Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Cairngorms

Yesterday Neill and I headed up to the Cairngorms for my first ever winter climbing day. We went to Sneachda a few weeks ago but the conditions weren't very good. Yesterday was a lovely sunny, cold day and so we walked back in to Sneachda with the intention of climbing a route on Fiacaill Buttress. We left Edinburgh at 5am (one of the worst things about winter climbing) and arrived at a surprisingly busy car park at 8ish. There were quite a few people climbing but luckily Invernookie, the route we were planning to climb was free. The slope up to the bottom of the route made my legs burn, they continued to burn for the rest of the route as i was on my toes all the time, even on the belays! Definitely need to build up my pathetic calf muscles....

The route was pretty exciting as it was totally covered in powder and so it was pretty difficult to find any gear. I think we placed about 5 bits on the whole route! Neill ran out of rope trying to run two pitches together and had to belay halfway up a pitch with no gear, just his ice axes buried in some snow. Probably pretty safe but freaked me out! This meant i had to lead the rest of the pitch which had no gear up to a belay with only two tiny nuts. I was pretty relieved to make it to the top after being covered in spindrift on the top pitch. There was so much falling on me that i pretty much climbed the last pitch with my eyes closed! Overall, it was tiring, cold, and really scary....now i understand why people like it ... :-D














Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sun, Sea and Snow...


A couple of weeks ago we got back from our second trip to Sardinia this year. This time we travelled round the island a bit more and visited some pretty cool crags...and beaches! The first place we went was Icily, a place we climbed at in August. This is a really good crag with loads of steep, hard routes but unfortunately it was really hot and so not much went down. Neill managed a pretty tough 7b (originally 7c!) which I almost got...need to train on those steeper walls more!

Oh and we also got chased by killer guard dogs for going too near the sheep...hence the sticks.

 
 
 
 
 
After climbing at Icily for a couple of days, we headed over to the East coast to probably the most popular climbing area, Cala Ganone. We finally arrived after 5 hours on the most bendy roads in the world! It was nice passing through all the wee places on the way though...
 
The coolest place was definitely the Sopramonte... we stopped for a "salad" and got an absolute feast!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We visited a few crags at Cala Ganone and had a few beach days too. I even managed a 7c at a slightly less steep crag.
 
 


Me absolutely cheesing

Cala Luna...amazing beach

 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
Our last few days were spent avoiding the rain at a couple of new crags. We went back out to Domusnovas and climbed a really horribly polished 7a  before sacking it and looking at some 9as and bs...
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
When we got back from Sardinia, I decided to buy some winter kit (which was well expensive!). After spending so much money, I was going to force my self to like it ! We went up to the Cairngorms today to test out my new gear but unfortunately the conditions weren't very good. We walked into Coire an-t Sneachda and had a little mess around on the ice at the bottom before traversing up and round towards Cairngorm and back down to the ski centre.
 
 

















 
 
 


Friday, 6 September 2013

Sardinia

A couple of weeks ago me and Neill flew out to Sardinia for a nice sunny holiday and to sample some of the climbing there. My auntie lives over there and so we stayed at her house along with my dad and his friend, who were also on holiday. We stayed down in the south, which is pretty far from the most popular crags at Cala Ganone, but we visited 3 crags within an hours drive and they were all excellent.
Our first couple of days were spent chilling out and visiting the beach. It was nice being able to swim in the warm sea compared to the freezing lakes in the Lake District or the North sea at Tyninghame.

Brian at the beach

chilling with Bert

On our 3rd day we headed to a crag called Canneland near a wee place called Domasnovus. This was about an hours drive but was well worth it even just to see the big cave...to make it even better, it was a 2 second walk in!

 
 
 
 
Our warm up ( not that we needed to get any warmer!) was a really cool 6b+ tufa route following these 2 massive tufas. Here's some photos of me and Neill on it.
 
 
Cool 6b+ tufa







 
The sun hit the routes on this face pretty fast and so we moved over to the other side of the cave and into the shade. The other side of the cave is much steeper and our second route was a boulder 6c. The first few moves turned out to be the crux and the rest of it was pretty juggy apart from one wee undercut move near the top.
 



 
 
After a quick stop for food Neill climbed an amazing line following a big flake feature through the roof. It turned out to be a 7a+, looked pretty pumpy though....
 



 
The second crag we visited was called Urania in Icily and was definitely the best climbing of the trip! It was an absolutely roasting day but luckily we got it in the shade for a little bit because once the sun hit it we couldn't climb anymore!
 

 
 
 
 
We stuck to the same less steep pocketed section on the crag and did a few 6b+s and 6c. The rock here was really cool, I've never climbed on pockety rock like this....
 

 


This is actually how you start!

 
 
After it got too hot we went for a swim in a impressively big lake...
 

 
A wee scooter ride...

Neill's off!!
 
Crazy snake
 
The last crag we went to was just outside Caglihari which is the capitol and is pretty much where my auntie stays...pretty handy. This was probably the hottest day of the trip, or maybe it just felt like that because it had a ten minute walk in. The routes were a bit shorter and slightly more polished but still pretty good. We only did a couple of 6b+s and 6cs before we began to bake and had to go for a swim!
 

6b+








a super steep 6c

 
Overall, it was an amazing holiday and the climbing was also amazing! It was so good that we have booked flights to go back again in October.....