Rock climbing at Polldubh, Glen Nevis


I woke up this morning to a heavy shower, so wasn’t quite sure how the day was going to pan out, but the rain soon eased, and by the time I met Neil, the roads were almost dry.

By the time we got to Polldubh in Glen Nevis, the crags, particularly the slabbier faces, were completely dry. We kicked off the day by climbing Heatwave on Calvary Crack Buttress. 4 pitches of excellent climbing, interspersed by one wet section in the middle, brought us to the top of the buttress. We then jumped onto Promises on Dundee Buttress, which Neil had to work a bit harder for. A shower then passed through, so we took the opportunity to grab a bite to eat before heading back out to Pinnacle Ridge, which was already dry by the time we got there.

We finished our day of climbing by popping across to Repton Buttress, where we climbed Three Pines in a couple of pitches, giving us a total of 9 pitches of classic Polldubh climbing for the day. The winds helped keep the midges at bay, which was most welcome!

Due to having spent the past few summers out in the Spanish Pyrenees, I had forgotten how good the climbing at Polldubh is, and also how much can be done, all within a very short distance from the road.




Tower Ridge and CMD Arete, Ben Nevis


Dan and I enjoyed a great day on Ben Nevis today. Dan had a train to catch at 5:30pm this afternoon, so we had an early-ish start and made our way up along the Allt a’Mhuilinn up the the north face of Ben Nevis, with Tower Ridge in our sights.

Despite the drizzle and greasy conditions underfoot, Dan flew up Tower Ridge, and tackled all the tricky sections with no hesitation, and only a brief ‘that was a bit tricky’ mutter when climbing up the short, steep wall onto the Great Tower.

We arrived at the summit at about midday, and so with plenty of time left, we descended the SE shoulder, and continued around the brilliant Carn Mor Dearg Arete, just as the clouds lifted enough to give us some great views of the north face and of Tower Ridge. This gave us a brilliant mountaineering day, and for Dan, the perfect way to explore some of the best that Ben Nevis has to offer in a single day.









Dave MacLeod: The 24/8



This is unquestionably one of the greatest ever achievements in the mountains! It’s pretty amazing what can be done on our doorstep.

In March I had a great day out which I’d wanted to do for many years, the 24/8: 8A boulder, E8 trad, 8a sport, VIII,8 winter route and 8 Munros, in 24 hours. I blogged about it here:

http://davemacleod.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-248.html

Now, here is the film.

Kevin Woods did a great job putting it together and you should bear in mind while watching it that he filmed it singlehandedly on the day. No reshoots, no time to set up, no stopping. That was a good effort! Thanks to MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT for supporting the film also.

On Home Turf: Tower Ridge, Ben Nevis


It feels like a while since I was last on Ben Nevis, so it was good to be back on home turf. I was joined by David, who has had his sights on Tower Ridge for quite some time. We were also joined by Ben Turner, who was keen to observe me working on a classic mountaineering route.

The day started off with a bit of cloud, but it lifted throughout the day, and dried the rock off in the process, giving us a pleasant ascent of one of the longest and finest routes in the UK.

There’s no snow on the ridge at all, but still plenty lying in the high corries and gullies. Instead of descending the Mountain Track, we decided to descend Ledge Route instead, giving a brilliant circuit and for David, it provided good prep for his forthcoming trip to the Monta Rosa area of the Swiss Alps.

A couple of other teams on Tower Ridge and one team on Ledge Route. Other than that, it was a quiet day on the north side of Ben Nevis.

Fancy a day on Tower Ridge? We offer it on a privately guided basis, more information can be found on our website:

https://www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/courses/tower-ridge-guide/








Sgurr a’Mhadaidh and Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh


I was back on the Cuillin Ridge today, this time with Steve, who is steadily ticking his way through the Munros. With only three left to do on the main Cuillin Ridge, we headed up to An Dorus to tackle Sgurr a’Mhadaidh (peak of the fox) and Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh (peak of the trashing).

Steve has bags of climbing and mountaineering experience under his belt, so we were up and down both peaks in no time.

The light clouds kept the temperatures down, making a welcome change to the sunny days of late, but the day remained dry, and with a light breeze all day, there was no sign of the dreaded Highland midge.

@





Early bird catches the worm: In Pinn, Skye


I enjoyed another great day in amongst the Cuillin Hills of Skye. Today, I was out with John, Matt, Leon and Jimmy, who had their sights set on the In Pinn. With it being a Saturday and with the slight risk of thunder in the afternoon, we opted for an early-ish start, and so enjoyed the In Pinn to ourselves.

With mist swirling around the In Pinn, it all felt quite atmospheric as I ascended with John and Leon. Unfortunately, the views were somewhat obscured during their ascent, but the clouds parted whilst father and son; Matt and Jimmy made their way up, giving snippets of views over to Sgurr Mhic Choinnich and Coire Lagan.

Having got the whole team up and over before the only other party we saw all day arrived, we headed over the Sgurr Na Banachdich, before descending Coir’ an Eich and out to Glenbrittle.

Despite a few spots of rain, it was a very pleasant day, with no sign of incoming storms.





Final day of our Skye Munros Course


Today was the simple matter of summiting our final three Munros on the main Cuillin Ridge; Sgurr Nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe. That said, both Sgurr Nan Gillean and Am Basteir are no pushovers, with the former requiring steep scrambling and an abseil and the latter, careful scrambling on smooth slabs, as well as negotiating the ‘Bad Step’, a short and sharp step that warrants a climbing grade.

With a large team just setting off up the West Ridge of Sgurr Nan Gillean, we decided to tackle Am Basteir first off. With such dry conditions, the scrambling, whilst serious, is fairly straightforward, and the ‘Bad Step’ was quickly overcome by our team.

The scrambling on Sgurr Nan Gillean ascends a steep chimney followed by an airy traverse over the pinnacles, before easing off a bit. The team enjoyed passing through the window, after which the summit was quickly reached.

From Bealach a’Bhasteir, we descended and traversed beneath its impressive north face before bagging Bruach Na Frithe.

A huge well done to the team this week, who remained focused and determined all week and really made the most of the four days and outstanding weather.

Also a big thanks to Andy for working alongside me this week.






Day 3 of our Skye Munros Course


Yep, you guessed it, another day of good weather and favourable conditions on the Isle of Skye today.

Andy, myself and our Skye Munros team had a slightly easier day today and headed up to An Dorus, from where we nipped up Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh, taking our Munros total up to 8 for this week.

Conditions on the Cuillins and on Skye in general remain fantastically dry and settled, but the usually reliable water sources high in the mountains are really drying up. For those attempting full ridge traverses may want to really consider depositing some bottles of water up on the ridge prior to their attempt. Usual guidelines (hide them well, remove them once used etc.).

For our final day, we’ll be heading to the northern end to summit our remaining Munros; Sgurr Nan Gillean, Am Basteir and Bruach na Frithe.



Day 2 of our Skye Munros Course


Skye keeps on giving! Myself, Andy and our team of budding mountaineers made the trip back into Coire Lagan today, from where we ascended the An Stac screes and over onto Sgurr Mhic Choinnich, which we did as a there and back trip.

Next up, we ascended the ramp beneath the towering mass of An Stac, to the In Pinn, which was remarkably quiet. Maybe everyone who has ever wanted to tackle has done so over the past three weeks!

Our team were up and over the In Pinn in no time, before we made the pleasant journey across to Sgurr na Banachdich and back down to Glen Brittle.

We had a bit of cloud cover and the occasional welcome breeze, but overall, its been yet another amazing day on the Isle of Skye.

If you would like to join one of our Skye Munros Courses in September, visit: https://www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/courses/guide-skye-cuillin-munros/







Day 1 of our Skye Munros Course


The great weather on Skye seems to be perpetual, and I could live with this! Andy and I are running a four day Cuillins Munros Course, with the aim to summit all 11 Munros on the main Cuillin Ridge during the course.

We got off to a great start, with Sgurr Nan Eag, Sgurr Dubh Mor and Sgurr Alasdair in the bag. The snow has all disappeared from the southern end, and many of the higher streams are running dry due to the prolonged period of sunshine and lack of precipitation. In fact Skye may well be experiencing some of the best weather that the UK has had to offer recently.

More good weather on the cards for tomorrow.

If you fancy joining one of our Skye Munros Courses later this year, we currently have places on both the 3-6 and 10-13 September. The cost is £389 for the four days of guiding.

https://www.westcoast-mountainguides.co.uk/courses/guide-skye-cuillin-munros/