Friday, 28 February 2014

Winter Climbing Course. Ben Nevis and The Dragon's Tooth.

A few shots from working in the mountains over last two days. The snow continues to fall and the temperatures are coming down, the snow pack is consolidating and the sky is promised to be blue tomorrow, fingers crossed. The last two day's theme and brief has been Winter Lead Climbing and all things mountaineering. It has been a great week in the hills and my legs can testify to that. Have a good fun and safe weekend out there.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A busy few days working on the hills.

Over the last few days Hebridean Pursuits
have had a variety of courses running in Glencoe and the Cairngorms. A two day Winter Skills Course based in the Cairngorms. A winter navigation course in Glencoe and today we were out working for Glencoe Climbing in yes, you got it, Glencoe. A mix of weather has been thrown at us, yet our instructors have all made good sound judgments on locations and content and consequently everyone has max out on learning experiences. A few photos from these courses.

Friday, 21 February 2014

A very large avalanche has released in Coire Na Tulaich. Glencoe. In last 24 hrs a huge avalanche has released in Coire Na Tulaich. It slid from approx 880 m to 450 m and is estimated to be 15 m deep. It is a sobering illustration that they do occur in Scotland and they can be massive! I often think I am over cautious when planning days out working or playing and considering where I will plan for working with clients but over the last week or so the wind, temperatures and snow fall have been conspiring to create perfect avalanche conditions. This is a well known spot for slides but this must be one of the largest seen here. I am grateful for all the science, funding and hard graft that goes into SAIS work. Thanks guys keep the info coming.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A very wet day for instructing in the mountains today.

Stance management, single and double rope technique, escaping off routes and how to stay as dry as possible. A massive thaw was on today. I was expecting some fresh snow high up today but instead it just rained. If the temperature drops the snow pack will be in very good condition indeed. If it gets really cold the water courses will become fat with ice, if it does? We are looking forward to working in the Cairngorms this weekend running a Winter Mountain skills course with a school pupils and teachers group and on Monday we are back in Glencoe teaching winter navigation. A busy week follows with climbing and mountaineering courses until Friday. Fingers crossed the weather improves a little. After all working out in the hills winter deserves it!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Back to School! Tom and Richard's annual climbing course adventures.

Back to school! Leading, placing gear, building anchors and efficiency of movement were the themes of today on School House Ridge grade II. We were lucky enough to have some fabulous views today from the ridge which was plastered with snow. So rock and snow were utilized for anchors. There were a few folk out and some turned back on realizing this ridge is a climb not a walk, big respect to them as it is never easy retreating past others. Good to see Donald King descending out of the mist with a party after traversing the classic horse circuit. It is always pleasing to meet other instructors and guides working in similar areas. Tonight the weather is to change for the worse again, so watch out as the snow will become very wet indeed tomorrow and there are some very large cornices just itching to break off! We are out again tomorrow but tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Two day winter mountain skills course.

Hebridean Pursuits have been running a winter mountain skills course this weekend. Saturday was wild on the summits but by contrast today was near perfect on Garbh Bheinn.

Friday, 14 February 2014

'25 years of running Winter Mountain Courses'. Two photos of a painterly Glencoe from today.

A substantial thaw was on today in the Glencoe. Huge amounts of snow still remains above 650m. We do require a solid freeze to consolidate the amazing cover. We are out again tomorrow running our Silver Jubilee Winter Skills Course. Hard to believe that we have been running winter courses for 25 years.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Red Campion Gully. A good old fashioned winter adventure.

Here are a few images of the esoteric Red Campion Gully 300 m grade II we climbed in and around yesterday. I say around because the huge amount of snow in the gully line was rapidly becoming increasingly unstable. We encountered unprotected waterfall and rock sections, steep [just] frozen turf and copious amounts of deep snow. After about 200 m we escaped due to the fresh blown snow creating wind slab and on pitch three a small slab was triggered leaving a crown wall of about 8 inches high, it certainly gave a brief cause for concern. After which we climbed up on the small ridges lines that abound the face. After making an assessment of time and conditions under foot [very slow] we made an abseil off a good block and descended to easier ground as the weather increased in intensity and the snow fell hard to road level. A good old fashion day out or mountaineering and scratching around new areas. Please be careful out there at present and in the days to come. There is so much snow up there and it is building on all aspects. We thought a SE aspect would have been somewhat less troublesome but the wind has been depositing the snow in every aspect. Just shows it is only when you are there that you can really make the right choices on the best way to proceed and or escape.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

A few photos of my varied work so far this winter season. My 25th season for Hebridean Pursuits.

The fantastic aspect of working in the winter mountains of Scotland is the variety of landscape, conditions and clients we meet. Here are a few images from work so far this season. There is allot of winter to be experienced yet but so far we certainly have been kept on our toes! HPL offer open and closed courses. Call us or get in touch to discuss your specific ambitions whether it is a walking skills co
urse or a guided route.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Testing out Salomon Fury Sunglasses.

I have been asked to test and review these very cutting edge looking Salomon Fury sunglasses which are designed for summer and winter use. We have allot of winter at present and once the sun has returned I will write a review on these cool looking shades. You can get these sunglasses at

Another few days of wild weather at work in the mountains.

The last three days have been challenging high up in the mountains. The warm front has brought allot of rain today but over the weekend it snowed heavily again above 600 m. With a combination of 75 mph winds and driving snow it was at times brutal to be on the summits. In between the gusts it was extremely beautiful. A lull tomorrow and then another front will hurtle in form the south. Having said all that we have had some fantastic clients on a variety of skills courses and they have really had a blast. Check out Face Book page Hebridean Pursuits to see what we have been up to in detail. It goes without saying or it should,it is pretty tricky to walk in the knee deep snow at present and the avalanche hazards are high. Without an understanding of appropriate route choice or employing a qualified instructor or guide the hills are potentially dangerous at present. Please be careful out there.