Sunday, 19 June 2011

Loch Etchachan camping - 10th to 12th June 2011

A boys weekend in the Cairngorms. The plan was to camp high on the Friday & Saturday at Loch Etchachan and climb multi-oitch granite slabs. Unfortunately a crash on the A9 caused hugh traffic problems and the organiser, John, took ill and had to abandon the trip. After plans were discussed in the Bridge Inn we headed up to Coire an t-Sneachda and camped just short of the coire. We the headed over to Loch Etchachan in worsening weather. Howere, after camp was set up in Loch Etchanan and the rain subsided we went for a walk up Beinn Mheadhoin in the late evening. The Sunday morning was glorious and we headed for Gray Man's Crag in Coire Sputan Dearg to climb Grey Slab. On the walk out we also bagged Ben Macdui.

Stone Valley Crags - 2nd to 4th June 2011

We headed back up from the lakes on the promise of some decent weather in the far North-West. We headed up to the lovely campsite near Kinlochewe. We spent 3 days climbing at the Stone Valley Crags. Roddy joined us for two of the days.
We put up a number of apparently new routes on a wee crag, when our intended crag was seeping:

Flowerdale Beag
(NG 868 719) Alt. 270m South-West Facing

Approach: As for Flowerdale Wall. This crag is just below and slightly to the left of Flowerdale Wall. It provides short routes suitable for novices.

Descent: Walk off to the right.

Too Windy for Blood Suckers 10m Severe. J. Northover, S. Macfarlane. 2nd June 2011.
An eliminate up the wall between Cracking On and Central Crack. Use of either crack is not permitted for holds. Central Crack may be required for gear by the less bold.

Rowan wall 10m Severe. S. Macfarlane, J. Northover. 2nd June 2011.
An eliminate up the wall to the right of Central Crack. The use of Central Crack and the crack line to the right is not permitted for holds or gear.

Cracking On 10m Very Difficult. J. Northover, S. Macfarlane. 2nd June 2011.
The first crack line left of Central Crack.

Central Crack 10m Very Difficult. S. Macfarlane, J. Northover. 2nd June 2011.
The most obvious and central crack line.

Wanting something a little more challenging we moved further up the valley, although our intended route wasn't much meatier, despite the gorgeous rock!

The Valley Walls
(NG 868 719) Alt. 270m. South-West facing

Approach: As per guidebook.

Descent: Walk off to the right.

Windy Cracks 15m Severe. S. Macfarlane, J. Northover. 2nd June 2011.
In the bay beyond Three Stepped Slab is a short steep crack. Climb this and move slightly left to another hidden crack that continues to the top. The bottom crack is severe and the upper crack Difficult.

Evening sun on the Bonaid Dhonn (Brown Bonnet) with Slioch, to the left, a golden glow above Loch Maree.

Some suberb climbing here on impeccable rock (gneiss)

Here you get an idea of the scale of the longer routes

Roddy making short work of the worryingly named 'Cheesegrater'

While Stuart takes on the alarming 'Touch and Go'

What a view, with Beinn Alligin in the distance

'Bald Eagle', one of the best continuous lines here

A belay with a view. Thanks for this, and other, pics Roddy!

Next new route (or start to route, too irresistable to resist!):

Stone Valley Crag
(NG 868 717) Alt. 250m. South Facing

Arete Direct 25m VS 4c. J. Northover, R. Mackenzie, S. Macfarlane. 3rd June 2011. 

To the right of the prominent corner of Updraught is an arete. Climb the arete direct and continue to the top. This route joins onto Updraught but is a more direct start.

Jeanie on the lead (left) then belaying Stuart

Borrowdale, Lakes - 29th to 31st May 2011

We had a weeks holiday ahead of us but unfortunately the weather forecast didn't seem great anywhere. We opted for a few days down in the lakes to begin with. In general whilst in Borrowdale it rained in the morning and cleared to a lovely afternoon and evening.

Kirrie Hill - 22nd May 2011

A poor forecast for the weekend. On the Sunday we headed up to Kirriemuir via a garden centre to climb at Kirrie Hill. It's a sports climbing venue that dries very quickly and is sheltered from the westerly winds. Just as well as it was very windy. The Sandstone rock did dry very quickly and most of the climbs were on dry rock.