHA in Glencoe which is confortable and reasonably priced, not to mention a great location. Finishing off with a few pints in the Clachaig Inn.

Link to pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCAuQP8GHFd/

 

7th February 2015

 Back out again but this time we headed to the mighty Ben Nevis range and onto the CMD arete. (Carn Mor Dearg) This time we had clients Steve and his son Ed with us. Both had done a couple of days last year with us in the Scottish hills with PB Mountaineering and had decided they fancied putting their skills into practice on a long standing ambition of theirs the CMD arete. Luckily the weather was better than forecasted, so we had some views from the ridge, although it was gusting at 50mph at times. The use of a confidence rope was needed occasionally for some of the party throughout the day. The ridge is grade 1 and offers a fantastic winter (and summer) scramble, without being too challenging. A confident approach and a reasonable level of experience is required in winter particulary in challenging conditions, to tackle the ridge. But for Matt, Steve and Ed who had already undergone a skills and refresher course plus have experience in the Scottish hills they found it challenging but never out of their comfort zone. Thanks guys for a great day. 

Link to pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCAwoImGHLl/

 

21st February 2015

A one to one client day with James back up in the Cairngorms and Coire an t-Sneachda area. James wanted to cover some winter skills, combining some micro navigation along with emergency shelters and ice axe arresting skills. We headed up and onto the plateau taking in mount Cairngorm along the way. On route we bumped into the SAIS guys who were analysing the snow for instabilities and snow pack detail, so that they could put the all important SAIS blog together. This is absolutely essential and hats off to these people who give up their valubale time and effort in providing detailed snow reports for walkers, climbers and skiers alike. If it wasn't for these people there would surely be more incidents/accidents in the mountains at winter time. Check out the link to see what they are about and do. Also if your thinking of heading into the hills at winter time, then this should be your first point of call!! Remember though that it's not 'gospel' and you should have/should build a picture up over the week/s before heading out to see what the snow is and more importantly has been doing in previous days/weeks. This then will give you a picture in your mind so that when you do go out, your not expecting the unexpected. This is not a slaes pitch! But I can't over state how important it is to go out with somebody with knowledge and experience about this to pass onto yourself, it could save you as well as other people's lives.

The rest of the day was used to practice possibly the most important skill in winter...navigation! Navigating in winter is an essential skill and one that you (even us!) are improving all the time. We looked at snow depth with a probe and snow pit interpretation, along side some sliding around and playing in the snow! This is used before you even attempt to arrest with an axe and gives people greater confidence and builds memory muscle for the main event. 

Link to SAIS people: www.sais.gov.uk

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCA0VHhmHE2/

 

6th March 2015

A training day organised by the AMI (Association Of Mountaineering Instructors) in association with the SAIS and led by the legendary Alan Kimber who is based in Fort William Scotland. His knowledge of Ben Nevis is second to none, and has worked in the area for many, many years. The group was made up of like minded and well qualified individuals who wanted to learn a little more, and have a better understanding of the area particulary whilst working with clients/groups. Graham from the SAIS was on hand to dispense knowledge and facts about avalanches in Scotland and his role in working for/with the SAIS. The day was very useful and we even got to eat our sandwiches and have a brew in the CIC hut, which had it's fire on so made it harder to leave! Check out the pics, there should be 7.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCBMXXEmHD0/ 

 

14th March 2015

A solo day taking in the Munro tops of Lochnagar. A fantastic day with real atmosphere and contrast. The walk upto Lochnagar summit was mixed with views one minute into the coire and then cloud would swirl and block the view, you could see the blue skies coming through, but I knew that the direction i'd be taking the views would vanish completely once I'd left the 1st summit. Hard packed ice was underfoot going up the ridge and that low visibility kept creeping in. From the summit the views were amazing there was even a cloud inversion which was a real bonus, and I lingered on the summit to have a brew as I knew this was going to be the best of the day. It was then onward as the other 4 Munros weren't going to walk themselves and needed to be done. A long day but one I've wanted to do for awhile.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCBOiOVGHIn/

3rd April 2015

Had a walk up round Kentmere with my dog Harry. It's just on the doorstep and thought it good to show that sometimes you forget just what you have around your local area without the need to travel further. Lot's of accessible walks low level and fell level, plus some small outcrops and good bouldering. Kentmere reservoir is a lovely place to be often without a soul around. Also used the spot for some navigation training as it lends itself to that.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCBrMwRmHLH/

14th April 2015 - Arran
My good friend Colin and myself decided to do a climbing trip to Arran. I had visited a couple of years back with another friend but unfortunately the weather was pretty poor. I remember we camped right at the base of the crag, and unzipping the tent in the morning to be met with swirling low cloud and drizzle...we carried on fully waterproofed and managed to climb Labyrinth which was a beast of a route, full of character and mystery! It should really get a grade of XS as in those conditions you can't really grade it, as there are squeeze throughs and impasses, delicate sections chimneying all sorts gets thrown at ya! Great fun. This time the weather was pretty much perfect, we biked in a good few K's before deciding to ditch the bikes after one of the large deer fences had become too much for us to lift over! That's when I ran into Arran the adder who was basking in the sun minding his own business. There's a tarn over in the Lake District that says 'Warning adders'...i've always thought 'yeah right' as if your going to stand on one, I kinda now know what it means apart from there were no signs and it would have been easy to have stood on him!
The climbing on the slabs is amazing sweeping granite for what seems like miles and miles. We wanted to get done The south ridge direct, but as ever time slips away and your left wanting for more. We did do Sou'wester slabs and the Hammer, two great routes although tht latter only gets one star for a VS. It's funny (sorry Colin) how it falls as he seemed to get the tricky blank last pitch, it was then he slipped his brown cordoroys on... After that we biked back out and headed for the ferry. I love biking in and walking or climbing in the middle of it, as you feel like you've done lot's and got two sports rolled into one day. If you've never been or thinking of going to Arran...go! It's an awesome place, and once you've left the town and on route up Glen Rosa valley then the crowds diminish and you'll probably have the place to yourself.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCC0wG3mHK9/


1st / 2nd May 2015

My other half Becks and myself took a trip to Bridge of Orchy Scotland to do some walking. It's funny how a few weeks ago we were basked in sunshine now were back in snow! The UK weather hey? Day one was a short walk upto Beinn an Dothaidh. A friend and I many years previously had done Beinn Dorain in some horrfic snow, as regards majorly deep! We were wading in at valley level for hours! A brutal day, but looking back kinda fun and never had anything like that since. 2008 I think. Anyway conditions were erm slightly better than that year, and a nice plod upto the summit, where a smattering of snow lay. Day two were the two Munros north of Bridge of Orchy - Beinn Achaldair & Chreachain. There were strong gusts all day and low visibility for most of the day, with severe wind chill on top, 8 hrs to do the round although as per Cameron Mcneish quotes something like two hours! if your olympic standard. Now i'm no slouch but if you hoofed it round you'd just get his times quoted done in summer, winter...no way. We were staying in the camper so parking up and getting a good nights sleep isn't a problem in Scotland.

23rd May 2015

Colin and myself headed over to Dow crag Lake District to do a route i've always fancied but heard mixed views about...normally that the route should be graded harder than the current grade of E1 5b. The route is called Catacomb and was a pretty damn fine route. Colin kicked us off, unfortunately he got spat off on the traverse, a fine fine effort and he gave it his all even lobbing onto his gear several times. After that he was pretty pumped so I had a go. It's a stiff pull from the belay ledge onto the slab, and then an awkward and technical traverse with some deft gear positioning leads you round the corner to safer ground. Pitch 3 is a little hard to read, we opted for the higher pitch although once above the ledge I could see the crack that it talked about. A fun route and I wouldn't be surprised if the grade did nudge upto 5c at some point, although a stiff 5b is probably fair. Dow's a great crag with lot's of atmosphere and the tarn below and Coniston Old Man make for fine views to stretch the eye.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCC6LHwmHEO/

7th June 2015

Black Crag - Borrowdale. Climbing on BC and Shepherds crag - Jubilee Grooves E1 5b and The Grasp and P.S. which i'd done before but Colin hadn't. BC on some lines donesn't get the traffic, Troutdale Pinnacle of course does but some of the lines to the left don't, so in this case was a little gubby in places. A fine line though. The Grasp i've always wanted to do but one of those lines that people say 'bold that' and 'no gear' which isn't stictly true, there's gear before the 1st main crux pull over the overhang so you'd be alrigh if you were to mess up, the next moves are thin and it's just a case of keeping your head together above your gear. Had a bit of a moment when a tiny edge my right foot was on just after i'd pulled over the overhang blew up and was left holding on by my right hand and left toe! Shepherd's always brings a smile to your face no matter what grade your climbing, it's the Lake's Tremadog.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCC9K1LmHKd/

11th June 2015 - Bristol
Managed a quick sneaky trip to Bristol and climbed for the first time in the Avon Gorge. Piton Route was the route a Classic Rock VS 4c line. I teamed up with Leon who i'd met on UKC for the afternoon. He was happy for me to lead the route, and so was I. People say this route is dreadfully polished...it is but i've had worse growing up on the Limestone i'm no stranger to that. We had the remnants of the evening sun, and the crag was warm and dry with only a few other people climbing. It's a random place as it's right next to the road, and you always (well I was) thinking is my car going to get done here?! We only had time for one route and then the 5 hour drive back to Cumbria awaited...

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCC_Qs_mHO0/

19th June 2015

Quick trip to Cathedral Quarry, an impressive disused quarry that now is heavily used by outdoor centres and groups for abseil sessions and exploration. You see very few climbers in here, mainly cause it's fallen out of favour has slate, and more likely cause it's rammed with midges in summer and only has to see rain for a mo and it's greasy as! But the route i'd come in for is a classic and one on the hit list for years. Darklands an E3 5C, but now well bolted thanks to the BMC bolt fund and a couple of keen individuals. The route tackles the over laps and is a fine line. It went ok on the day, some technique is needed to get yourself over the overlaps without depleting your energy, it's fine climbing all the way. Thanks to Becks for the belay, she ran out of the quarry after i'd topped out as the midges were horrendous!

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCDEIJ1GHID/

4th July 2015
A trip to Sergeant Crag Slabs Borrowdale was on the cards. The warm rays of the sun catch the slab once you climb out of the trees from the belay ledge. This crag in crag terms has only been recently develpoed (In the last 30 years...) before that it was unknown. The climbs can be pumpy on the calves so makes good training possibly before venturing onto something bigger like the Etive Slabs for example. The routes get climbed a fair bit so stayes clean and there are some controversial bolts at the top of some climbs...personally i'm in favour of this particulary on this crag and that you respect the line and other climbers of course. They were put in due to the delicate nature of the path and the flaura and fauna that surrounds the crag. I believe that we need more ab stations at the top of crags, it would make for faster and safer decents and reduce the messy tat and debris that can be found on other crags. It's a strange debate as it infuriates and enrages some climbers to the point of this is all they discuss when they turn up at AGM's and other lecturing debates...get over it go live in Europe for awhile and experience the wonderful ab stations there...enough said i'm nearly 'one of those some climbers'...

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCDFH03mHJ1/

10th & 15th July 2015

Chris and myself headed out to Dow crag followed a few days later by Raven Crag Thirlmere. We weren't sure what we was going to do at Dow so ended up doing a random line (as i've done quite a bit there...) called Eliminate 'C'. It starts you up Intermediate Gully which wasn't my favourite, as it was wet slimy and awful...Eliminate C only gets 4c but the 1st pitch after the gully pitch was a beast! It was wet and damp so that didn't help but if that's 4c it's time to hang up ya boots! The rest of the line was ok a bit meandering and not really Eliminate...We tried to do Great Central Route but after another horrendous gully climb we saw that the climbs crack pitch was full of slime and had a big water streak running down it, so we abseiled off and left it for another drier day.
The main event was a few days later and got to do the long awaited Totalitarian - E1 5c. The 1st pitch was a bush bash to find the belay as that crag is very overgrown and completely fallen out of favour it seems...although there is a bird ban through some of the months so that doesn't help. I did the 1st pitch which gets the reputation of being bold...I like that as it makes me find more gear to try and prove people wrong, I found 7/8 pieces in the 1st pitch...Chris got the 2nd 5b pitch a lovely straight up and clean line. And I favoured the crux which has a peg in at foot level before a crimpy move leads to a substantial hold/s. The last moves up the crack around the corner are wonderful. Only to top out into the land that time forgot foliage!

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCDIemUmHAx/

July 2015 - France
Becks (my partner) and her family had booked a chateau in the south of France in a little village called Pepieux. They had once owned a villa round there and so we know the area really well. It also makes for some great sport climbing at venues like Notre Damn Du Cros (see pics) The weather was stunning and so we made the most of it. If I was being a true Brit then i'd say that it was a little too hot to climb in the sun...but I won't. I did try and track down some other crags in the area but sadly they didn't come to much...with no real up to date guide for the area then it's hard to find where to properly access these crags from as it's vast and if you get it wrong you end up wading through shrub (spikey!) and bush. Of course it wasn't all about the climbing and more about the wine, eating on the barbie and swimming in the pool...think I could live in France.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCGas3CGHKn/

30th July 2015
Dave and myself took a trip to the Bowfell range, as I had always wanted to climb a route called Fastburn which is an E2 on Flat Crags. The rock is Rhyolite and so generally means that if there is any moisture then the crag holds this and makes it difficult to climb...this was the case to a certain extent and when we were gearing up the ground was saturated and the crag in places had wet streaks and felt greasy...not good. Anyway we'd trekked up and the gear in the first groove looked reasonable (dodgy flake unknown from ground) so I started up it. I may have been having an off day but I found it bloody hard! Pumpy and steep and unrelenting. Once at the top of the crack, the airy rising traverse with minimal protection was weighing a little bit on my mind, once in the crack, the gear came a plenty. Ten metres or so from the top I was stopped in my tracks for what I thought was the second if not thee crux and took ages working out the top moves to get onto the ledge with no foot holds and small holds for fingers...Anyway I made it and a big thanks to Dave for belaying and getting very cold and waiting patiently, cheers buddy. We then headed over to Bowfell and did a route neither of us had done which was Central Route graded HS 4b. Nothing to write home about, but nice to be A: Climbing and B: On Bowfell with views.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCGclCEmHOs/

August 2015
Couple of trips, one to White Ghyll with Debbs. Did a couple of lines Perhaps Knot HVS 5a & Feet Of Clay E1 5b, also did Ethics of Heather VS 4c, which is a relatively new line that's just been climbed. White Ghyll is one of those crags that you keep going back to and find something to do. I've wanted to do Feet of Clay ever since busting up and left to do Man of Straw years back. I found it's mate Feet Of actually harder...The move from under the roof is hard to rest on and then hard to get established. I was pretty tired getting round into it and found it a long stretch! If straw was 5b would give this a + or even 5C. Could be one of those that you'd go back on another day and find it fine so hard to say. Debbs kicked us off on pitch one of Perhaps Knot, I got the crux pitch which was fun but cramped!

Link to White Ghyll pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCJV1Y2mHJa/

The next little trip was to Gouther Crag. Situated in the South Lakes this is kinda a locals crag and often gets overlooked for other more popular venues. Peter M and myself headed over there not sure what we were going to have a go on, but ended up doing Tamarist - HVS, Sostenuto - HVS, The Doghouse - MVS, and The Fang Direct - E1. Tamarist was possibly the worst route of the day and one that I was glad that Peter got the lead on, as it was wet with a powerful start and then some suspect looking saplings to belay off! Sostenuto was a repeat so Pete got that one, I lead Fang Direct which was very thin in the crux for an E1 i've had better protected E2's which is weird...We top roped The Bloodhound as none of us fancied the bold lead. Moves on the TR went smooth with no real problems, one to come back for. It's a fine crag but one that catches the breeze when it's more often than not been blown down the valley straight into the crag.
Link to Gouther pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCJXffImHMK/

22nd August 2015
Craig & Johnny fancied some Ghyll Scrambling so took them to argubly one of the best places in the Lake District...Esk Ghyll. It's relatively short but has lot's to offer and do. We'd had a fair bit of rain beforehand so the ghyll was pretty pumping, it's a good warm up to get in their about 40 minutes. Once your there it's a quick change and food stop and in you go! There are a few jumps into the first pool (some bigger than others!) and then a walk or a fight depending on the conditions up the first waterfall. The lads loved it and when we got to the main pool there was lot's of exploring to be done. There's a cool traverse to be done if you can hang on! So smaller jumps into fast flowing white water, and some larger jumps, all of which end you up in deep water. A bouyancy aid and helmet keep you protected throughout. This time we explored the upper ghyll past the bridge until we decided we'd had enough and walked back down the easy path to the start, for another bite to eat and some dry clothes.

Link to pictures Esk Ghyll: www.instagram.com/p/BCJamClmHBJ/

29th & 30th August 2015
Headed off to Scotland to try and finish a few more Classic Rock routes. We were aiming high as the weather wasn't overly good forecast wise but you have to remain optimistic. We wanted to do Mitre Ridge/Squareface up on Ben Bhuird, and then the next day Eagle Ridge on Lochnagar. Best laid plans and all that, we didn't get the 1st day done as the weather turned nasty and so we biked in as far as we could get, heading past the Slugain house and way up high into the head of the valley before ditching the bikes and heading on foot, only to be turned back when we could hardly see in front of us and the air temperature was getting colder...You say Mitre/Squareface are two pretty seriously high up routes for UK climbing! For a start there's a 3hour trip to get to the buggers, then you still have to climb them and get out of there. Of course you could do it in two days but we had set our sights on just one day. Unfortunately we didn't even get to see these iconic rock pieces and so headed off on our bikes for a wonderful decent back to the car.
Link to Ben Bhuird pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCJbYuRmHCZ/

The next day we had more luck, we biked in again, but this time to HRH's estate near Balmoral, Lochnagar. A wonderfully impressive coire surrounded by rock and more rock. Although mainly a winter climbing venue we had come for was a route called Eagle Ridge. A 250m Severe rock route first climbed in 1941 which is/was an astonishing acheivement in the day. The route weaves it's way up the faults on/in the ridge until the final few pitches where it gets a little tougher and one gets forced onto the ridge proper and pull over some steep blocks and climb some lovely sweeping cracks. Even though we were swinging leads, it all takes time and car to car we were out for a good 8/9 hours. Sadly we had to drive home that evening and so a quick stretch at the car, pack up and headed home feeling tired after the day, but also feeling a little bit more charged from being outdoors, wondering and planning when the next adventure will be.

Link to Lochnagar pics: www.instagram.com/p/BCJcCO1mHDo/

September 2015 - Dolomites.
A return trip back to the Dolomites was planned for September. The first week was with Becks as we had unfinished business walking the Alta Via 1. And the second part of the holidays I had some friends coming out who wanted to do some harder Via Ferrata.
I had wanted to do the Alta Via 1 for quite some time, not only personally but to do a reconnaissance on the walk and the area for scope to run this as a holiday for clients. Some people may want to do just a small section of the walk, whilst others may want to do the whole lot. Either way there is lot's of scope to mix and match the best bits of the walk.
The Alta Via 1 is a 150 kilometre hike through the Eastern Dolomites. To say it takes in some amazing scenary would be an understatement...We had been out the previous year and walked for 3 days in the mountains, starting from Lago di Braies and ending at rifugio Lagazuoi. You stay in some awesome accomodation along the way, very clean and comfortable, offering half board you'll never go hungry. Generally the breakfasts are small and basic, as they know people generally don't linger in the huts when walking the Alta Via and so want you up and at em! The dinners are filling and depending on where you are on the trail can be anything from soup, pasta and bread with dessert (always!) to hand made raviolli and venison! They pretty much have hot showers (apart from one or two remote mountain huts) They all serve alcohol, and generally have a roaring fire on to greet your weary legs! The best bit is that you can choose how long you walk for. The days can vary in length, generally you'll be walking between 20/30 kilometres a day, but because there are so many huts to choose from you could literally walk 3-5k's straight into another hut if you wanted an easier day.
The terrain is pretty straight forward, and although a reasonable base level of fitness is required to get the most out of the walk, there is nothing too taxing or technical when walking the Alta Via. There are some optional side journeys to climb some of the mountian tops, and do some Via Ferrata if you want to. We did but like I say it's optional. For all those that don't know Via Ferrata is a cool way to get high up safely into the mountains. First built/introduced in the war, it was a means of moving troops and artilliary around the mountains from one mountain range to another. Back then rope and wire were used which was anchored crudely into the rock so that troops could grab hold as they moved around the ledges and the cliffs. Of course nowadays it's totally different and proper steel cables have been securely anchored into the mountain and joined at regular intervals so that you clip on and off with you karabiners, so that you maintain contact with the wire at all times. Now they are used for sport, and have been upgraded and regulary maintained so that individuals and families can experience the mountains without the need to know how to rock climb, or do anything super technical. All you need is a helmet, a harness with 2 cows tail karabiners and some gloves (optional) the standard equipment like boots, waterproof, sunglasses etc is needed, but as kit goes it's pretty minimal and inexpensive. PB Mountaineering will lend you all the kit you'll nedd to keep you moving safely whilst out and about. We advise to come onto one of our scrambling days/weekends to get the flavour of what Via Ferrating is like.
Below is a link to some pictures from the trip, have a browse it'll give you some idea of what Via Ferrata is about, as well as getting a glimpse of the Alta Via 1 trail. If you require any further information about the Dolomites and or fancy booking onto a holiday to walk the trail then get in touch, we'd be happy to help.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BCbYDV4mHKw/
Link to Alta Via: dolomitesport.com/activities/hiking-2/alta-via-1/

18th September 2015 - Skye

Decided to take advantage of a high pressure forecast, track down a willing victim, sorry climber and head to the Isle of Skye. I had decided to put a post on UKC and meet up with a guy called Pete for some climbing on and around the Cioch. Now all well and good, but as I was driving the 7.5hrs to get there I must admit i was hoping he'd be there where we'd agreed to meet at Glenbrittle....Luckily for me he was. We quickly packed up and headed off to go and climb Cioch Direct (A Classic Rock route) and hopefully put some unfinished business to bed and climb Integrity (another Classic Rock route) I had been up here several years before but unfortunately and fortunatley we'd climbed Arrow Route (yes you guessed it a Classic Rock tick!) but the party I was with were buggered after crossing the Cuillin Ridge the day before and so decided to abseil down and leave it for another day. Cioch Direct was an interesting route...being a 'Classic' you can guarantee that it'll be full of character, with lot's of traditional style and effort needed! I led the main crux pitches and Pete kicked us off on the 1st pitch. There was quite a few water streaks kicking around, as it had rained heavy the day before and so it takes awhile to dry, plus the air temperature was only about 12 degrees so didn't make for good drying weather. By the time we'd done the route and shot up Cioch Corner, it was almost 20.30...a little worrying as we hadn't the greatest of supplies with us, and one headtorch between us. I kicked us off on Integrity which to be honest don't tell anyone but I found it quite out there, (which it is) and feeling a little tired it felt harder than i had imagined. The moves are beautiful if not a little hard to start, and never loses it's interest all the way to the top, where you top out onto a slab, although I think it was as by now it was pitch black! And then came 4 hours of wandering around in the dark trying to find the decent gully, only to give it up as things were becoming a little hairy...and so opted to walk down the ridge instead. A very long day indeed...
No matter how many times I visit Skye, it never fails to amaze me just how big the days are, and you can never guess how the day's going to pan out. It's an awesome place full of mystery and magic, definitely a place to go if you have never been! The next day was an easier one and decided to stop at the Fairy Pools to take a look as it'd been a long time since i'd visited and now it seems that they've turned it into a big tourist view spot and walking trail as it was pretty busy with families and various tourists walking the track into the pools.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BC8dTJGmHDR/

20th September 2015
On route home, I decided to swing in and spend the night in Glen Sheil, in preperation for the next day as I have always wanted to do the Forcan Ridge. As a ridge scramble goes it is up there with the best! I was really surprised just how good and entertaining it was/is. I decided to stick to the ridge in it's entirety and i'm sure there was about 250m of pure scrambling to be had. Whilst there I bagged to other Munro The Saddle 1010m and Sgurr na sgine 946m. This is possibly one of my favourite scrambles in the UK!

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BC8gBjJGHJI/

3rd October 2016
Client day. Tom wanted to look at belay building, general movement on rock, anchor selection, and choosing and setting an abseil, along with anything else I felt appropriate. The choice of venue for day 1 was East Raven crag Langdale. We did 3/4 routes on there looking at the above, it's a good venue as the protection isn't always obvious on first encounters and some routes make you look for gear, which is good for learning. The belays are quite set back so we looked at what to do and how to keep your 2nd safe when getting to the top of the climb.
Day 2 was an obvious choice for me (one of me fave crags!) and that was Wallabarrow over in the Duddon valley Seathwaite. A road side crag with a mountain crag feel to it. We climbed the classic Thomas, Digitation and Trinity Slabs, all of which are stunning routes, and we built on what Tom had learnt yesterday and took it to a multi pitch crag. The crag generally lends itself to great stances and belays and the routes are fair for their grade. We looked at rigging an abseil to finish with and Tom got to abseil down from the 2nd pitch of Thomas. Tom said he loved the day and now said it was time to invest in some gear/a rack and practice some of the skills he'd leaned from the two days.

Link to pictures: www.instagram.com/p/BC_JQjYGHOp/

17th/18th October 2015

As I was driving up to Scotland to meet a friend – Colin, I kept thinking ‘this must be the last rock climbing trip of the year’… well albeit high level climbing trip. The plan was to do a Ruawalk (run/walk patent pending…) the first day in the Drumochter hills and then sleep at the YHA in Aviemore and then meet Colin at 5am to do the climb/s.
The Munros I was thinking of doing were A’Bhuidheanach Bheag 936m and Carn na Caim 941m. The round took me 3hrs and 45 mins parking at the Balsporran cottages just off the A9 there, funny cause Cameron McNeish says 4-6hrs and doesn’t mention running…The Drumochter hills some say are boring but I think there quite interesting. There certainly good for your navigation as there pretty featureless. After I made my way to the YHA checked in and chilled out.
Colin met me at the YHA the next day at 05.30. We drove up to the Coire Cas car park packed up and left for Hell’s Lum and a climb called the Clean Sweep. Graded Vs 4c we made the long hike in (a good 2hrs) to find the crag pretty wet especially in the lower pitches…It faces north so it was cold too. I drew short straws and kicked us off on pitch one. This I believe (and confirmed after) it deserves 5a, it was wet but the move round/over the bulge was fairly tough. Colin got an even wetter pitch 2 which involved climbing through wet slabs and grass! I got the classic 3rd pitch which takes you up the main crack which gives excellent climbing and great protection. The next pitches are ok but nothing amazing. We topped out at around 16.00 we were hoping to get the other classic done the Talisman but there was absolutely no way that was going to happen, so it was down bite to eat and head out before the long walk back to the cars.

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1261536613873694/1261535737207115/


1st November 2015

Unknown to me then (and I remember saying ‘well let’s hope these cold crisp high pressure days are here to stay over the winter…) little did I know that we would then have 6 months of the worst weather we’ve ever had in history!! Floods, floods and more floods…how wrong could I have been…
Today though was an amazing day! High pressure over Yorkshire so a trip down to the Grit and Crookrise was on the cards.
An old stomping ground for climbing legends of the past such as Dolphin, Austin, and Fawcett, Crookrise has always been great spot to go. Generally it’s usually pretty quite maybe because it’s fallen out of popularity maybe, or possibly because the uphill walk in puts a lot of people off. We started on the right and did Edge VS 5a. and Route 2 VS 5a, before moving on to Leaning Wall VS 5a, which I found tough, steep and commiting for a VS…
We then teamed up with Alastair and climbed as a three to do Cat’s Whiskers VS 4C and Long Climb HS 4b, both classic of the crag and well worth doing even if they were both repeat/repeats. We ended on The Sole HVS 5b which is possibly dare I say the most striking line on the crag. A tough crack gives the start followed by a rising leftwards traverse along breaks to finish up a jamming crack with excellent protection throughout. The weather was perfect all day, and I’m sure from memory it pretty much started raining in Cumbria a few days later and didn’t stop till February!

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1261544677206221/1261543993872956/

17th January 2016

Trip to Scotland in the van with my buddy Johnny. We ended up heading to the Tay forest and walking up Schiehallion 1083m. A popular route as ease of access is good, and I guess although we didn’t really see it there would be a great tourist path going up in the summer months. It’s basically a broad ridge that leads you all the way to the summit. There was a biting wind all the way being exposed to it meant there wasn’t really any shelter on the way up. We didn’t linger on top and as soon as we got there, we came back down pretty much straight away.
The next day we headed to Crainlarich and the plan was to go down An Caisteal 995m and Beinn a’chroin 942m. As it happened we only got the first one done, due to time and conditions. Winter never ceases to amaze me just how different the days can be. Yesterday wasn’t great visibility but today was worse and the conditions just due to the level of the snow line and how deep it had drifted due to wind deposition meant that the day took us longer than we had hoped it would…It was knee depth most of the way up the ridge, and once on top navigation was pretty tough as the ground contouring was pretty hard to read and technical, especially in winter with fading light. After heading down deep snow into the dip between the two peaks, we decided that if we had continued we wouldn’t have ended up getting back to the van until very late, then the drive home would have meant a very late day indeed. So we decided to sack it off return to the summit and head down the other ridge opposite windy ridge. A full day with challenging conditions.
 

12th 13th February 2016

Glen Etive.

Great solo trip to Glen Etive. Pitched down near the road end of Druimachoish in the van. Snow line was down to about 650m deep on the tops. Day 1 was Ben Starav 1087m & Glas Bheinn Mhor 997m. A river crossing (freezing) as I couldn’t be bothered doing the hike to the bridge and I fancied it. The ridge leading to Starav is long and steep. Beautiful crisp day cloud virtually above the tops but blew in now and again. Whilst I was walking the round I kinda omitted from my head that the Munro way off to the south wasn’t on this round…when I got to the van 7 hours later I checked and found that I should have broken off and taken this one in…bugger! But Mr. McNeish quotes 5-8hrs for the full round! Took me 7 just to do 2!! Albeit it is winter but I’m no slouch and I always find his times ridiculous. The next day I decided to finish off what I’d started and go and knock off Beinn nan Aighenan 960m. This day took me 7hrs 40mins alone! I did go up the back coire wall and make a grade 1 day out of it. Snow was pretty firm no obvious signs of avalanche even though the SAIS were warning of cat 2/3 conditions in and around the Glencoe area. Just shows every slope is different than the last. The headwind coming down from the Munro was fierce and made for tough going! In fact I remember thinking that I may have to turn back as I was actually pretty jaded!! These Scottish days are tiring…I pressed on and made the summit, got there and realized I’d lost my camera climbing up the blunt ridge. Luckily I picked it up again after retracing my crampon steps in the snow about 250m below the summit! A tiring but great day, glad I went to finish this round off as it’s a long drive down the Glen Etive road, although the views are amazing, and whilst asleep in the van got the feeling I was surrounded by herds of deer…which I was as you could hear them grunting and barking, and the droppings outside the van let me know that they had definitely been around.

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1265809236779765/1265808603446495/
 

10th March 2016

Had an event, which included a Tyrolean traverse for the clients. Tyrolean’s are always fun, there a little tricky to get ‘just right’ and of course a safety for a safety is needed…so lot’s of rope and some cunning rigging is required at times. But once set generally people love em! Of course as Climbers when you have to use these in anger, you don’t have the luxury of a back up safety rope and are generally on one line. We were in the Langdale valley, and luckily the weather was on our side. We had also set an abseil up so half the group could do that whilst the others could have a try at the Tyrolean if they wanted to. The group loved it and some of them even had another go!

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/
 

20th March 2016

Decided on a day bouldering at some lesser visited crags down in Yorkshire, Stump Cross crags & Rowntree Tor. We had both never been but well worth the visit. Stump cross if funnily enough…situated behind the visitor centre, a little outcrop with some interesting problems and small 6/7 metre climbs. Rowntree Tor is near Guisecliff and has some great small problems on rough Gritstone situated on top of the moor. We ended on the stared problem ‘Gladiator’ where my mate J managed to crack at the end of the day.

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1237895072904515/1237888752905147/

 
28th - 31st March 2016
Right...I've just written a massive 3 paragraphs only to find that the whole lot hasn't saved...so the shortened version...
Solo trip to Scotland. Day 1: Glen tilt biked 8k to walk Carn Liath 975m - Braigh Coire Cruinn-bhalgain 1070m - Carn nan Gabhar 1121m. Then down to valley and up Carn a' Chlamain 963m. A big day! 50 + K!! I was so lucky and whilst approaching Braigh a Golden Eagle flew up from the back of the coire overhead and shot off into the distance! What an amazing site, i've only seen 2/3 Eagles whilst been in Scotland, but none that close (about 2/300m away)
Day 2: Biked into the Culra bothy near Dalwhinnie which is 16k only to find that the thing was shut due to asbestos been in some of the panels...there was no sign at the start of the trail to let people know. I had to turn around and bike straight back out! A lovely ride though but sadly didn't get to stay.
Day 3: Some unfinished business (Munros) Creag Pitridh 924m and Geal Charn 1049m. I'd done Beinn a' Chlachair 1087m some years back with a friend and some of his friends, we'd decided to climb the Coire on the left facing in, before heading round to the summit. One of the guys hadn't put his crampons on correctly and it came off and so did he! Took quite a slide and a lesson learnt about making sure you have the right crampons for your boots, and make sure they are on properly...
The weather for the trip was pretty consistently stable, lot's of atmospheric clouds lingering around, and snow line down to about 850m. The bike/hike idea works amazingly well on a lot of the Scottish hills as you sometimes have large areas of forest tracks/4x4 trails to hike up before you get to the hills, this gets you in quicker and also saves your legs on the way out, win win!

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1252992191394803/1252989331395089/


10/4/16 – St.Bees.

Headed out for a quick trip to the beautiful St. Bees on the West coast of Cumbria. I’ve been real lucky here and have always headed out when the sun has been shining. The boulders are situated below the lighthouse, and an airy ‘roped hand line’ leads you down over the cliffs to the seashore. Once they’re your greeted by some wonderful Sandstone boulders, all ripe for the climbing. The rock was perfectly dry (if it isn’t and it’s wet then it’s advisable not too climb as it can snap holds and the rock can crumble) I only had time for a couple of hours bouldering but this gave me enough time to knock off some old favorites and even one new problem I hadn’t done. Don’t get me wrong there are lots of hard high ball (and low) problems still to be done but in my grade it’s nice to get a new problem in. There is lot’s of sport climbing to be had on the cliffs too, and there were a couple of climbers demonstrating this whilst I was pottering around.

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1257744694252886/1257744317586257/

 

30th April – Shap fells

Ruwalk around the Shap fells. Lovely small fells on the outskirts of the Lake District, often overlooked these fells make a great quick hit or a longer day out. These are the fells overlooking the Borrowdale valley near Roundthwaite. Some old patches of snow lingering that Harry found interesting.
 

Link to pictures: www.facebook.com/PBMountaineering/photos/pcb.1270704132956942/1270701909623831/