Sunday, 23 April 2017

Trad day 2 this time at Kingussie

After a grand day yesterday we went to Kingussie Crag to give Sara and Giles an opportunity to build more belays, place more gear and climb more rock! We had a sociable day chatting with the 10 others at the crag and the guys worked their way through Finale, The Block, Little Wall Direct, First Pull (4c moves- nice work guys!) before Giles got the bit between his teeth and led The Slab (first lead is always a big deal). Good steady progress and we'll be out again next weekend!
 Masa and Fiona on Right Hand Crack
 Starting with Finale!
 The Block
 Looking down Little Wall Direct
 A 5 layer day for Sara- brrrr!
 First Pull on her second go, well done Sara.
 Going hands free on the abseil to practice recovering a stuck piece of gear
Giles on the sharp end

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Teaching trad at Polldubh

I met Sara and Giles when i took them up Curved Ridge last year and we got talking about them taking their indoor and sport climbing knowledge and converting to 'proper' ;-) climbing. Today was our first day out and we were at Polldubh which was dry, except for one brief morning shower, but pretty darned chilly! We climbed Pinnacle Ridge, 3 Pines by the 'Bullet' variation and Repton's Right Hand Route. 7 pitches of climbing with 2 big abseils with lots of belay building, gear placement and stance management from the two of them. More tomorrow!
 Morning warm up
 In series on Pinnacle Ridge
 Sara cruising the rockover
 Sara lapping up the friction
 Brining up Giles
 Topping out during a shower
 3 Pines/Bullet
 Top belay
 Looking down from the roof
 Another route in the bag
 Coming down
 Giles on Repton's Right Hand Route
 Sara borrowed my jacket to keep out the cold
Last pitch of the day

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Spring rock, indoor walls, mountaineering + a break

Since my last post there was a weekend at home followed by another 5 days with more Abernethy climbers (sweltering at Kingussie, cool but dry at Duntelchaig, high tides at Cummingston and Redhythe and more grade pushing at Huntley's Cave). After this I had 2 days with a group from West Highland College looking at Rescue and Incident Management and some of the psychology associated with decision making and responses to emergencies (we used on of the ribs join the south side of Meall an t Suidhe and then the Pink Rib of Beinn a Chrulaiste as venues to look at issues). Then I was hiding from the sun with a 2 day CWA training at Perth Climbing Wall and Glasgow Climbing Centre many of the candidates were from the Stirling Spiders Climbing Club. This was followed by a Foundation Coach Training for staff from GCC and Blairvaddach OEC.
Finally its time for a break. We took the camper van to Mull and I introduced the family to the immaculate granite and beaches of Erraid. The kids climbed barefoot and I visited 'New Slabs' to solo 3 Severes and a 4b, we came home via a damp Ardnamurchan- where next....?
(More pics on Facebook: ).
 Spring in the Highlands
 'Taps aff' at Kingussie
 Cooler at Duntelchaig
 High tide at Cummingston
 A careful placement
 Sunshine at Redhythe
 Escaping the Cave at Huntley's
 RIM with the students on the Pink Rib
 Leading at Perth CC
 Warm ups at GCC
 More games
 Peer belaying, permutations, pros and cons
 Foundation Coach Training- a new knot
 FC Trg embracing your inner sumo!
 Twisting on FC Trg
 Sandy 6 feet above the sand escaping the sea
 Kaye climbing barefoot
 A quick solo at 'New Slabs'
Granite goodness, a very short 4b

Sunday, 26 March 2017

50 days in 5 minutes-end of season video

A tough winter season with limited early snow meaning it often felt like winter would never get going. I still managed to have some great days out and some wild ones too!
Many thanks to all who I shared the mountains with and to Steve Holmes and Rob Brown for the video clip and images of me on Goat Track Gully and picture high on Curved Ridge respectively.
Got to say a big well done to everyone passing a Mountain Training/Mountain Training Scotland Award this winter- hard season to get the mileage in and make the best of conditions. Congratulations to the new MICs and WMLs whether I've worked with you or not.

Winter 2016to17 from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Winter up there but rock climbing for me

It was a tough winter. A dry early season followed by later swings and roundabouts of snowfall and thaw meant we never got the build up we usually see that brings a crescendo of good spring conditions. We've had a late flash with a few days of 'good' conditions now but my time on crampons is over and last week I crammed my feet into rock shoes to work with the Trainee Instructors from Abernethy Trust the goal being to make them into independent lead climbers- one of the BEST bits of my job.
Tom and I had 4 students between us and 5 days to play with. The weather was going to be cold but not forecast for too much precipitation. Day 1 we left Fort William and headed east to our base at Nethybridge stopping to climb at Kingussie on the way. It was chilly on the fingers but the wind direction meant that the snow showers blew overhead leaving the rock dry- until the end of the day and we got plenty climbing done. Tuesday and we went to Duntelchaig on a promise. After a bright start though the forecast let us down and we retreated to the climbing wall to look at some movement exercises and indoor leading. Wednesday and we hit the Costa Del Moray and Cummingston. Well layered against a cold breeze we warmed up by scrambling and boulder hopping along the beach before the team got on the sharp end. Day 4 and a new crag to me. Redhythe is only 20 miles from where I grew up but I'd never visited. It didn't disappoint with bright sunshine and shelter from the the breeze, funky rock, interesting gear placements and abseils in give this place an atmosphere- voted crag of the week by all. On the last day the team split with Tom taking his pair back to Cummingston. My team wanted another new day and a different character of climbing so we stayed at Huntley's Cave. The steep in-cut schist and intimidating lines weaving through the overhangs on positive holds were meat and bread to the guys as they ate up 8 pitches from VDiff to HS.
End of the week and despite some mixed weather (well done toughing it out guys) we have 4 climbers all much further on the road to a lifetime of leading. More of the same next week.
...And winter? Well there's always next year.
Here are two shots from each day but lots more of the best pics (with captions) on Facebook: