Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These Conditions Reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

When Mike and I met this morning to go rock climbing it was a chilly 4C with thick mist over Fort William. We knew this would change though and the sun was already baking the dew off Pine Wall Crag at Poldubh when we go there. Mike had set his sights on the two Hard Severes on the crag so we did a warm up on the slabby V. Diff on the left of the crag before going for Pine Wall itself. This has perfect slab climbing on grippy solid rock with less protection than you might like. Great climbing though. It also leads onto the main section of Eigerwand which has equally good climbing with even less protection! A second Hard Severe for Mike though and mission accomplished. By this time it was about 20C!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

At long last we've had some success on Skye. The high pressure system over Europe has brought brilliant early Autumn weather to most places. Yesterday we had some cloud and strong wind on the southern half of the Cuillin Ridge but with the forecast for the wind to drop and the clouds to clear Will and I hoped for the best.

We climbed the first three Munros in the cloud and caught very brief glimpses of the view. The rocks were wet in the morning so we by-passed the TD Gap but climbed Kings Chimney to Sgurr Mhic Choinnich which was still quite slimy. On Inaccessible Pinnacle it felt like we climbed out of the cloud and we saw the first sign of blue sky.

Having made good progress we carried on over Sgurr a'Greadaidh in the warm glow of the setting sun. Deep shadows and warm colours are a wonderful feature of a September traverse. There was even some water available at An Dorus for the overnight stay and set us up well for the second day. Compared with June, the nights are long at the moment so we got a good long rest too.

This morning dawned beautifully and with a temperature inversion we were warm up on the crest of the ridge. A few clouds in the glens made the scale of the mountains seem even bigger. Dry rock and just a light breeze made perfect conditions for the second half of the traverse which we did in great time.

Naismith's Route was a real highlight near the end too. Will has done lots of scrambling and mountaineering as well as a lot of training so it's no surprise he did so well on the traverse. I'm so glad we got some of the most spectacular views I've seen of the Cuillin as well.

Friday, 25 September 2015

For the second day of lead rock climbing coaching with Kate and Johan we were back at Poldubh. We started on Clapham Junction, a steep, awkward, polished, technical climb with excellent protection. It was still wet too, especially the finger lock cracks. This route was not chosen to be easy, in fact it was chosen because it would be very hard to climb and easy to fall off (and safe enough). Kate did an excellent job and really pushed herself. She placed excellent protection and committed to the climbing before taking a lead fall from above the protection. Hopefully Kate will use this experience to give her confidence on climbs she leads in the future. Having faith in your protection is key to lead climbing.

The rain showers did not clear very quickly so we went to The Gutter and climbed this in three pitches before abseiling off. We did a practice SPA type rescue, a lead of Tear on SW Buttress and finally I led us up Resurrection. Johan now has a good idea of how to place protection and lead trad climbs. She will make the transition from sport climbing very well and settle quickly into Scottish climbing.