Sunday, 29 July 2012

Podium Place!

I haven't climbed outside much over the last couple of weeks due to the crap weather but i have been out helping with real rock sessions at Aberdour and Glen Clova. These sessions have been great and have defo helped quicken up my set-ups. SPA assessment soon! 

On Saturday the British Youth Open was held at Ratho and seeing as it was close to home, and the weather stopped me from doing some real climbing :P, i thought i'd give it a go. In the morning i signed in and caught a glimpse of who i was up against. I thought for sure i'd come last! Mountain routes don't really give you the endurance needed for comps and Ratho's new comp wall is certainly not my favorite angle! Luckily i only had one route on this wall which was my first qualifier. Watching the Youth A girls and the first two in my category fail on the last move didn't fill me with confidence. I made it up to the last move and jumped! (i am ashamed of such dynamic movement). I touched the last hold and was pretty happy with that seeing as only one girl topped out.

First qualifier

 Our second route was more my style, a crimp fest on the old comp wall. I made it up to the crux where most people fell off and managed to match the crux sloper before falling off. This is mainly due to the fact that my thumb found it's way into the bolt hole :).

Second qualifier

 Anyway i came fourth and made it into the final. Isolation was spent juggling - best warm up! I was out first and was on yet another techy old comp wall route :). I found it relatively easy up to the crux which was a desperate rockover move. Quite a long lock but i managed to get the next hold(just) . Here i realised i couldn't clip and so i pulled up to the next hold which i was also too weak to clip from! I slapped for the next hold and missed but was happy at getting so far up the route.

Final route!

I got to the one under the big roond one!

 In the end i came third and won a "nutbuster" (nutkey!) and a wee bronze medal. Well chuffed :D

turd place

was thinking of stealing the sign ;)

what a clown!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Last weekend i managed to climb a couple of classic mountain routes with a good friend Glen Dickson. Glen is relatively new to trad and these were his first mountain routes, and good ones at that! We headed up to Applecross early on Friday morning and decided to do the route with the longer walk-in first as  i had a long drive back on Saturday. Our first route was the absolute classic, Cioch Nose - Severe(4 stars). It turned into a bit of an epic just getting to the route, starting with the road to the car park which was so steep i thought we were going to roll back down! However, my wee car struggled up and we got some awesome views over the Skye and Raasay.

After some photaes, we headed into the climb. Now to say that the guidebook was not very descriptive is a bit of an understatement(or maybe it was our bad nav skills) but it took us ages to find the crag. Relieved that we had finally made it we began looking for our chosen route. This was difficult as there was only a narrow ledge running along the base of the crag and so looking up was hard without falling off! After looking for a while, we eventually spotted 'CN' and an arrow pointing upwards etched into the rock. Although this should not be done at crags, it definitely helped us! We alternated the pitches and climbed the route without any hiccups.

amazing views from the belay

tut tut (but thanks!)

gun show!

making it look hard

final big pitch

The fun really began when we reached the top! It was really our fault for not reading the guidebook properly but we assumed that we could walk back to the car after topping out. This was not the case, in fact we had to scramble(pretty tricky) for miles and mile!( slight exaggeration). Although the ridge is probably a very enjoyable scramble, it was unexpected and quite tiring with heavy rucksacks. We eventually made it back to our tents where i enjoyed a pot noodle with wee loch beasties floating in it, yummy.

We had planned to get up early but it rained all night so we were in no rush to get climbing. We packed up our stuff and headed 5 minuts back down the road to climb Sword of Gideon - VS 4c(3 stars). This is a four pitch route with a 5 minute walk-in! That's unheard of in Scotland.

South face of Sgurr a'Chaorachain

 The rock was a little damp and we decided to miss out the first pitch as it looked pretty wet. We traversed under the second crux pitch and Glen headed up putting in an amazing effort past the tricky crux and the airy traverse to the belay! He did a good job of managing the ropes on the little ledge but the donut dropped his belay device! Luckily it landed on a ledge on the first pitch and i scrambled down to get it. Finally i seconded up the second pitch and lead the third up to a ledge with spectacular views! 

The last pitch was a fairly easy scramble and fortunately the this route had an easy descent!

Back at the car, we headed towards Skye where i was dropping Glen off to catch his ferry the Raasay. We stopped for some food and a game of pool (obviously i won) on the way and then i said goodbye and began my long drive home. A good weekend with classic routes and dry(ish) weather!

Coolest car ever!

Some more photos...

Dribbling with excitement!

pitch one on Cioch nose

a wee snack

we made it up the road!

first pitch

absolute trek in :P



exposure on pitch 3

last pitch

thanks glen...

trying to push boulder off