Thursday, 26 February 2015

Seriously windy on Dorsal Arete today.

Wild and windy today on the mighty Dorsal Grat in Glencoe as 60 to 80 mph winds blasted through the coire. A busy day up there as the options at present are slim due to the ever present building of slab and new snow fall. The snow is crusting over and hence tricky to walk in. A pictorial report tonight take care out there!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Winter walking skills course today.

Today was a special first for Hebridean Pursuits. We were working with newly weds Paul and Madelene on their honeymoon in Glencoe. We headed to Garbh Bheinn on Loch Levenside. We headed there to avoid the high winds forecast. It was another very windy day and the snow continued to fall in the heavy showers. The snow pack at 650m was beginning to freeze up. Wind slab was building up in sheltered areas on easterly aspects. Whilst windward ridges were scoured to the rock and grass. A truly atmospheric day in the mountains and the honeymooners were very happy to be learning new skills up high in the snow.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Tiree High School Winter Mountaineering Course.

The last two days have been challenging in the mountains. Challenging enough for experienced mountaineers and certainly an even bigger and completely new challenge for the 6 puipls from The Island of Tiree! 80 mph winds, driving snow, deep wading through fresh powder snow and winter climbing all were the part of their Glencoe experience. Well done all, you really showed determination and charactor out there especially for opting to go climbing today! Thanks to their amazing and dedicated staff for bringing them over to the mainland and believing in real adventures and to Cat for fantastic catering. Thanks also to Keith at The Glencoe Independent Hostel,for the really comfy base to work out of. And to Jamie Bankhead for his graft in the snow! A little grim at times but the smiles and laughter dominated! Conditions are pretty wild in the hills right now. Do check the avalanche forecasts and keep an eye on the blogs as the fresh snow is transporting rapidly on varying aspects and wind slab is building. The high winds are due to continue for a few days. We are out working in Glencoe again tomorrow

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Dragon's Tooth today.

Today I was out in house training and mentoring two of Hebridean Pursuits senior associate instructors Tom and Julie towards their MIC assessments on the varied and always interesting grade II Dragon's Tooth ridge. It's not only a ridge, a grade I/II gully leads to scrambling blocky ridge, down an abseil and then continues to a fine rock ridge to it's fine Munro summit. Brilliant quiet and sublimely set it has all ingredients. Conditions were warm but laterly the temperature did drop and some new snow fell above approximately 750m. The snow pack is consolidated above 900m so a good freeze will bring those big gully lines (that are not already broken ) into fabulous climbing condition. Hebridean Pursuits has a very busy period of winter courses coming up through to the end of March so we will be keeping a good eye on the weather. It is looking unsettled but with freeze thaw cycles the spring could see some lovely traditional snow climbs to be found.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The first six days of the Roses Project Outdoor Learning Academy.

The first six days of the outdoor learning academy have been really varied for the trainees. We have concentrated on summer hill walking skills, navigation, scrambling techniques and the basics of winter walking skills. Of course it's not just about hard skills the trainees are developing. Crucial interpersonal skills required to work in the outdoor industry and in other lines of work are being explored too. They will next move onto winter skills sessions and a spring scrambling course. Hebridean Pursuits in partnership with the Roses Charitable Trust are keen to partnership another OLA starting in the late autumn 2015. If you have an idea of a youth group, modern apprentice team or a school group who might be interested please contact us on learning comes in many forms and this short programme offers so much in a concentrated package.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Super happy times working on Hebridean Pursuits winter courses this season. We are all on a wee break from the mountains spending time with family and friends. It is great to be resting up and preparing for the second half of the winter season.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

A beautiful morning teaching navigation on the Burg, Mull.

A beautiful morning on Mull. The last day for the students on the Roses Outdoor Learning Academy on their Tavool House residential. We returned to micro navigation after all the bigger adventures it certainly focused the mind. Their next learning days are winter skills training and then in the spring, classic scrambling in Glencoe. Mull is just amazing at present and the flowers are starting to bloom!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

A change of scene. Dry rock on Erraid today.

Today the students on the Outdoor Learning Academy course headed for the beautiful island of Erraid. Erraid boasts some of the finest rock climbing in the Uk and it's setting is unique. The students were concentrating on movement on rock and scrambling terrain. It certainly put their ascent of Ben More yesterday into context. It was a chilly day on the coast but dry and we had some fantastic views.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Ben More on Mull today. Full winter conditions.

The students on the Roses Project Outdoor Learning Academy were putting all their navigation planning to good use today on Ben More 966m
on Mull. A murky day but a very exciting and challenging day in full winter conditions. It appears we missed an inversion on Mull. Only a few miles away from Glencoe and the mainland, but that can make all the difference. Still it was very atmospheric up there and we did see two White Tailed Sea Eagles.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Dorsal Arete and Glencoe continues to be Alpine.

February is starting so well for our courses in the mountains. Blue skies continue in the mountains and the sunsets are sublime. Shepherds will be delighted. We are moving operations to Mull for a week to run a winter hill walking course. Ben More is covered in snow so it should be excellent, especially if the high pressure holds out.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Solitude on Dorsal Arete today.

A perfect day for guiding and instructing in the mountains today. Glencoe was just sublime, light winds and wall to wall sunshine. Conditions are interesting for climbing and it does need care and considered route choice. It warmed up today and the snow was very 'gloggy' at 1000m. Reports of cruddy snow and ice in the classics such as Twisting Gully and SC gully. With a drop in temperature it will consolidate wonderfully.