Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Club hosts virtual slideshows during coronavirus pandemic

Due to the ongoing global pandemic, social distancing measures and requirement for the public to stay at home Aberdeen Mountaineering Club has been hosting weekly virtual slideshows using video conferencing software to keep members enthused and connected in place of the weekly pub meet. 

Club members have been presenting beautiful photographs of expeditions and holidays from recent and past trips. 

So far we've heard from Donald on his time spent in the Antarctic, from Mark Cadman on his trip to climb Aconcagua, from John & Ann on their recent trip to Costa Rica and climbing Mount Chirripo, from Liz on her and Carl's trip to Svalbard and Duncan on his 3 trips to New Zealand.  There are more slideshows scheduled in the coming weeks and this is expected to continue while social distancing measures are in place.

Of course all club walking and climbing activities are on hold now and club meets suspended until further notice.   

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Banks of the River Dee Litter Pick

Scuz organised a litter pick along the banks of the Dee on Sunday 1st March with 8 members of Aberdeen Mountaineering Club plus two members of the public joining in.  Using equipment generously supplied by Aberdeen City Council, the team spent over 3 hours collecting a vast amount of litter and debris from the riverside.   

The banks of the River Dee
Judith demonstrating the litter picking equipment
Moragh with a broken brolly

Scuz with a weighty haul

The pile of rubbish at the end of the litter pick
Thank you to all the volunteers and to Aberdeen City Council / Clean Up Aberdeen for providing the equipment and uplift of the rubbish. 

To find out more about Clean Up Aberdeen visit the website here.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

AMC Norway Ice Climbing Trip 2020

After a very slow start to the Scottish Winter it finally arrived just in time for a group of AMC members to travel to Norway in search of ice to climb.  Roddy, Derek, Mark C & Simon flew from Aberdeen to Oslo then drove 2.5 hours West to reach renowned ice-climbing destination Rjukan. 

Roddy, Mark & Derek at the airport
Mark with a friendly polar bear at Oslo airport
A typical Norwegian accommodation, home for 5 days
Similar to the UK, Norway had sadly suffered from a warmer than usual winter season with many of the usual climbing areas lacking in ice. 

The first day of climbing was at Krokan a short distance away.  Despite the lack of ice further down the valley the group found many routes in reasonable condition.

Mark setting off
Mark climbing
Light falling
After a wet day the warmth of the hut was useful for drying clothing and equipment. 

Drying time in the accommodation
Returning to Krokan the following day, Jomfrau (WI4) was found to be a bit hollow with a large crack running across the top of the waterfall.  This was rather disconcerting so the team climbed an adjacent route (Fyrstikka WI5) and put a top rope in to allow the route to be climbed safely. 

Derek climbing
Popular climbing venue Krokan drawing the crowds
On day 3 the weather improved so the group decided to try a new area, Kong Vinter, 45 minutes drive from their base.  This was a great area with plenty of multi-pitch options that had seen very little traffic. 

Kong Vinter, Derek abseiling 60m

Mark at pitch 2 stance
All 4 chose to climb Kong Vinter WI4 which felt tough for its grade as the ice was fresh and brittle. 

The final day of climbing was back to the Kong Vinter area to climb a variety of single pitch routes, with an early finish to ensure plenty of time to dry out equipment and drink a final beer before the journey home the following day.

Mark, Simon & Derek
With points sharpened the team returned to Scotland in time for the arrival of winter conditions.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Glencoe Winter Meet

Despite a (very) poor forecast, club members headed to Blackrock Cottage for the February meet. Avoiding much water on the roads, five arrived at this comfortable hut in good time on Friday and soon settled around a roaring fire to discuss the wet weather options.
Blackrock Cottage (photo credit - Helen)
With strong winds evident, there was litle incentive for an early start on Saturday. The collective decision was for a low-level walk from Kinlochleven and a trip to the Ice Factor. This proved to be an appropriate choice with some shelter in the trees on the path up to Blackwater Dam and fine views of the raging River Leven.
 
 
River Leven videos (credit - Donald)

Between the hail showers, there were some good view.
Above River Leven (photo credit - Ewan)
Stopping for a bite to eat at the Dubh Lochan, in sight of the dam, Helen, Hazel and Donald decided to turn around. Mark M and Ewan continued to see vast quantities of water pouring over the dam.

Blackwater Dam (photo credit - Ewan)

Dam video (photo credit - Ewan)

All stopped at the Ice Factor cafe for coffee and cake. Bob arrived at the hut soon after us and Robert M not long after. We soon had the hut cosy while preparations were made for the usual evening feast.

On Sunday, with an improving forecast, another leisurely start was in order. Bob, Hazel, Mark, Robert, Ewan and Helen walked along the Lairig Gartain which runs to the west of Buachaille Etive Mor before heading up to bag Stob na Broige.  Full winter conditions were experienced with some older hardened snow topped with plenty of fresh windblown powder, powerful Westerly winds and whiteout conditions in the snow flurries.     

Before the ascent begins (L-R Hazel, Helen, Mark, Ewan & Robert) (photo credit - Bob)

Hazel & Helen ascending the Coire (photo credit - Bob)
The approach ascent up into Coire Altruim was reasonably sheltered from the strong winds and snow showers which were felt in full force once on the summit ridge. 

The team stopping for a short break (photo credit - Bob)
Bracing for the wind and sharp spindrift at times, the team made the summit and returned by the same route. 
At the summit with enough of a break in the wind to take a quick photo (photo credit - Bob)

Making progress down from the summit (photo credit - Hazel)
Continuing the descent (photo credit - Bob)
The route involved a few burn crossings to add to the adventure (photo credit - Bob)
Looking back at our objective along the Lairig Gartain, between Buchaille Etive Mor and Beag, the sun finally making an appearance (photo credit - Bob)
The forecast was accurate and as we were leaving, the clouds lifted.
View from the Cottage on departure (photo credit - Donald)

Thanks to the LSCC for the use of an excellect hut.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Burns Night at Muir Cottage, Inverey, Braemar (17-18th January)


We had an excellent turn out for the first club trip of 2020 to Muir Cottage near Inverey, Braemar, with a fine weather forecast for the weekend.  Muir Cottage, owned by The Cairngorm Club, is a superb hut with 18 beds (plus a few extra for Cairngorm Club members), an ample common room and kitchen, drying room and washroom facilities. 

On Saturday morning a group of six set off early for a cycle 8km south along Glen Ey as far as Altanour Lodge with the objective of climbing Beinn Iutharn Mhor.  The track had a dusting of snow and icy puddles to negotiate but the group made steady progress along the glen before ditching the bikes for later.

Having a pit stop before the steep climb up Beinn Iutharn Mhor 
Heading up the steep Eastern slopes of Beinn Iutharn Mhor
Hazel & John on the summit approach
Some firm neve and ice patches made for slower progress, but the group gradually reached the summit plateau.  Winds reached 25-35mph bringing temperatures of around -12°C with wind chill making the extra layers necessary. 

Helene & Helen smiling on their way up the steep section

Summit success for the team (L to R Peter, John, Helen, Ann & Helene)

Time for a selfie (L to R Peter, Hazel, Helen, John, Ann & Helene)
Keen to make good time back to the cottage the team retraced steps back to the bikes, being careful to negotiate some of the trickier patches, and made their way back to the Muir, somewhat slowed on the bikes by the headwind (and not as hoped by gravity). 

Back at the bikes
Meanwhile Roddy set off for Glen Callater to tackle a 795m summit North of Creag Phadruig.  He cycled in a short distance along Callater Burn before heading off on foot to the summit.  His solitude meant he could practice the lines for his recital (more on that later).  Simon climbed Sgor Mor from the Linn of Dee and Donald cycled en route at Ballater. 

Judith, Mark and Rae climbed Morrone from the track by the Corriemulzie Burn and onto the cold and windy tops.  Due to the windy and cold weather no photos were taken but, by all accounts, the group had an enjoyable day.  They then spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying cake and coffee at The Bothy in Braemar ahead of our tour of the Braemar Mountain Rescue Centre. 

Later that afternoon we all regrouped in Braemar to have a tour of the Braemar Mountain Rescue Centre, kindly arranged by Derek Edge, one of our members who is also a BMRT member.

What’s in your rucksack Derek?  It’s mega heavy!

Mountain Rescue is no laughing matter, but we thoroughly enjoyed our tour, a real eye-opener to the challenges the team face
We were able to visit the team store room and feel for ourselves the weight of the technical rescue kit that the team must carry on top of their own personal rucksacks. It’s clear to see the iron strength and fitness the team need to provide the excellent service we hope to never need ourselves.   

Derek showing us one of the BMRT Landrover Defenders
That evening we were treated to a Burns Supper feast (thanks to the chefs), the highlight of which was Roddy’s address to the haggis and later recital of Tam O’ Shanter.  Fine food, wine, whisky and good company all made for a fantastic evening. 

Roddy’s address to the haggis

‘And in an instant all was dark’ (Tam O’ Shanter, Robert Burns).  Roddy reciting the poem with drama the point where the lights go out, the music and dancing stops and Tam flees. 
The following morning a group set off for a clockwise loop of Beinn a’ Bhuird before dawn to make the most of the short daylight hours.  The team were a bit shocked by the new track up Glen Quioch which is wide and steep in places and far from the river, but they had an excellent day with very clear skies. 

Simon, Ed & Scuz heading up the track

Simon, Scuz & Ed on the snowy slopes
Leaving the hut at a more sociable hour, another team set off for a climb up Carn Liath from Inverey, enjoying lighter winds and warmer temperatures than the previous day. 

The landrover track had filled in with snow and ice

At the summit of Carn Liath (L to R, Jane, Peter, Helen, Hazel, Bob & Roddy)

Heading down towards the river Dee
Excellent views were had North over the Cairngorms, across to Braeriach and Ben Macdui, over to Ben Avon and beyond.

A sheltered picnic spot
Donald, Ann & John opted for a cycle to Linn of Quoich and Keiloch with a stop at The Bothy on their return to the Muir before heading back to Aberdeen. 

Another fantastic weekend with the Aberdeen Mountaineering Club and a great start to the 2020 club programme. 







Monday, January 13, 2020

A walk up Morven, Ballater (12th Jan)


On Sunday 12th January a group of 8 AMC members took advantage of a favourable forecast and walked up Morven from Tullich cemetery, taking this more interesting but less travelled route up the popular Corbett.  The track wends its way up through beautiful forest before emerging at the foot of Morven.  

A rough and spongy ascent up to 872m follows giving superb views over the neighbouring Aberdeenshire hills and glens. 

The group stopping for a snack at the foot of Morven with cloud shrouding the summit
Picnicing (again) at the top of the steep ascent, homemade granola bar was a welcome treat (thanks Helen)
(Mark, Derek, Helen, Chris, Morna, Andrew & Judith)


30mph winds and sub-zero temperatures had us layering up on the top with a 'feels-like' temperature of -10°C.  

A wintery summit approach
At the summit cairn (Morna, Judith, Mark & Hazel)
The group at the summit

Our route

The return was by retracing our steps back to the car.

Thanks to Morna for suggesting and organising the walk, it was great to see some new members joining the group too.