Back to Scotland

Top: View of Hells Lum
from Carn Etchachan.

Bottom:Euan at the belay
of the second pitch

Yesterday Euan and I went over to Carn Etchachan to do this route that we saw when we did the Guillotine. It was a good looking line called Nathrach Dubh, consisting of technical cracks and corners going at VI/6. It was amazing weather and the climbing was awesome. It was good to get out in the mountains again and I’m psyched to get out again soon.

Very Tired

It was my last day of climbing today but when I woke up I felt like id slept in a tumble drier. I was quite tired from the work out on Fission yesterday so we decided to go into the upper gorge and do the super classic Trappfoss WI4. It was a good route with just enough steep ground to make it interesting and we where finished by lunch time which is always a bonus. On our way home we called into the ”Climb Inn” accommodation to see what it was like. It was a really good looking place with very friendly and down to earth owners, definitely a place I would use in the future and recommend to others. All together it has been an awesome week with some very memorable climbing. So I’m just looking forward to getting back to Scotland for some more crazy mixed routes.

Its no fun unless you’re upside down

After a well needed rest day yesterday Ken and I headed back over to the Kroken area. I had had my eye on the M10 called Fission since I had done the M6 left of it 2 years ago. I looked over the moves from the ground and decided to give it a go. I got to the crux on my onsight attempt but I didn’t want to push on and wast all my energy for the rest of the day, so I came down and had a rest. On my second attempt I got up to the crux again and decided to go from clip to clip to look over the moves and go for the red point once I had a rough idea what to do. Just under two hours later I decided to go for my first redpiont attempt and much to my surprise I flew through the crux and got to the good rest. Knowing that I didn’t have enough energy in me to do the crux again, I decided to give it my all and after some very pumpy moves I was at the last hold. But the route wasn’t over until I clipped the chain which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. My arms where totally pumped out and it took me about four times of pulling up and fumbling the clip until I eventually got it. After thinking this morning that I was to tired to even climb today, I surprisingly walked away from the crag after ticking one of my hardest routes and what is even more surprising was that I got it on my first redpoint. Not too bad for a 17 year old, if I do say so myself.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait!!

After three trips to the Rjukan area in Norway I finally got the route I have had my eye on ever since I saw a picture of it in the Petzl catalogue.  Three months of winter climbing in Scotland and mega training sessions on the wall in my garage lead up to today, and I can safely say that they all paid off, because today Ken Lacey and My self climbed the fantastic WI7 called Lipton. It was a remarkable route with some of the best climbing I have ever come across and in the most impressive position. Ken lead the first pitch which was a detached ice pillar leading to some very steep and technical ice, he cruised up this with very little fuss. I then went on to lead the second pitch (crux) whitch was home to some very thin icicles and very powerful moves to get from pillar to pillar. Even though the moves where tenuous and there was a 100ft of free air hanging below my feet, the pitch was not too bad and we where soon thinking that we might actually get to the top of this amazing route. Once I had brought Ken up to the belay I then went on to lead the third and final pitch. It was a steep fan with some very unpredictable ice making it hard to find good screw protection, but I battled on and finally got to the last easing moves of this monster of a route. It was dark by the time Ken had reached the top and we set about climbing the easier ground out of the gorge. With a very relaxed walk back to the car we both looked forward to a longer lie in bed tomorrow morning. And chatted about wot to do next……

Norway Day One (relaxation)


Bottom: Kenny Leading WI4

After a long day yesterday, when we got diverted to another airport on our way to Norway (torp) and then bused around for three hours we finaly arrived at our accom at 1:30am this morning. We woke at 7:30am and oppted for an easier day to get used to the steep ice before getting stuck into our projects for the trip. So we headed to Krokan and got stuck into some technical mixed moves. Then we moved on to some ice routes to get our head in gear for tomorow, which we are planning to get on the infamous Lipton. So you’ll have to wait and see how we get on. 

The Messanger

Top: Me swinging roung the imposinf roof on the first pitch

Bottom: Euan starting the second pitch

Wanting a shorter day after the heading to Carn Etchachan yesterday Euan and I decided to head into Sneachda for some mixed action on The Mess of Pottage buttress. We did the Messanger which had a tricky technical first pitch (crux) and a steady but enjoyable second pitch. I lead the first pitch which had some helpfull ice/verglass on the slabby left wall and involved some torquing madness in the cracks on the right. The second pitch consisted of a steep corner with some good hooks and frozen turf to get stuck into on the ledges. It was quite windy and snowy so we made a quick accent and then headed back to Aviemore for a coffee. A good way to end an enjoyable two days climbing.

The Guillotine

Left: Euan walking down to Loch Avon Basin

Below: The amazing Guillatine chimney

Left: Euan Leading the top pitch by torch light

Psyched for a day over in Carn Etchachan, Yesterday Euan and I had an early start from Edinburgh hoping to get to the Cairngorm car park for 8am, but as we pulled up to the base of the mountain road we found that the snow gate was shut. An hour passed and still the man at the gate said it was going to be a while before they let us through. So it was back to Aviemore for coffee and food (the best way to start a day). We gave it another hour and headed back to the direction of the mountain, but still the gate was shut. Giving up on the idea of heading over to Carn Etchachan because of the time we sat in the car looking at the guide for what we would do in Sneachda and just have a short day. The gate finaly opened and we headed up the road. Leaving the car park at 10:25 we headed to Sneachda with the hoards of people looking to bag another tick in the Noires, but when we arrived at the base of the coire the weather was good and we where both psyched for a long day so we just kept walking and arived at our original intended route on Etchachan at 12:35. We climbed The Guillotine which was a spectacular and very memorable route with some weird and different climbing. Making our way up the route when it came to leading the last pitch (crux) it was dark, and we finnished off with the glow of our head torches lighting up the hidden holds from the shadows of the chimney. We walked off under a star-lit sky and we where so pleased we’d made the effort to walk over the back to the more remote crags.

Point Five

Above: James leading the
narrow second pitch

Below: Me leading the hollow pillar
on the third pitch

Yesterday James and I went up onto Ben Nevis because I was up on the 30th I knew that Point Five Gully was in good condition. We got up early and arrived at the bottom of the route before light. We did Point Five, which had some awsome ice and good nevee on the less steep ground. There were good screw placements all the way up the route. We moved together on the last 150m which sped things up a bit, and when we arrived on the summit the sun was beating down on us while we packed away our kit and made our way down to No.3 gully. It was a good day and there is a lot of ice coming into good condition on the Ben. So there should be more good days to come.