Saturday, 17 March 2012

Some exciting news

With only just sightly over 2 months to go before I depart for Alaska with team Cold Cheeks 2012 the team has received some fantastic news. Alpkit have decided to get on board and support us in our attempts to summit Denali, they are going to be supplying the entire team with there new range of tents. This is fantastic news for the entire team and we are all look forwards to working with Alpkit.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Current availabilities on winter courses

The conditions in the highlands are currently in a good shape giving the ideal learning environment for budding winter mountaineers to learn. I have a few last availabilities for privet bookings on winter skills and mountaineering courses over the next few weeks. Courses will be run to suit your exact requirements for any number of days, please get in touch to discuss your requirements and to come up with a tailor made program to suit your needs. I charge from £150 per day depending on group size. Visit or drop me a email

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Day 2 in Cairngorms

Back out with the team from Newcastle University today we head up into Coire an t-Sneachda where we briefly ran over yesterdays skills before heading up the goat track and along to the summit of Cairngorm. It was a slightly more Scottish winter like experience for the team today compared with yesterday, the wind was blowing carrying the snow in places and the clag was down. On the way back to the car park we stopped just past point 1141m to have a look at the construction of snow belays.  

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Stella Day in Cairngorms

Today I have been out with Newcastle University Mountaineering Club on their annual winter meet. With little snow around in the Cairngorms compared with the west and not being into the area yet this winter I sought some beta from another instructor who had been into the Coires over the past few days. With a team of 6 we head up into Coire na Ciste blessed with perfectly blue sky and no wind at all where we spent a good few hours look at personal movement and Ice axe breaking before heading over the top to join the senior club members who had been climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda back at the ski centre car park. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Infamous Creag Meagaidh Navigation

Creag Meagaidh plate has somewhat of a reputation for challenging navigation and with it being Jack and Keith last day with myself felt it would make the perfect venue. On the approach the sun was shining and the fresh overnight snow crunching under our feet. By the time we had reached the main summit plate the cloud had come in which made perfect navigation conditions. We spent a few hours navigating around before having a brief look at snow bollard construction and digging a snow pit before heading down through the window and back out to the car.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

CMD Arete

Jack and Keith were both keen to get up onto Ben Nevis during their trip so with a good overnight freeze and a stele forecast for the day ahead we decided to head for the fantastic Carn Mor Dearg Arete approach to the Ben. After a very long trudge up to Carn Mor Dearg we briefly stopped before heading out across the arĂȘte. By this time the wind had picked up moving a lot of the overnight snow around as well as the fresh snow falling which set for some challenging conditions out on the arĂȘte with whiteout at times and some loaded sloped either side. Reaching the summit at 16:20 we had little time to navigate across the summit plate in whiteout conditions before a slide down Red Burn reaching the main path down at the halfway Lochan just as darkness struck. Both Jack and Keith managed well with the difficult conditions today and a good day was had by all.   

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Warm and Very Wet!!!

Today I was joined by Jack and Keith who had booked on a 3 day West Highlands Winter Skills Course. They both have some experience in a winter environment although had always been out with more experience mates or been guided and wanted to give themselves the judgment to travel safely off their own back.

With a horrendous forecast of +3 at 900m, heavy rain, storm force 100mph winds and a high avalanche risk on slopes facing NE – SE we  picked our way up into Stob Corrie Nan Lochan where we had a look at personal movement skills as well as Ice Axe Breaking. Once all of this had been covered and we were sufficiently drenched from the heavy rain we decided to head up towards the summit are to see if the winds were as bad as forecast. Luckily there was very little wind which enabled us to traverse along the top of the Corrie before dropping back down and negotiating the very swollen streams on the trek back to the car. Let’s hope for that better forecast tomorrow as well as a good drying room tonight.