Thursday, 29 August 2013


Well done to Scott B, Scott S, Mitch & Jim who all climbed to the summit of Mount Elbrus on 28th August. We had fabulous weather conditions for our summit attempt. From our high camp at 3760m on the north side of the mountain we had a big 1800+m climb.  More photos when I return.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


After a long journey of several planes, buses & taxi we finally made it to Cheget on the south side of Mount Elbrus in the Basken Valley. For our first day of acclimatisation we headed up to Cheget Mountain at 3071m. Fantastic views of Elbrus and the Caucasus mountains to the south which looked very impressive. The actual summit of Cheget lies at 3450m but at the moment there is restricted access and it is out of bounds. Off on the 5 hour drive round to the north side of Elbrus and setting up basecamp tomorrow.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


Away for a couple of weeks guiding four guys on a wee jaunt up Mount Elbrus (5642m) which is the highest point in Europe and one of the ' 7 Summits'. Elbrus lies in the Caucasus Mountains, Russia. Scott B, Scott S, Jim & Mitch have all been out with me on a winter skills course in preparation for their big challenge. They are also raising funds for their charity. Like all big mountains across the world, the chances of success are hinged on acclimatising well and the weather. Elbrus is renowned for it's bad weather and high winds. Lets hope we get a good spell. Rather than taking the option of ascending from the southern side of the mountain which is the route the vast majority of people take, we will be attempting from the northern side. The southern side has more infrastructure, a form of accommodation in huts and even a skidoo service (if that's what you want?!). Where as we will be tenting it from the word go at 2400m  which is the 'basecamp' and much quieter. Blog posts will be a bit sporadic over next couple of weeks.

Monday, 12 August 2013


Grandes Jorasses from Refugio Bonatti
The final slopes to Grand Col Ferret
Mont Blanc from Lac Cherysses
Grandes Jorasses from Monte del Saxe
The view from Aiguille du Midi
Monte Bianco from Col de la Seigne
Back home from a fantastic summer in The Alps. The weather up last week has been amazing. My stint  started cold and sunny with a lot of lying snow from the end of June up to mid July then we had sizzling heat of 30 degrees plus in Chamonix. 4 Tour of Mont Blanc's finished and some very nice folk from all over the world including the USA, Canada, Romania, Korea, Australia, Germany, France and the UK. A few days at home and filling out Russian Visa application forms (yawn, yawn and very time consuming!). Guiding on Mount Elbrus from 18th August. Hope to get a few days out in the hill before that, if the mountains of paperwork get flattened that is!

Friday, 9 August 2013


The second half of my 4th TMB saw a very different weather system. Low cloud, rain and much cooler conditions for 2 and half days. There was a lot of flowing water down many of the trails yesterday. My group of 9 were very wet coming down into Trient yesterday. It dried up over Col du Balme today with some clearing low cloud. Back home for a week tomorrow.

Monday, 5 August 2013


Another day of sizzling heat with temperatures over 30 degrees again in Courmayeur. One of my favourite 'day off walks' whilst guiding on the TMB is an ascent of Hellbroner from La Palud which gives some nice scrambling amongst bits of fixed rope/cables and a ladder higher up. With over 2000m of ascent its a good leg strecher and wonderful views onto the Brenva Face of Monte Bianco. Well after that build up I actually got the cable car up today! With all the construction work taking place for the new cable car system it just wouldn't be astheticly pleasant. The new cable car must be one of the highest construction sites in Europe. It was nice and cool up at the Torino Refugio. We're off on 'the road' again tomorrow. Monte de Saxe day, another spectacular walk and weather same as ususl, hot and sunny.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


Round 4 of another Tour Mont Blanc underway this week. Scorching temperatures with 30 plus degrees C in the valleys. Friday when we set off being the worse, I downed 8 litres of water between Les Houches & Les Contaminnes. We've enjoyed hot sun for 3 days.  My group of 9 coping well in the heat, especially since we carry everything on our back for 8 days. This season in the Alps I've worn waterproofs for just 2 days out of 45, not bad.