Sunday, 25 March 2007

Ben Cruachan

Yesterday, we had a fantastic day on Ben Cruachan. Bright sunshine and a cloudless sky. It doesn't get much better than yesterday. We had superb views all round, particularly towards Ben Nevis (still covered in a considerable amount of snow) and out to the Islands. We walked the whole ridge, from the dam, to the top of Ben Cruachan, along a very alpine ridge to Stob Diamh, and back down to the road in beautiful evening sunshine.

I did consider what a good day it might have been for some climbing, but the wind was still pretty icy, and there was enough snow on the higher ground to have limited us to low level cragging. We get cold easily! With such beautiful weather, it was most definitely a day to be up high.

Oh, and I saw a stoat disappearing over the edge of a rock at the very top of Ben Cruachan. What surprise!

Ben Cruachan from Stob Diamh

Caroline on the ridge between Ben Cruachan and Stob Diamh

The view north to Ben Nevis with Loch Etive, and the Etive slabs in the middle.

Looking down a gully towards Ben Nevis

More pictures here.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Warm Spanish limestone

I'm just back from a week climbing in El Chorro (southern Spain). We had some great climbing weather, not too hot, but no rain, and some great climbing. While it's always nice to come home, as soon as I am here, I realise how much more climbing there is to do out there and how much I want to go back.

El Chorro is an amazing gorge. We didn't get time to take a wander along the famous Camino del Rey (partly because most of the climbing along there is beyond what we are currently capable of tackling!), but we did wander along the railway to Los Cotos, for some superb slab climbing and a tremendous view of the inside of the gorge.

More pictures here.

It's very easy, when one is accustomed to climbing at indoor walls, to kid oneself that indoor grades = outdoor grades. Not so, my friend. Outside, for me, it's all a head game. It's not about strength or technique as much as it is about being brave enough and confident enough to climb higher than the last bolt. On a toprope, I can probably manage F6c without too much trouble. On the lead, I'm only just scraping through F6b+. Having said that, at Sella in November I was lucky to get away with leading F6a+, so there is some improvement somewhere along the line. Maybe it's just about mileage. The more I do, the better I get.... or rather, the less worried I am about falling or climbing above the last bolt.

On Dos Tetas Tiran (6b+)

Some odd things come to mind...KT Tunstall... "On comes the panic light, Holding on with fingers and feelings alike. But the time has come, To move along...". I still hung around too long; my right arm was pumped solid! More pics of the things I found especially challenging here.

Tonight I am having a night off, making cake. No climbing. The skin on my fingers is sloughing like an adolescent snake, and having seen the Fizzy-O this morning I should give my shoulder a sitting at my computer. Err....

Enough. Cake is ready.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Sharing pictures

I still haven't found inspiration for what to blog about, so I'll start with a link to some photographs. Now that these are on the web it's much easier to share them. I will change the pictures from time to time, but for now, these are they.

Winter climbing: Comb Gully, Ben Nevis

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

First Post

Welcome to the alpine dreams of a frustrated desk monkey. Sat here it doesn't seem so bad today. The sun is shining, Arthur's Seat looks green and enticing, there are little puffy white clouds drifting across the sky. But, yes, you've guessed it, I don't really want to be here.

I'd rather be here:

Or here:

So, end of first post. Where next? Who knows....