Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cannich camping - midges, eagles and bagging and lots of running

The camping meet last weekend wittled it's way down to just 3 of us, after a number of last minute  withdrawls.

Friday night saw Mark, Judith and Lind head over to the Cannich campsite via a stop at the excellent Fochabers chipper.  We were greeted in Cannich by the local midges as we put the tents up.

Saturday saw us head up to the Mullardoch dam where even more midges attacked us.  Mark and Judith headed up the 2 munros at the east end of the loch, while Linda ran off along the loch shore for a slightly longer and faster round.  Although cloudy the tops were clear and great views were had in all directions.

                                                    Judith heading up Sgurr na Lapaich

                              On the way up Lapaich we met Linda heading the opposite way

Judith exiting from the ridge near to the top of Sgurr na Lapaich - she looks like she is enjoying approaching her second tick of the day.  The first 2 this year!

                                                                  And finally the top

Linda ran off to do the top of Creag Dubh on the way down and still beat us to the car, but failed to get a close up view of a Golden Eagle which we did on the way down.  However that may have something to do with looking at her feet all day.  Due to the cloud and lack of wind the midges were more annoying than ever.  Has no one told them that by the end of September they aren't meant to annoy us!!

The evening saw a convivial communal meal (for the 3 of us) in Mark and Judith's new large tent, safely protected from the midges (is this becoming a theme...)

Sunday dawned much sunnier that Saturday and we had a reasonably early start to Srathfarrar.  We dropped Linda at the east end of the Munro ridge with instructions to do the 4 hills, while Judith and I took the car to the west end and ascended to western munro Sgurr Flhuar-thuil in very slow fashion.  We were, however, suprised to meet Linda before we had even ascended this one.  Assuming we were very slow and her very quick it soon transpired that she had only done 2 munros and having not looked at the map didn't know which hills were munros.  So we send her off to do it properly, this time a west to east traverse. How she got round 119km in France without getting lost is anyones guess.

                        UTMB veteran Linda Smith training for her next venture - the OMM

                          The 3 of us enjoying the sunshine on top of Sgurr Flhuar-thuill

And yes Linda, Judith and I saw an eagle for the second day running on the way down.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Torridon Meet

A few photos of the damp Torridon meet a few weeks ago. From the Saturday we have a round of Beinn Alligin by most of the meet, and a trip to the south of the glen by Ann & John. On Sunday a few folks headed up into the corrie of Beinn Eighe in search of the Triple Buttress.
The venue, Mol Mor
Up Alligin
Across to the Horns
Towards Maol Ceann Dearg
Up Sgurr Ruadh

Getting wetter on the way up Bienn Liath Mor

The sun finally broke through later on and the cloud almost cleared Liathach


Sunday dawned dry but...

No Triple Buttress, just a wet quartet

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dolomighty Summer Trip!

In a desperate attempt to escape from the Scottish Weather an intrepid pair of club members recently headed over to the Italian Dolomites for a bit of sunny alpine rock.  With 2 weeks to play, we decided to split our trip into 2 areas, Val de Fassa and Cortina.

Week 1 in Val de Fassa, famous for the incredible looking Sella Towers.  Was a great sunny week - the downside of which was no opportunity for rest days!

Sassalungo Group emerges from the cloud

Each day was another route - the only setback being getting stuck behind a really slow group climbing Via Steger on the Sella towers and deciding to bail when we couldn't get past them safely.  Still - good abseiling practice!

The rest of our days out dodged the hyper-busy towers, with ascents of Rossi and Rampa del Torso on Piz Ciavazes

Descent Ledge on Piz
Dave Descending after "Rossi"

 After a few days of face climbing we were lured into a Chimney Line Camino Pederiva on Sas Pordoi, Which entailed some very classic chimney squirming, bridging, back-and-footing and resulted in a crash course in Scottish cursing for the Italian couple sharing in the route with us!  Topping out to watch the last cable car disappear however was less satisfying, and the scree bash back down to the base station even less so!

Camino Pederiva is the corner/Chimney line centre pic and to right of the deep gully

Different Dolomites View

After a frantic few days of climbing in the sun, we decided to have a "rest" day and go for a via ferrata ridge walk and chose Bepi Zac - a ridge full of Italian and Austrian WW1 fortifications and look-outs.  Can only imagine how miserable it would have been in winter back then for the troops stationed there!

WW1 Frontier

12 man bivouac Carved into the ridge.

Lookout post with a view - tunnelled into the ridgeline
A hollowed out tower used as a lookout position
Nice refuge on the descent for coffee - and cheaper than in the valley!!

Then came our shift over to Cortina, Dave's mighty Aygo doing sterling work getting us and our tons of gear over the various passes!

Once we were relocated, and met up with Lars, a friend of Dave's joining us from Germany, we struck out for the South Face of Lagazuoi Piccolo, and a combo of Via del bucco bassa and Alta Variants.

Unfortunately we were too slick (?!?!?!!?) and ended up catching with several other teams at a shared belay. Luckily a huge ledge where we could construct our own belay and have lunch while the log jam cleared.  Afterwards, an amusing descent down very easy via ferrata with a few more WW1 caves to explore.

Fortunately for our knees, the weather then took a turn for the worse, with unsettled conditions and afternoon storms closed in.  this forced us to take a day off as the mountain spirits tried to drown us in the campsite (fortunately we were well fortified by certain Scottish Spirits!), and then limit ourselves to shorter routes snatched before the weather moved in. 

A trip to Cinque Torri, followed by another to Monte Popena Basso above Misurina where we climbed Diedro Mazzorana above nicely occupied us with some cracking climbing and views.

Belay View from of Misurina

An ascent of the Excellent Col dei Bos Via ferrata was also a cracking day out

Dave and Lars on the Via Ferrata

We were rewarded by a cracking view of the Tofana too

Tofana trying to escape the clouds

Unfortunately I'd managed to anger the Scottish weather gods by consuming Grappa rather than Whisky the night before, so our descent was in rather too familiar conditions :O(

Dave and Lars are in there somewhere.....

Forecast for the final day was dry and clear so we went to bed with high hopes for another big mountain route, however though the day dawned clear and still, it had also become cold enough for snow to fall down to about 1700m!! 

A brief inspection of the bigger faces revealed verglass and frost on the rock and snow on the ledges - prompting another retreat to Cinque Torri!  A few easier routes climbed there, some good abseiling experience for Lars and a final beer at the refuge brought the holiday to a close.
Approaching Cinque Torri - Torre Grande

A grand trip, with loads climbed, drunk and eaten!

Final Beers on our last day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sunshine Supernova

At last, after months of endurance-testing slogs in the cold and rain, last Sunday was a warm(ish) sunny day when it was actually pleasant to sit out on the tops and take in the views. A few snaps of an outing from Ivercauld, up the Stuic Buttress, over Lochnagar and down by Prince Albert's Cairn ( and a very near miss with an adder).
Stuic Buttress from the approach

The steep bit

Topping out, Lochnagar behind

Looking back from Lochnagar

Fine panorama over the Dee to Beinn a Bhuird & Ben Avon