Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Searching for the pot of gold...............

After more than two weeks away in the (admittedly lovely!) European Alps, today reminded me of how special the Scottish Highlands are. I took new clients Doug and Jennifer to the Cairngorms today. The forecast was inauspicious......wet and windy. The drive to the Cairngorms was equally inauspicious, with windscreen wipers at full pelt. Once there, however, we had a lovely day. Sure, there was some rain, some wind and some wet feet. But the reward was an afternoon of real beauty, with that magical light that I've only seen in the Highlands, as rain clouds came and went, fighting with the sun for supremacy. We all enjoyed our circular walk, starting in the Rothiemurchus pines, heading past Loch an Eilein to Drakes' Bothy, then up to The Argyll Stone and the summit of Creag Dubh, before dropping back down into Gleann Eanaich and thus Rothiemurchus to complete a lovely loop. Thank you Doug and Jennifer for a great day out.

Pesky river got my boot wet.......

Enjoying the climb

A bit blowy


We never did find that pot of gold........

Monday, 17 September 2018

Alpine Wanderings

The last couple of weeks I have been over in the Alps. I was due to work leading a Tour du Mont Blanc trek, unfortunately this was cancelled so I took the opportunity of being "on site" to have a spot of different fun. With my good friend Alex we had a grand tour, starting with the Ecrins Alps of southern France, before moving to Chamonix (briefly) and on to the Swiss Alps. We finished in one of our favourite Alpine areas, the Bregaglia (Bergell) Alps, right on the border of southern Switzerland and northern Italy. With it being late in the season, and thus snow/ice and glacial conditions likely to be poor, we decided to just concentrate on long rock routes. This turned out to be a good decision, and we climbed some fantastic routes, helped by the generally great weather. So, a fun time, but lovely to be back in the Scottish Highlands, where it is definitely starting to feel like Autumn. Looking forward to some hiking work starting tomorrow.

View of the Albina cirque, Bregaglia Alps
Punta d'Albigna
NW Ridge, Punta Albigna
Excellent climbing on the Via Meuli, Punta d'Albigna
Beautiful wee church in La Berarde, Ecrins
Alpine ridge scrambling
Standing on the tiny summit, Aiguille de Soreillier

Gorgeous granite climbing on the 12-pitch Palavar des Flots, Ailefroide, Ecrins

Descending from the Soreillier/Dibona cirque, Ecrins

The crux pitch of the South Ridge of Piz Balzet, Bregaglia. First ascent 1922, by local legend Walter Risch---solo!

Almost there.............

Crux pitch, Aiguille de Soreillier, easy but great climbing up cracked granite slabs

Dawn starts mean careful scrambling up verglassed (icy) granite slabs......