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Too Busy to Blog!

Staff Training, snow belays getting tested to destruction

Date: 19th/12/2011                                 Link to my Website: Elements

It’s been a busy wee while this last week, I’ve been involved with several excellent days of staff training with Glenmore Lodge, plus some great days out climbing and skiing. I could get used to these wintery early season conditions!

Staff Training short roping day

The first staff training day involved testing buried axe and deadman snow anchors, comparing mountaineering axes and new style technical curved axes and how well they all worked as snow anchor protection.

Day two was a day of short roping workshops on the hill with a team of about fifteen Lodge instructors all floating new ideas and testing current techniques.

Staff Training Ski Touring day

Day three had us up on the will with our touring kit on. The morning was spent looking at coaching on piste techniques to ready folks for going off piste, then the afternoon had us off on a wee tour finding some great snow – shame about the poor visibility.

Early morning walking into 'Shelter Stone'

Day Four : Jon J, Giles and myself had an early(ish) start and headed over to Shelter Stone, which has seen a lot of action over the last few days from some very strong teams. We opted for a shot at ‘Postern’ one of the uber classic (VI-6) lines on the crag. We all enjoyed a battle with some of the lower pitches but quickly realised that if we wanted to make it back in time for the staff meal (at 19.30) we would have to abort the excellent looking top pitches and nip up an easier finish. Can’t wait to get back to finish off the upper pitches.

Giles Trussell testing his bridging skills on the first pitch of 'Postern'

Good seeing lots of other folks out enjoying the wintery conditions. Tim Neal and Lee (Dawg) Roberts made light work of ‘Clach Dhian Chimney’, Jim Higgins  and partner made a late start on ‘Citadel’ but pulled it out of the bag with a classic Shelter Stone late finish! A team that followed us into Loch Avon basin headed for ‘Scorpion’, to be seen later shuffling back out of Loch Avon, perhaps not the best choice of route after lots of fresh snow.

Big Tim Neal using his reach to send the first crux of 'Clach Dhian Chimney'

Day five, had myself and Jon J along with another Lodge staff climbing team wandering into Sneachda for an easier, shorter day. J.J. and I picked a line nether of us had done before –  ‘Sharks Fin Soup’. I made the mistake of saying “looks like a good laugh”! At V, 6 how hard could it be?! After several moves of rocking over on to my knees on thin insecure hooks, a move above my gear and above a slab that had me cutting loose with both feet, I was starting to question the grade. Maybe it ‘s just early season conditions and it needs more of a build up and some useful neve, or maybe I need to man-up and take some bravery pills! Whichever, it was a top route that packed a punch for a short pitch.

Corrie an t-Sneachda on Sunday 18th of Dec

Off out for a scratch about tomorrow, need to make the most of it before the turbo thaw kicks in 😦

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