September is a good month

Tuesday 16th, Ian and I headed out into Coire a Mhadaidh, in theCuillin. Up Tuppeny Buttress to the ridge, then the traverse of Bidean Druim nan Ramh, An Caisteal, Bruach na Frithe and back down its NW ridge.

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Dolomites Sept 2014, photos

My oldest son Robbie and I flew from Edinburgh to Venice on the Saturday, a day after the others. Both our bags went missing and so we were left with a very large shopping list to buy all the gear we needed for a week of walking and Via Ferrata! (we did get our bags back when we returned through the airport a week later).
So after a 4 hour bus ride we met up with the others in Corvara at Residence Angelika. They had all stayed in the Rifugio Kostner the night before and had climbed VF Piz de Lech – a fine start to the week.

Robbie and I spent Sunday morning shopping, the others were to go MTB. So on Monday we were all set for climbing and 5 of us went for the VF Degli Alpini grade 3B. It was Robbie’s first Via Ferrata and he struggled with the steep start and the terrifying exposure. Higher up the climbing was easier and his technique improved, and he led the final wall with very fine exposure.

One of our main objectives for the week was the VF Punta Anna (5C) and the summit of the Tofana di Mezzo. So Tuesday was the day, Robbie had a rest, Stewart climbed the Piz Boe. Our trip started on a chairlift, and I did have a moment when my helmet popped out of my rucksack and fell from the chair! So I started my day with a jog downhill to retrieve it and a punishing climb back to catch up. The climb starts easily enough and takes a number of ledges and easy gullys for about 20 mins. Then all of a sudden the wire hits the crest and the exposure is epic (reminds me of parts of the Cuillin). So on to the Punta Anna and then the route takes a more Alpine ambiance with fresh snow and less wire to follow. At one point there is an exposed corner to traverse, I think to me that was the single hardest part of the route. Higher up we had to contend with rockfall, ice fall and mist. However it is all worthwhile to get a cable-car descent and a mug of hot chocolate at the bottom.

After that we walked alot and some of the others did another Ferrata near the Gardena pass. Here are some of my photos to browse….

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Corvara 2014 video

Walks and Ferrata in the Dolomites. Best viewed in full HD.

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End of the Fishing season (for me anyway)

Heading off to the Dolomites in a few days time so I thought I’d bring in the creels, what with September gales around the corner. Pulled in a nice wee pile of Lobster, bringing the season tally to over 50. Not bad for 4 creels and 3 months fishing.

2014-08-26 09.59.19

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Long awaited new book due to be published soon …

Follow the link for a preview of ‘The Great Mountain Crags of Scotland’. The publishers have a limited number of special edition ‘slipcase’ versions available for pre-order.

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Garbh Bheinn and Belig

Some photos from my evening out on Garbh Bheinn and Belig.

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Naismith’s Route, Basteir Tooth

Wednesday evening and the car temperature gauge is telling us it’s 28C. For the Isle of Skye this is hot! The plan was for Ian, Archie and I to nip up Fionn Coire and traverse the Tooth and Am Basteir and be down in good time. Leaving the road at 5 we were up at the base for 7. It is an intimidating spot but with warm dry rock it is also inviting to climb here, as the evening sun turns the rock a warm colour, different from the usual dark cold look that the Cuillin can project. In the end Archie had second thoughts about climbing so he elected to go round Am Basteir and meet us as we topped out. The climb went well, until the part when I realized that the protection that was there last time I climbed the route was now gone – A flake has broken off. Nothing for it but to make the moves very carefully and arrange the sling over a spike higher up. Ian followed the route in good style and was very pleased to have bagged another Cuillin.

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