Back in January of this year, Billy and I enjoyed the hardest day of the winter for me. We trenched our way up deep, deep snow on Tower Ridge and trenched our way all the way back down by the Red Burn. Trench Warfare! Back for more climbing and more learning, Billy and I went to Glen Coe yesterday and to Glen Nevis today. The two days could not have been much different despite both being great days of climbing. Yesterday stayed cloudy and wet on the rock. No views but fun mountaineering style climbing that will prepare Billy for an ascent of the Matterhorn at some point. We went up D Gully Buttress (Difficult), down Curved Ridge (Moderate) and up North Buttress (Difficult) to complete about ten pitches of climbing plus scrambling up and down technical ground. The clouds cleared the summit as we got back to the van!
Today in Glen Nevis, the climbing at Poldubh was dry, warm, midge free and very nice indeed. We did a tour of classic climbs including Pinnacle Ridge, Upper Pinnacle Ridge, Three Pines, Flying Dutchman (direct finish), Pine Wall and Eigerwand before lunch, then Resurection and Damnation after lunch. All this climbing and pitching gave us lots of scope for learning all the techniques of rock climbing. Billy was belaying and taking out the protection, setting up his own belay anchors and tying in to them, sorting the ropes and abseiling as if in a retreat from a climb.
It was a lovely day to be in Glen Nevis. The colours of the leaves on the silver birch are just starting to change for the autumn, and the bracken is starting to go brown. The flowers on the heather are still giving a soft purple haze but it feels like the end of the summer and the rich, deep greens are about to fade as the oranges and reds of autumn come out. A cool start added to the sense of the change in the season but the sunshine was hot this afternoon! We could still get a few weeks of warm sunny weather yet.
Billy was doing so well with all the techniques of climbing that he was keen to try a bit of leading. So, we went back down to Upper Pinnacle where he "led" a pitch placing protection and clipping it in to a rope, while on a top rope belay. After I seconded the route to check the protection, Billy led it for real with his pre-placed protection. Quite a fast progression for a first day of rock climbing, from novice to lead climber in one day of cragging! And what a brilliant way to finish a varied two days of climbing.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.