Sunday, 26 August 2012

26th August 2012 - A catch up and an adventure on Curved Ridge

Setting up an Abseil with Will

Will learning how to Abseil

Me leading the Gutter, Will seconding

Approaching the top of the first pitch

Will setting off on Pitch 2

Will on the 'crux' of pitch 2

Anna setting up her anchor on Pitch 2

Approaching Curved Ridge

Will with Rannoch Moor as a backdrop

Its a long way down!

A well earned paddle after a rapid descent!
Will Abseiling off the Gutter

So it has been a while since I have updated the blog - I have been really busy with one thing or another, but I have certainly not been neglegting the Great Outdoors! I have been doing quite a lot of freelancing with the Ice Factor, leading ice and rock sessions over July and August. With our new bikes we have been doing a lot of biking too - living so close to the Nevis Range allows us to hit the trails after work and we have been enjoying getting better at bashing down the technical trails, but the ups never seem to get any easier! We have also had a chance to explore the amazing trails at Laggan Wolftrax (Upper & Lower Reds) and Anna took a trip to the 7 Stanes, which I discovered are only an hour from my parents house - result!

Anyway, this week Anna's family have been up staying with us, its been really nice having them to stay. We have also treated them to some local adventures. On Friday evening I took her younger brother, Will, to do the World Champs Red route which we beasted down in the rain. He is pretty fit and negotiated the obstacles with the kind of bravado only a youngster could have! Really enjoyable though, we both got home pretty psyched for more!

On Saturday we took them all down to Poll Dubh where I set up a cheeky top rope on the Upper Pinnacle crag (?) and gave them a shot at climbing the easy crack line. They also got a shot at abseiling, which they all seemed to enjoy. We then moved up to the Gutter, which I led Will up. We did the first 2 pitches before abseiling off of the big tree which was a great experience for Will and no doubt one of his highlights of the holiday. It was also good practice as I wanted to give him some experience before we headed up Curved Ridge the next day. Anna then led the Gutter and her Dad seconded up. She led all three pitches very well and Julian did well to get all the way up!

On Sunday it was Annas birthday, so she led her folks up Buachaille Etive Beag, while Will and I took a swift jaunt up Curved Ridge. We roped up the whole route and I pitched one or two sections just to safeguard Will, but also to make him realise that there is no point in taking unneccessary risks - it can be just as fun being safe. Unlike others on the ridge, we helmetted up from an early stage and were relieved to have done so as we walked up and through some recent rock fall debris. Will was well psyched being on such an exposed ridge, the first time he has done a mountaineering route of this caliber. For me it was great being out with a novice in a stunning location, in almost perfect conditions. There were teams on Agag's Groove, January Jigsaw and another route that I am unaware of. All good stuff!

The original plan was to summit the Crowberry Tower and ab off into the Gap, before ascending Stob Dearg - but we didn't want to leave the rest of the family waiting as they were heading to Lancaster that afternoon, so we skipped the Tower and made a quick ascent to the summit and a lightening fast descent back to the car, getting there just after 4pm, 4 hours after leaving the car. The others, of course, kept us waiting at the Kingshouse Hotel for almost 90 minutes before they rocked up! A cracking day had by all!

The weather has taken a turn for the worse, and I am at a wedding this weekend, but hoping to get out again soon. I hope for some dry rock to get out on soon before winter marches in!