Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scottish Bouldering

The caves at Cullen have seen some recent activity by John Brown who has an excellent set of photos on his Flickr site.

He climbed the entrance wall of the main cave, giving the new problem 'Cullen Skank', which wins my award for the best name so far this year!

Cullen Skank Font 7a FA John Brown 2009
St Loraine Black Lady's cavern (the one just behind St Duane's cave) - just to the right of the graffiti naming the cave. Standing start in a small slot and slopey crimp, up and vaguely right to finish high on two small crimps.

In Glen Nevis, Alan Cassidy was sheltering from a storm when he found a real bouldering gem in ahidden roof. After a quick brush and clean-up, he sent it down at 7b or thereabouts in his words, so expect some big power moves! Well worth seeking out apparently - look forward to finding it, Alan - I must have walked past it dozens of times!

The Hurricane Shelter Font 7b *** FA Alan Cassidy Jan 2009
On the path up to Sky Pilot, just above Cavalry Crack buttress. there is a flat grassy area. Above this is a large boulder forming a cave above a rocky ramp. This problem starts at the obvious blocky feature low on the the right and climbs the arete/lip in its entirity. Half way along the lip a tree forces a powerful reach to a good but sharp hold in the roof from where the lip can be regained (crux) and followed to a nice mantel out left.

Recently decanted from Ireland to Scotland, Pierre Fuentes, who writes a good blog, has been visiting the good and bad Scotland has to offer in terms of stones, though he's yet to visit the Northwest which bleaches out all else! Anyway, he thought Clova the highlight of the East Coast, maybe it's the homesickness for Glendalough and all those clustered stones? He reported one new problem, and thought maybe the grading needs revised overall... probably my own problems!

'Glen Clova was by far the best place in my opinion. Lots of cool problems in a beautiful valley full of silly sheep. Really great. It reminded me so much of Glendalough in Wicklow. We did most of the lines in the guidebook plus a few other ones that seem to have been cleaned. Also added a cool rockover on a boulder that's standing on top of another one (looks like a guy with a hat, video attached.) My brother called it the Bulgarian Lift, probably 6b although the grades there seem to be very soft.'

Pierre did a good introduction to Targassonne in France, available here at TheShortSpan.

In the Northwest, Richie Betts repeated Dave MacLeod's excellent sloper problem 'Changed Days' on the Russell Boulder at Applecross Kishorn. Here's the video:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dumbarton Facelift

What the cave gave up.

Strange what you find on a clean-up...

Is this Bigfoot?

Nice green hands...

Every bag you see is now gone.

Nice and clean!
Valentine's Day Massacre...

Dumby has been given a make-over and is now the pretty Valentine (if still a little messily made-up). 15 love-lorn climbers turned up and hoovered the place of its ned-ejecta, filling about 40 bags in three hours of work. The most common culprit was the beer can, the cider bottle and the poly bag, but we did find an abandoned but usable boulder-mat as booty. Seeing the place free of the eyesore of glass and can and plastic makes a real difference to your Dumby psyche... on a dry sunny day it will seem a much greener place. Thanks to all who turned up on a rather discouraging and dreich  day - you can take pride in a resurrected little corner of paradise! We will keep on top of the litter this year and have another session end of the season...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dumby Clean Up

Due to iffy weather, peoples' busy diaries and someone complaining about something called 'Valentine's Day', I would suggest that we see the Dumby Clean-Up as an ongoing February/March weekend thing.

Following on from Niall McNair's efforts last week we'll be out in force on Saturday 14th AND Sunday 15th (this weekend), but I think it should be something we should 'add on' to bouldering sessions in the next month.

We will see some Saturday for the main lift, some  Sunday if you can make it as well... that gives everyone an opportunity to do their bit. We'll maybe even try to do something about the graffiti and tree pruning etc 

There is a skip outside the castle I believe, which Historic Scotland will let us use. Bring gloves, wellies and maybe a few of those big garden binliners would be best... I'll buy a batch in if anyone needs some on Sat/Sun... starting about 11am

So for the next few weekends at Dumby, 'warm-up with a clean-up'!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Southern Highlands Ice

On Sunday, with the temperatures plummeting after a small thaw, we took the chance to head up to the Beinn Dorain area on the hunt for some conditions for a short day. Noticing that Fahrenheit 451 was half formed up on Coire an Dothaidh, we risked a quick hopeful walk-in to Beinn Udlaidh. 

We had the corrie to ourselves but for obvious reasons...most of the ice routes were only half formed. There's been a lot of snow down feeding the ice falls with overnight freezes and daytime thaws: Sunshine Gully was banked out with snow and a dirty avalanche fan. Some cornices had collapsed leaving large icy boulder-debris and the other gullies were a bit lean, so we opted for a quick scoot up the grooves of Quartzvein Scoop (or Ice Crew more likely), which are quite reliable. The ice was good enough for an ascent though the cornice snow-bank was sugary. With the cold snowy weather over the coming week, this corrie should thicken up its ice-tongues into perfect nick...