Category: climbing

Morning Mountaineering

I have midweek days off – which most people don’t, including my winter partner.  But we’ve found a solution – just go out for the morning.

It totally feels like a gift getting up a hill or a route and being back at work in time for the afternoon shift at 2pm.  So far we’ve been to the Cairngorms and Sgorr Rudah. Admittedly this probably only works if you live in Inverness – but then why wouldn’t you?



Before, originally uploaded by lenoclimb.

I fell off. Just after this photo.

First time. Right of Passage.

First day of the Holiday.

Gear Held, but ended up just off the deck, hitting as few things on way down.  Not 100%, but think my foothold gave way.

Not to bad, but hand took the brunt. No climbing for a few days, then light duties only.


Skye tomorrow. Will pick you up at 7.30am.

7.30am are you mental? that's a YES by the way!

If you’re going to get up early on your day off, then drive 3 hrs to Skye it could a least be dry? no?  err no.

But if you’re going to drive 3 hours to get to a crag you’re not going to turn round and go home again.  Neist Point. End of the world. Also full of sheep and sight seers.  Rain stopping.  Sun never quite getting out. Rock dry.

I’ve been ill, not life and death, but i wouldn’t give in to it and it kept hanging on – and i was working too much and then it took me – 4 weeks of being low.  4 weeks of wading through sand.  I went climbing – i was shit.  Confidence sinking as low as my health.  Better now though, thank fuck.

Sonamara – the buttress and the climb.  Pete’s lead; nice. Then my go – Baywatch.  Shown as HS 4b in the photo topos and VS 4c in the text. I was hoping it would be more like the easier – obviously I’ll claim the latter.  It was nice.  Then Pete – a quick look at a HVS next to Sonamara – just a quick look, but no. So instead a VS called Jambalaya which was a bit unsatisfactory – but with a nice bit in the middle.

To finish, appropriately – Curtains, for me.  HS – but felt harder than anything else all day.  Fighting for it all the way up.  I so didn’t love that route, but now I can’t stop thinking about it.  Read into that what you will.


Spring in the North

Did I mention I moved to Inverness?  A good choice.  Springs being slow to reach these northern parts and there’s still solid water falling from the sky.  But we have trekked up the Caithness coast and gotten out to Latheronwheel and Sarclet.  And yes there was encounters with solid water both times, but also sun on warm rock .  You can make your own luck. (don’t be fooled there was also cold rock and cold hands)


Latheronwheel, of course, took me a few thoughtful cups of coffee to become less wary of – but then i really warmed to it. Would/will go back for sure to climb more stuff.

Still not sure how i feel about Sarclet; the rock nearly landing on me, the scale, the being ill. Yeah i was a little intimidated. That probably means i’ll be back there too. that’s the stuff that gets under your skin.


Hello Wales!

When my boss told me I was getting an extra (unpaid) day off this week it couldn’t have worked out better, because it co-incided with a trip Mark was planning to Wales.  I knew I’d love Wales, and I did, because it was amazing.

Tuesday dawned damp, but then I’m cumbrian and this summer has taught me patience. So tea was drunk and papers were read, and more tea was drunk, and the sun rose above the yard arm and the sky began to clear.  We’d originally been thinking fast drying quarries, but the lure of the mountains was to strong. Our timing was perfect,  the first party to arrive at the bottom of Idwal Slabs, but not the last. Although the sky was now dry the rock was still in speight, so we opted for easy climbing in our trainers; The Ordinary Route (D). At the top we kept going up and made for the Cneifion Arete.  A few pitches then a scramble to the top with no-one but the goats in sight. I liked the goats. I liked this day, a lot.


Scrambling on the Cniefon Arete (photo by Mark)

Tuesday, and our numbers were swelled by old timers and a newbie. Time for something a little different; slate.  New to most of us, and new enough to the rest.  Highlight of the day; belaying Atsuko on a route, she last climbed when she was 50; 28 years ago.  She didn’t take much convincing to be geared up, and just padded up a route, clearly happy being on rock.


The gang in Australia

Climbing wise I managed to lead 5b, so pretty happy with that.  Also managed to scare the shit out of myself seconding a traverse; down climb on mono, above missing bolt, nothing for it in the end but to commit – eek! The day finished with a walk home in the sun, past some legendary climbs.  Seeing the quarryman groove was pretty cool.


Walking home in the sunshine

Thursday, and just Mark, I, and the sunshine remained. A day of climbing in the pass beckoned. First up some unfinished business on Brant (VS) for Mark, just the first pitch, but still a suitably pumpy warm up.  Next up Phantom Rib (VS), 4 pitchs – with the meat in the first 3.  Mark was after 4c ticks, so that meant P2 was his, and P1 looked steep so that was his too. It was steep; i found it the hardest bit of the route.  P2 was delicate and called for small gear – which was a shame as most of it had been used to build the belay; still, nice climbing. I giggled my way up the awkward, but well protected P3, which i’m quite proud of as i’m a total novice on multipitch VS. We were closely followed up the route by 2 ladies from Dundee, so had a bit of a natter at the top, before an abseil descent.  what a lovely climb, what a great finish to our time in Wales.

On the drive home I kept dropping off , to dreams of climbs and sunny Llanberis; it’ll take a while to come down from this. Thank you guys!