Mountain Trainin Picture

Mountain Trainin Picture

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

4 down 3 to go...

Today (23rd August) I managed to get back out in to the highlands with Josh and tick another two Munros off the list. We chose Crianlarich as we had five Munros left to climb having done Ben More and Stob Binnien last year. We decided on Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean and caught the 06:30 train.

Near the summit of Beinn Tulaichean...
It was 08:00 by the time we were on the land rover track and moving quick up through Coire Ardrain. From here we headed up the steep North East slopes of Grey Height and finally arrived on the top at 09:39. Once here we had a quick drinks break and headed off along the wide and snaking ridge towards Cruach Ardrain. Moving quickly again we eventually arrived at the summit of our first Munro shortly after 11:00. Once here the cloud began to lift revealing all the surrounding Munros and providing excellent visibility all around.

We left Cruach Ardrain shortly afterwards and headed down to the bealach between the two Munros and started heading up the easy slope towards the second Munro, Beinn Tulaichean. We made quick progress and reached the summit at 11:55.Two mountains before midday. We discussed maybe heading over and doing Beinn a' Chroin and An Caisteal but decided to save them for another day. At the summit we had some lunch before retracing our steps all the way back to Grey Height.

From here we followed an alternative path down the North slopes and after trampling through boggy forest we picked up the land rover track and made our way back to Crianlarich village.

So four of the seven Crianlarich hills down and three more to go.


Route profile...
Distance: 16.7km.
Height gain: 1,060 metres.
Munros  - 2, Cruach Ardrain and Beinn Tulaichean.
Time: 7.5 hours.


Friday, 18 August 2017

Bridge of Orchy mountain day...

Yesterday (August 17th 2017) I managed to get out in to the highlands and tick another two Munros from the list. I decided on Bridge of Orchy to climb Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

Early view of the 2 Munros...
I cycled up to Helensburgh upper train station and caught the 06:30 train and arrived at Bridge of Orchy at 08:20. By 08:25 I was on the walk in and making quick progress up the Coire An Dothaidh arriving at the cairn on the bealach between the two Munros an hour after setting off.

Wanting to maintain the pace I headed off due South along the Am Fiaclach ridge arriving on the summit of Bein Dorain at roughly 10:15. Once at the cairn the rain had not persisted so I about turned and ran most of the way down to the Bealach for a quick drink break. Whilst at the bealach I met a Swedish couple and spent a few minutes discussing cycling routes in Sweden and Denmark. Future trip perhaps...

I left the bealach at 10:45 and moved quickly up and through the uneventful coire reidh arriving on the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh at 11:18. I spent 5 minutes on the summit having a quick drink and inhaled a sandwich before heading off again. I ran most of the way down to the bealach before descending back in to coire an dothaidh and arrived back at the train station at 12:22. Just less than 4 hours after departing.

Distance: 13km.
Munros - 2, Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.
Height gain: 1,100 metres.
Time: 4 hours.

Birds eye route profile...
Another good mountain day and hopefully not too long before the next...


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Rannoch Wall...

Darren ready for the walk in...
Yesterday (May 9th 2017) myself and Darren headed up to Glencoe in order to find out what the climbing would be like on Buachaille Etive Mors Rannoch wall. With wall to wall sunshine we left the car park and headed towards 'the Buachaille'.

After 7+ days of hot sunshine the walk across the moorland to the base of curved ridge was pleasant and after 1.5 hours or so we were at the base of Rannoch wall. Another two climbers turned up and started on the crag classic that is Agags Groove so myself and Darren opted for January Jigsaw S 4a.

Spot the climbers high up on Rannoch Wall...
Darren took the lead and set off up the 1st pitch. After following Darren up I led off up the 2nd pitch and arrived at the joint belay off Agags and January Jigsaw. Fantastic views all around. After admiring the view Darren climbed the 3rd pitch before I led the final pitch to reach the upper section of Crowberry Ridge. We were soon descending down Curved Ridge and finally arrived back at the base of Rannoch wall.



Darren, 3rd pitch of January Jigsaw...





Once we arrived another group of 4 decided to head up Agags. Rather than hang about and wait for Agags to become free I set off up the 1st pitch of Satans Slit VS 4c. Easy climbing on some utterly crap rock and I finally arrived at the belay. Once Darren arrived at the belay he headed straight off up the 2nd pitch. A better pitch with an airy and atmospheric traverse to arrive at another joint belay ledge with Agags. By now the sun had vanished round the other side of the mountain so we decided to jump the queue of 4 and head direct up the final 2 pitched of Agags Groove. I set off quickly and led the last 2 pitches in one before Darren followed me up and we arrived back on the upper reaches of Crowberry ridge. From here we quickly descended back down Curved ridge to grab our bags and head straight back to the car. A quick splash in the river and we were heading back South along Loch Lomond and homeward bound...

Monday, 17 April 2017

More climbing...

The last few days I have managed to get out climbing again with Darren. Making the most of the dry spring weather we have managed to get some bouldering and trad climbing done.
Darren cruising up 'Not Easy Contract'...

This past Friday (14th April 2017) we headed to Wolfcrag. A bouldering crag in Bridge of Allan. Here I climbed 11 problems between f3 and 6b.

Then today (17th April 2017) we headed to Cambusbarron Quarry for a session of trad.

Here we managed to tick off:
Not Easy Contract E1 5b
Easy Contract HVS 5b
The Doobie Brothers E1 5b
Gobi Roof E2 5c

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Souter...

This Monday just passed (10th April 2017) I managed to get out for my first days rock climbing of the year. Myself and Darren decided to head East to chase the sun and leave the wind and rain in the West. We decided to head to the Souter.

Spent more time on the move and enjoying the sunshine but ticked off two routes.

The Ordinary Route HVS 5a on The Souter sea stack.

The Eastern Arete, Severe, at Fast Castle Head.

The Souter sea stack...

Darren traversing towards the Eastern arete...

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Aonach Eagach...

Myself on the ridge...
Its 6am by the time myself and Darren are flying along the Loch Lomond road eager for an early start. Passing the time slurping down council coffee and eating cold, dry croissants. Our objective for the day; The 'Aonach Eagach ridge'. Or for those without the knack of Scots tongue, the 'notched ridge'.

The Aonach Eagach ridge forms a great, seemingly impenetrable, barrier on the Northern side of Glencoe. Running East to West, the ridge has four summits. Two of which are given Munro status. This route is a grade II in winter and is deserving of its classic status.

Darren chimney sweeping...
We finally arrive at the car park. A quick faff from myself having to re-thread a dodgy gaiter and we're off. We head up the ascent path making good progress. I take a quick glance over my left shoulder and spot a figure moving quickly coming up towards us. The figure eventually catches us up below the summit of Am Bodach and states that he 'doesn't know where the route goes' and that he 'has been following our footsteps'. Superb. Emilio (not his real name, he just looks of Italian descent) eventually heads off in front of us and disappears along the ridge. We ascend to the summit of Am Bodach where we stop briefly to put on our harnesses and crampons before continuing.
Darren scrambling...


The visibility clears to show the majority of the ridge ahead. The wind, however, is relentless. A quick snow-blasting and we are quickly descending. The Chancellor looking imposing down to our left hand side. We make quick progress passing several 'bad steps' and arrive on the summit of Meall Dearg (red hill). The first Munro of the day. We stop here briefly to inhale some breakfast and have a quick drink. I pull a frozen banana from my bag and debate whether to eat it or use it for a potential belay. I go for the former, not a particularly hard decision.

Darren back on the crest...


From here we snake along the ridge proper passing several interesting scrambles and arrive at the 'crazy' pinnacles. Not quite 'crazy' but interesting none the less. A series of chimneys, narrow crests and steep drops keeping us focused. At one point we even get the rope out to make a short 15 metre abseil to bypass a sloping slab.

Loch Linnhe in the distance...


We have now tackled the major difficulties of the day and arrive on the summit of Stob Coire Leith. From here it is a slow slog to the top of Sgorr Nam Fiannaidh (Peak of the fair haired warriors. I kid you not!) in deeper snow to 'bag' the second Munro of the day. We have a quick drink here whilst de-harnessing and discuss our descent options. The direct descent South to the A82 and the Clachaig gully are advised against so we head in the direction of the shoulder of Sgorr na Ciche (Pap of Glencoe).


As is customary in Scottish hills, the descent is brutal and unrelenting all the way to the road. Once down at the road we shed some layers and make the long trek back to the car. A cracking Alpine-esque day with great conditions.

Route profile...
Distance: 10km. +8 to the car.
Height gain: 1,150 metres.
Munros: 2 - Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh.
Time taken: 7 hours.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Unfinished business in Tyndrum...

As I watch the train roll away from Tyndrum Lower station I fumble about putting my gloves on whilst crossing the rails to reach the track leading to the Connonish valley. Its just turned 7:30am. The air is cold, the moon is high in the sky, fog obscures the dark path ahead. Ice axe in hand ready to ward off any imaginary beasts.

The reintroduction of wolves and bears to the Scottish highlands is an on going debate. An idea I'm slightly in favour of. However, I'm glad that nothing is watching me from a distance as I make my way along this dark track. The last time I walked along this track was June 2013. On a mission to climb Beinn Dubhcraig and Ben Oss. I only succeeded in climbing the former before bailing out and running back to the train station.

Sun rising behind Beinn Dubhcraig...
I finally reach the end of the path and enter the wide Connonish valley. The sky is filled with pink and orange hues as the sun slowly creeps up behind Beinn Dubhcraig. Continuing along the track I pass Connonish farm and the gold mining project on the Corbett of Beinn Chuirn before finally arriving at the foot of Beinn Laoigh.

Stopping here to sort out my loosening boots I check out the ascent ahead. After rearranging some layers and having a drink I decide to crack on. I enter the Coire Gaothach and slowly progress upwards before reaching the North East ridge that leads to the summit. I finally arrive at the summit and due to the excellent visibility, all surrounding hills are visible, including Beinn a' Chleibh, my next target.
Summit Cairn of Beinn Laoigh...

Time is now pressing on so I quickly head South Westerly to reach the saddle between the two peaks before quickly ascending the broad East ridge of Beinn a'Chleibh. I finally reach the summit of my second Munro of the day before 12 noon. A quick bite to eat and a drink here before heading back down to the saddle.

From here I contour around the Coire Annaich to the Creag Dhubh a' Bhealach and head North Easterly slowly ascending in deteriorating conditions to the summit of Ben Oss. Munro number three of the day. By now all ground above 800 metres is a whiteout so I take a compass bearing and head off down to the Bealach Buidhe. From here I can see loch Oss and the Connonish Valley. I decide not to go up Beinn Dubhchraig having done it before and instead head down to Coire Buidhe and head straight from here to the Connonish Valley track.

I finally reach the track and continue on the long walk out back to the train station. After several stops to give the legs and feet a quick break I finally reach the train station. Another quality mountain day in the bag.

Munros: 3.
Time: 7 Hours and 45 minutes.
Distance: 23.03 Km.
Height Gain: 1,600 metres.
Route profile...