Winter to Spring to Summer

This year seems to have flown by so fast already. Its now the end of May, the evenings are light and North Wales is having a mix of intense sun and intense rain. Winter in Scotland and Spring in the Alps seem like a distant memory whilst summer seems to be always just around the corner but so far hasn’t arrived with a bang just yet!

This winter was the first year when I haven’t done a complete stint in Scotland due to having work down in Wales at the start of January. I had a great variety of work over the weeks I was up there. It was hard work at times due to the amount of snow and wind but that just makes it all the more satisfying…looking back at it now that is!

QUBMC

As always a great few days working with QUBMC. This was definitely one of the better days at the start of the winter!

After a couple of very snowy and buried routes at the start of January in the Cairngorms the first route of the season on the West was Central Grooves in Stob Coire nan Lochain with Kenny Grant. Had been wanting to climb this for a while and it didn’t disappoint.

Central Grooves

Central Grooves (Photo: Kenny Grant)

Climbing days were limited this year due to work and rubbish weather but I did manage two fantastic days on Beinn Eighe towards the end of February. The first was a FWA of The Root of All Evil with Murdo on Far Eastern Buttress. At IX 8, apart from the tricky first pitch, this was quite a bit beyond me in terms of fitness. It was however pretty inspiring to watch Murdo put all his training to good use!

The Root of All Evil – Murdo hanging out on the roof of pitch 3.

The second visit was a week later with the super keen Andy Howgarth to climb Central Buttress. Again this is a route that has been on the radar for a while and it didn’t disappoint!

Andy questing towards the top.

A week later I was somewhere in the middle of the North Face of the Eiger, engrossed in climbing probably undoubtedly the most well known face in the European Alps and beyond. Climbing on Beinn Eighe a week earlier this hadn’t even been on the cards but such is how opportunities present themselves and when they do you have to grab them as you never know if you’ll get another chance!

Suffice to say climbing the 1938 Route on the Eiger was a dream come true, three of the most memorable days climbing with great weather, great partner, great climbing and not so so conditions! I will write about it in a bit more detail in due course.

John on the Hinterstoisser Traverse, 1938 Route – Eiger

The morning after I got off the Eiger I started a ski course in Bavaria for two weeks. Unsurprisingly I was slightly hanging for the first couple of days until I caught up with some sleep!

Vic rapping in to ski the Ellerkopf couloir on a day off.

After two weeks of stellar sunshine and very warm temperatures I had a couple of weeks ski touring, firstly with Guy and Blair in the Albula Alps and then with John around Chamonix.

Looking over St. Moritz

Stellar blue skies and lots of fresh snow!

Stellar blue skies and lots of fresh snow!

Team photo on top of Piz Kesch in the Albula Alps

John on the way to the top of the Aiguille du Tour Noir. A long skin up to the Col du Tour Noir and then a sketchy PD to the summit was great end to the trip!

John on the way to the top of the Aiguille du Tour Noir. A long skin up to the Col du Tour Noir and then a sketchy PD to the summit was great end to the trip!

Back in North Wales now and the weather has been a mix of sunshine and heavy showers. In between work its been great to get back rock climbing around North Wales, the Peak District and Pembroke over the last few weeks. Off to Fairhead in a few days which is a the trip I’ve been looking forward most to so far!

Kitten Claws at Carreg y Barcud, Pembroke. (Photo: Tim Neill)

Kitten Claws at Carreg y Barcud, Pembroke. (Photo: Tim Neill)

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