Information and photos of my mountaineering trips in Scotland,England and Wales:
Including hillwalking,scrambling and easy rock climbing.Also via ferrata, skiing and alpine trips in Europe.

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Sunday, 27 April 2008

Fiacaill Ridge, Goat Track and Unknown gully - Cairngorms, 28th April 2008

Myself and Mark went up to the Cairngorms today, parking at the ski centre, and heading off SW, towards Coire an t' Sneachta and the Fiacaill Ridge.

Mark on his way up to the ridge, with Loch Morlich in the background (ski centre hidden from view to the right).

Our first view of Coire an t' Sneachta , still with plenty of snow in the gullies. The ridge is fairly straightforward at grade 1, although fully iced and in foul weather conditions it would be a different route altogether. We took the rope just in case, but apart from practising moving together and using natural belays etc , it wasn't needed. If you look closely at the snow gully , you'll see old footprints from a previous climb! (not us though!). The remainder of the ridge is more great, grade 1 scrambling, taking any line you want and is it was largely free of snow and ice proved fairly easy. Looking across into the coire with our line of descent, The Goat Track tucked away in the bottom right hand corner. At the top of Cairn Lochan, 1215m, we had some lunch, then prepared for take off at the top of The Goat Track.

Looking back up The Goat Track at our bumslide tracks.

However, we were beaten to the bottom by a lone skier, who then took of his skis and proceeded to climb back up again!

Mark on his way up a yet to be identified gully. The view across the plateau, with ski tourers and their tracks just visible in the middle distance. Still some big cornices waiting to collapse over the steeper crags of the coire. Mark pretending to navigate! Cairn Toul, 1291m and Sgor an Lochan Uaine, 1285m, as seen from across the plateau.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Tarmachan Ridge, 13th April 2008

Bill and myself went up to Killin today and did the Tarmachan Ridge. Grade 1 all the way, and to avoid the walk either in or out, depending which direction you do it, we just went to the end and reversed it. Bill on the narrow (ish?) section of the ridge. Unless there were severely high winds, you would have to throw yourself off, or trip on a crampon! Looking back across to Ben Lawers. We took a rope and some gear in the hope of finding a suitable gully to use it in, but as we stayed mostly on the ridge we never needed to use it. However there were lots of banked out sections that could be used to kicking steps etc.

Possibly a little camera trickery here. Bill on the vertical section!!! Ahem. Making a comfy spot for lunch!

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Ben Nevis (Douglas Gap), 6th April 2008

Our next trip took us back to the Ben where we decided on a choice of either North or South Castle Gullies, No3, No4 or the Douglas Gap. Myself and Mark spent the previous day doing some "challenging" skiing on Aonach Mor, before meeting the rest of the guys at the North Face car park early sunday morning. After heavy snow the Ben was covered and plans were hastily discussed as to what would be do-able.

Once we got up into Coire na Ciste, we watched other climbers to see how they were getting on up in No 3 gully. As it turned out they seemed to be almost thigh deep in fresh snow, and although we did see climbers going up, and down No3 and No4, we decided we didn't have the experience to do that - yet! Gordon, Willy and myself above the CIC hut.

After some thought, we decided to go for the Douglas Gap, which lies between the Douglas Boulder (a VERY big boulder, more of a mountain) and the rest of Tower Ridge.Again at grade 1, we used this as practice for belays etc.

Willy led up the fairly straightforward gully, which had good views back into Coire na Ciste. Once at the top there was a sort of snow platform a few feet wide, from which the snow fell away again down the other side. Willy found a great "spike" of rock from which to abseil off (hidden by Gordon), which we practiced in 25m pitches. Willy setting up for the next abseil. Once we were out of the gully we descended over more mixed ground, so we tried abseiling down over icey rock which seemed to go ok. Then it was ropes away and the steady plod back past the hut and down to the cars.