Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mont Blanc..

I have just spent the last couple of days on Mont Blanc with Bob working on a Jagged Globe Mont Blanc Extension Course.

Along with British Guide Andy Owen, we made the ascent via the Gouter Route starting and finishing at the Tete Rousse Hut.

The weather has been quite warm for the last couple of days with an evening shower risk, the forecast suggesting that this might continue until later in the week..

Friday, June 25, 2010

Alpine Start..

I spent the last Tuesday and Wednesday with British Mountain Guide Kevin O'Neale in Saas Grund along with Dave and Mark.

Wednesday saw an ascent of the rock route 'Panorama' F5b to the summit of the Jagihorn (3206m), a good route on sound gneiss.

On Thursday, we took the first lift from Saas Fee to access the Hohlaubgrat on the Allalinhorn (4027m), before descending to the Mittel Allalin.

Conditions in the western alps remain quite snowy for the start of the season with many steep ski descents being made. The North Face of the Tour Rhonde has been skied recently and Tim Blakemore witnessed a descent of the Lenzspitze via the Dreieselwand. (Photo - Jon Watts climbing in the Mont Blanc Massif years ago!)

Back in Chamonix there are rumours of the 'Colton-MacIntyre' receiving ascents on the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses, but with the weather warming up I'm not sure for how long that will remain a good idea..

Saturday, June 19, 2010

British Mountain Guides Alpine Training..

I have been based in Chamonix for the last week or so for the British Mountain Guides Alpine Training.

Mark Walker and I spent the first day doing some Via Ferrata in Thonon near Bonneville, cranking up what is rumored to be one of the steepest pitches of its type in France.

Following this, a couple of days were spent around the Aiguille du Midi short roping and climbing on the Pointe Lachenal and Cosmiques Arete with Richard Mansfield.

The later part of the week was characterised by some challenging weather reminding more of the Scottish Highlands in winter than the alpine summer! Despite this, we make the approach to the Cabine d'Orny and climbed the Aigulle du Arpette. From here we made the short ascent to the Cabine du Trient. Finally, the following day saw a crossing of the Fenetre des Chamois and a traverse of Les Ecandies.

This famous route appears in Gaston Rebuffat's classic book 'The Mont Blanc Massif: The Hundred Finest Routes' - and sports the features of "The Razor" (Le Rasoir) and "The Angel's Leap"...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Arrived in Chamonix..

I arrived in Chamonix a few days ago for a summer of work along side a small group of existing British Mountain Guides.

The weather has been a little unsettled with at least one day of gale force Foehn winds over Mont Blanc. Today, despite a drizzly and cloudy start to the day Neil Johnson and I took a ride up on the Aiguille du Midi to acclimatise in preparation for the next few days.

The result was a snowy ascent of the 'Cosmiques Arete', which was well rimed up after the strong winds of previous days.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Video:: Multi Pitch Climbing in the Lakes..

Thanks to John Allen who produced the following video while working with the Marylebone Mountaineering Club (MMC) the other weekend.

You should find it embedded below..

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Walking Group Leader..

I was out with Franco early this morning for a Walking Group Leader Award reassessment.

We spent two thirds of the day looking at accurate navigation, before heading back to the valley with a positive result. Well done Franco.

Initial heavy rain cleared to brighter and drier conditions with a light breeze. Passing Stanage at about 1500, the road was dry and there were plenty of folk out on the crag. Just goes to show how fast the grit dries..

For more details about the Walking Group Leader (WGL), visit http://www.peakmountaintraining.co.uk/displaypage.php?path=wgl

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Technical Advisor work at Rockcity..

I was up at Rockcity in Hull today to assess staff in the skills required to teach and supervise indoor leading.

We spent the day looking at the essential safety elements, dynamic belaying, holding falls (or "whippers") and creating logical teaching progressions. Although we were only looking at building confidence with small falls, the prize definitely goes to Emily who would have quite happily thrown herself off the wall all day!..

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

RSPB Mountain Safety Training...

I was out with Ian today doing some mountain safety training for the RSPB. We spent the day looking at navigation with map, compass and GPS as well as emergency procedures on Kinder Scout.

Ian will be working on a Curlew (pictured) survey in the Peak District and Central Pennines.

The weather was good today being warm and sunny with a pleasant breeze. At a guess conditions will be good on the Eastern Edges for climbing in the evening, but probably best to hit the limestone during the day if the warm weather continues..