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, 31 May 2009

Langdale, 22-24 July 2009, Saturday Scrambling

After a scorching hot day yesterday, Lorna and I deceided to travel light and avoid the use of ropes. We rather lazily drove along to The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and set off up the Stickle Ghyll path to just after the footbridge. From here, we headed right to the start of the grade 2, Tarn Crag Gill scramble.

Tarn Crag Gill can be seen in the centre of the picture, with the grade 2, East Rib of Tarn Crag high on the left.

The Cicerone guide to scrambles in the Southern Lakes grades the gill as a 2, being reduced to 1 if difficulties are avoided. A couple of the bigger falls were inpassable, so we had to go round, but most could be done on dry-ish rock to the sides.

The scrambling is never to difficult and it's a far more intersting way up to Stickle Tarn.

Lorna, climbing one of the higher falls before the ravine became too mossy and damp to make safe progress, so we exited the gill and headed left to the start of the East Rib of Tarn Crag.

The East Rib seen on profile from the approach from Tarn Crag Gill.

From the top of Tarn Crag, it's a short descent to Stickle Tarn with Pavey Ark towering over it. Today, Pavey Ark was swarming with climbers doing various routes, several of which cross the grade 1 scramble of Jakes Rake, seen rising from right to left across the face of the cliff.

To the left of the tarn is Harrison Stickle with it's grade 1 or 2 scramble up the East Ridge. We had intended to continue over to it, but couldn't be bothered with the approach up the grassy slopes below to the start! So we opted for obligatory visit to the grade 1 Jakes Rake.

Midway up the rake we passed several climbers belaying their leaders up the face. It was quite a sociable journey as we chatted with different climbers about their routes. From the top of Pavey Ark, we walked over to the summit of Harrison Stickle.

The summit gives great views back across the face of Pavey Ark and the climbers on it.

Langdale, 22 - 24 July 2009. Friday - Middlefell Buttress.

Another amazing weekend of May sunshine in The Lake District! Lorna and myself camped at Baysbrown Farm this time as The National Trust campsite at Great Langdale was full (we didn't realise it was an English school holiday). However this campsite is just as good, and although the New and Old Dungeon Ghyll hotels and pubs are a little further away, Wainwrights pub in Chapel Stile, is less than ten minutes walk via a path that avoids the road.
As we arrived (on Thursday ), the view down the valley to Pavey Ark and Harrison Stickle on it's left was quite atmospheric with low cloud hanging over Stickle Tarn (out of view).

On friday we walked along the valley to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and then up to Raven Crag and Middlefell Buttress, graded "D" although I couldn't remember the start and faffed around for a bit until we got going! As we approached there were only two other climbers on it.
Lorna climbing Midlefell Buttress.
After a couple of pitches, we decided to do the 40m abseil off the tree that everyone seems to use. There is some abseil tat already there in the form of rope and slings so we made sure that our rope (now doubled as I lugged the other 50m rope up in the heat!) was through all of them!
Lorna abseiling off the tree into Great Gully (I think it's called?).
Me dropping down into the gully, before heading down to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel for a pint!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Cairngorm weekend, 24th-25th May. Day one, Loch Avon via Carn Etchachan.

Day one of our visit to the Cairngorms, and myself, Gordon and Stevie left the Ski Centre car park about 9am and headed for the Fiacaill Coire an t-Sneachda (The Fiacaill Ridge). As we had two days, with a night in the Glenmore Youth Hostel, we intended on making at least one long day as we wouldn't have to make the long drive back to Edinburgh.

Stevie and Gordon at the start of the Fiacaill Ridge with Coire an t-Sneachda on the left (with a touch of snow left in the Fiacaill Couloir), and Coire an Lochain to the right.

From the ridge, we could see what looked like a guided party climbing the last of the snow to the left of the Goat Track.

Not much snow left in the gullies now in Sneachda!

At the end of the ridge we stopped for cuppa and looked across the plateau towards the tops of Shelter Stone Crag and Carn Etchachan, over two and a half kilometres away to the south. These would be our next objectives after crossing the plateau and keeping above the remaining snow that lay high above the Avon Slabs at the head of Loch Avon (pronounced A'an).

After crossing the Feith Buidhe high up above the slabs, we got our first view of Loch Avon with Stag Rocks on the left and Beinn Mheadoin at 1182m on the right.

Our second "river crossing" was over the Garbh UisageBeag which also flows down over the Avon slabs and into Loch Avon. To the left of the picture is Hell's Lum Crag ('Lum' being the Scots word for chimney), which takes it's name from the huge gully into it's left hand side (as attempted by Dave Macleod).

As we walked along the tops of the crags, the views were impressive, especially looking down into Pinnacle Gully with it's distinctive Forefinger Pinnacle rising up near the top. The gully is a grade I winter climb and one for the future I think, eh Stevie?

Me at the top of Castlegates Gully, also a grade I winter climb, with Loch Avon behind.

Gordon and Stevie, trying to out pose me above Castlegates.

After crossing the tops of the crags, we followed the cliff edges to head south to the "top", Carn Etchachan at 1120m. Looking east over it's crags and gullies we could see some remaining snow with interesting but dangerous formations.

Looking down onto Loch Etchachan as we headed for the 1117m spot, and then south east over easier ground to avoid the crags to pick up the descent path from Ben Macdui and the outflow point of the Loch (top left of picture). From there we went north west to drop down to the Shelter Stone at the head of Loch Avon.

On the way down to the head of the Loch, we passed the bottom of Castlegates Gully which marks the left hand edge of the huge Shelter Stone Crag.

From the Shelter Stone area, we made a remarkably easy crossing of the river and turned north east to follow the rising path up to Coire Raibert. On the way we passed the small sandy beach we saw from the top of Shelter Stone Crag to the left of the picture, with Castlegates Gully on it's left and Pinnacle Gully just visible on it's right. To the right of that, is Garbh Uisage Crag and the the Avon Slabs below the snow.

Stevie climbing the steep (but better than the Coire Domhain route?) path up Coire Raibert to gain the plateau once more and the 1141m point, form where our final ascent of the day would take us to Cairn Gorm at 1245m.

As we reached the Cairn Gorm summit, the weather changed giving us no final views for the day, although the sudden movement of the automated "dustbin lid" on the roof of the weather station gave brief entertainment. From here it was down past the ridiculous cairns and over the tourist steps to the Ptarmigan, then follow the main track back to the Ski Centre car park to complete over 16 miles of fantastic walking!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Beinn Heasgarnich, 1078m and Stevie in a hole!

Today myself and Stevie accompanied John on his 230th Munro, Beinn Heasgarnich at 1078m. Not a particularly inspiring mountian, with bugger all to look at as we climbed NW from the old waterboard road in Glen Lochay. The route was wet and muddy for most of the way up to the subsidiary top of Stob an Fhir-bhogha, and from there slightly better ground from the two distinct burns to the small plateau at the top. The only views we got were occasional glimpses of the head of Loch Lyon the the NE! So after a quick lunch, we descended more or less the same way we came up. On the way up, we noticed various patches of snow still remaining, one with a nice but unstable snow bridge. Luckily we found it on the way down, so we set Stevie to work demonstrating the dangers of trusting a snowbridge this late in the season. Full details are in the video below! (make sure you have the sound on too)

Remember kids. don't try this at home!