Thursday, 17 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 3, CABANE DU MONT FORT

Fab views of Grand Combin
Cabane du Mont Fort 
Sunset from the Cabane 
Tomorrows route
 A quiete refuge 
Second Adder this trip
Meadows enroute to the Val de Bagnes
Another glorious day on the Haute Route.  Hot sun and blue skies all day. Day 3 ID an easier section of the trek. A long descent into the Val de Bagnes.  After lunch it's a cablecar ride up to Les Ruinettes, above Verbier, at over 2190m. Great views of the Grand Combin from here which we get even better views the following day. A lovely easy walk to the Cabane du Montfort. A great spot with stunning views and stunning sunset tonight. Another Adder spotted today, two in as many days. Lots of wonderful raspberries and myrtles out in the meadows this time of year. My favourite day of the entire trek begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 2, FENETRE ARPPETTE

Descending the Fenetre Arppette 
The Fenetre Arppette 
Fenetre Arppette 
Trient Glacier 
Trient Valley 

Day 2 of the Walkers Haute Route.  A big day over the Fenetre Arppette.  I love this day. Big views, steep ground. My big team of 3 folk sailed over. A couple of Ibex on the rocks near the Col.  Last night of 'luxury' before we head off onto the finest stages of the Toeur, the 'wilderness'.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, NO. 2

Aiguillete de Posettes 

Mont Blanc & AIGUILLE ROUGE
CROIX DE FEUR RIDGE 
FAB RIDGE WALKING 
The team on the summit 
Fine views
Mont Blanc 
Cows at Tseppes
Back in the Alps again and the start of another Walkers Haute Route.  With just a small group of 3 this trip. Another lovely sunny skies day. We headed for the summit of the Croix de Feur as Chloe, Meridyth and Matt had made easy work of the Aiguillete de Possettes and Col de Balme. The top gives splendid views of the Trient Glacier. Grand first day, more to come! This second Haute Route this season, guiding for Mont Blanc Treks.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

HIGH SUMMER SWIMMING IN LOCH AVON

Shelterstone Crag and Loch Avon

Fiacaill Buttress from the Goat Track

Shelterstone Crag and Loch Avon basin

Northern Corries, almost Autumn colours

Shelterstone Crag

Hells Lum Crag
Pinnacle Gully

b video
Karen and I had a wonderful day down at Loch Avon. There are many routes down into this wonderful glacial trench which lies in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains. One of the finest ways to get down to the loch is via the Goat Track and then across the plateau into Coire Domhain. From the top of Coire Domhain you get great views of the Shelterstone Crag. We set off early to avoid the crowds, not that you get many folk wandering to here. The main reason for our wee expedition was for Karen to go for a swim in the loch. Despite it being mid summer the water was still chilly, well the loch does lie at 700m above sea level. We got a few showers in the afternoon but the light this morning was lovely.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

NAVIGATION, SCRAMBLING, WILDLAND

Loch Avon from Carn Etchacan
Loch Avon slabs
Breariach

Louisa enjoying the scrambling
Angels Ridge

Castlegates Gully

Shelterstone crag

Reindeer

Braeriach
Ben Macdui
Lairig Ghru
Sisters Louisa and Clare were out with me today on a one day navigation course combined with a 'good day out' in the hills. They picked beautiful day for it. The early cloud lifted quickly and with a northerly breeze the air was clear and views superb.  The beauty of joining on one of my bespoke courses and not a 'group navigation course' is the flexibility and nothing 'off the shelf'. For Louise and Clare they wanted some navigation and more confidence in getting out on the hills alone. We headed out toward Ben Macdui summit, getting to the best viewpoint (which isn't the summit cairn) just as some cloud swirled and gave fab atmospheric photos. We sat here for lunch, always a deserted spot which gives fine views of the Lairig Ghru and the full extent of the Braeriach-Cairn Toul plateau. In the afternoon we did some compass work to get s across to another fine view point, the Loch Avon basin from Carn Etchacan. Once again this whole are is devoid of people (mainly because it is pathless and guide books don't advertise it). The view from this Munro 'Top' of Loch Avon is stunning. For some fun we got back up onto the Cairngorm plateau by scrambling on the wonderful Loch Avon slabs which are nice ad dry and warm. The ladies then navigated over to the Goat Track, descending into Coire ant-Sneachda. A brilliant day out and great fun all the way with lots of laughs, including wine at lunchtime, I thought I was back in the French Alps when they got wee bottles of wine and glasses out of their rucksacks!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

AN TEALLACH

James & Alistair on An Teallach
Early on Monday morning I departed Chamonix, less than 12 hours later I arrived in an even better mountaineering centre, Ullapool, by public transport. Not bad going. I travelled direct to the North West Highlands for a day of guiding on An Teallach, the finest mountain on the planet. Father and son in law team had travelled all the way up from Sheffield (Alistair from London) for a day of spectacular mountain walking and scrambling. This was James's 60th Birthday present from his daughter. What a gift! The weather forecast was reasonable too with some sun and just a few showers forecast.
Fisherfield Forest from Sail Liath
Grand views into Toll an Lochan
The classic traverse of this magnificent mountain begins from Corrie Hallie with a long approach walk to the foot of the first ridge, Sail Liath. An Teallach has many ridges, spurs and 'Munro Tops'. It's an easy walk with a reasonable path to the first of our summits today. From the top there are wonderful views into the Fisherfield Forest and to the Beinn Dearg Munros. We had lovely sunshine and great cloud formations. From here you get the first glimpse of the spectacular Corrag Buidhe Pinnacles.
Sail Liath ridge
Loch na Sealga & Beinn Dearg Mor
The fun begins!
Shortly after the descent off Sail Liath the fun begins on the pinnacles of Corrag Buidhe. This series of spectacular Torridonian Sandstone rock towers are a delight for scrambling on. This was Alastair's first taste of scrambling. James has already got a few classic Scottish scrambles under his belt. These pinnacles, towers and ridges do have bypass paths but then you miss all the fun! The guys soon got into the swing of it and they were soon grinning and loving the exposure.
Cloud adding to the fabulous scenery
James in full concentration
Alistair loving it
Up and down scrambling
Halfway across the Corrag Buidhe the cloud drifted in and we started to get a few drops of rain. This added to the atmosphere of the day. Torridonian sandstone is still nice and grippy even when wet so the rain didn't make anything more difficult. The boys were looking forward to the final tower, Lord Barkeley's Seat. This famous pinnacle overhangs the Toll an Lochan and can be quite unnerving, the cloud made the exposure less severe!
Narrow, scrambling
Looking back to Lord Barkeley's Seat
Pointy and narrow
.....next
Final scrambling to Sgurr Fiona
After the fun of Lord Barkeley's it's just a final easy scramble to the first Munro summit of Sgurr Fiona. Unfortunately we had no views from the summit. A bit chilly on the tops but these guys are tough, wearing shorts in the rain. Not for me! The ridge that links the two Munros is just straightforward hillwalking. Within an hour we were stood on Bidein a' Ghlas Tuill, the highest point on An Teallach. From here there are magnificent views but not today. We ambled back down to Dundonnell for a grand 10 hour day and a full traverse of the mountain. The boys were chuffed to pieces. A brilliant day out and great craic all the way along. We saw just two folk all day! Next stop, Skye!