Climbing Group (Franco, Dave, Val, Matt)
On Friday we learnt some techniques on the west face of Anoach Mor, after catching the Gondala up. Very warm and very little snow.
On Saturday we all went up the north face of Ben Nevis, shortening our walk in by some rally driving of the minbuses up a stony track. The Reno struggled with its front wheel drive, and it took Franco 3 attempts to get up one hill. But considering the damage it had already suffered, we weren't too concerned. Once at the Ben, we ascended number 3 gully, and got to place some ice screws.
Nick and Damo
Got guided up a hariy grade 4 by IFMG As? in training, who then ran off to rescue someone with Nick and Damo's gear. Unfortunately the person later died (as far as we know - but unable to find this on news), another reminder that what we do always requires care.
Damo and Franco set off early to do Aonach Eagach, taking rope and gear in case things were tricky. We were walking by 6.30am, as there are many stories of it taking a long time in winter conditions. However, it wasn't winter condtions, just a a summer scramble no worse than Skye. Except for one bit when we came of the the ridge, it was fine and we were down by 1.30pm.
Impatient to get off, the Reno picked up the last group down from the bottom of Buchallie Etive Beag and then set off striaght for Nottingham, allowing them to change at a service station. Catching the LDV that was an hour ahead of us, we were all back in Nottingham by a very early 10.30pm.
Winter Skills 2006. A students perspective of the beginners course…..
Thursday 2nd February
Hooray! Another 10 hours cramped in that freezing minibus. At least one of them is a Renault and actually has a motor more powerful than a lawnmower engine. Is there any room for me in this one?
Shit. That means that I’m in the bus with Nick and Fabian driving. I think I’ll need psychiatric help before we even get there - 10 hours of power ballads and Dire bloody Straits. Still, at least those in the other bus, “Damo’s dance bus” will only get to listen to half of each song before Damian gets bored and flicks to the next one. And what is it about committee choosing the music? Useless sods. They do bugger all anyway. Think I’ll run for committee at the next elections. Hmmm. Easy life.
Blimey – they are listening to U2 and Faithless. Awesome! This trip looks like it’s gonna be really cool despite the lack of snow in Scotland. Hmmm. Still a bit bored though and I know Ste will be talking about his sex life for the next 8 hours. I know, perhaps if I read FHM I’ll not go insane and it’ll take my mind off things.
Kwwwoooah! She’s bloody gorgeo…. Nope, I’d better not read that. Certainly not while going over speed bumps. Oh god. They are listening to power ballads now! Nick’s singing along to it!
Gimme strength! Damo! All’s forgiven, please please let me change buses and I promise not to take the piss out of your CD mixing!
Suppose I should talk to someone instead. So have you ever done winter skills? No? Oh so you must be on the beginners course. I did it last year and it’s really … what? You’re doing the advanced course? Hehehe – I’m sure you’ll be fine. Yep, wearing jeans will also be fine I’m sure (phew – at least I won’t be the only one humiliated by the guides when they go through our kit).
Still, this trip is going to be awesome. Winter skills last year was fantastic. I sure loved hurling myself down that snow slope head first on my back practicing ice axe arrests. And let’s face it – Stob Corre nan Lochan must be one of the best places in the world. And we get to go up Aonach Mor in a gondola. Hmmm. I wonder if we get to the summit whether Damo will count that as a proper bag?
Friday 3rd February
Right. Nearly there. Thank god – Any more crap music and I think I’ll have a seizure. I’ve gotta be strategic about this. I cannot end up next to Fabian as he snores like a space launch. Aha! I have an idea, some of these newbies don’t know that he snores (someone should come up with a new word to describe his snoring. It’s beyond snoring really), see if I can get one of them next to him. Right, we’re there. Get ready – run to the bunks! How the hell did everyone get here so fast? Just coz their bus had a decent engine and is in a good condit….Who crashed it? Damo? Oh dear oh dear!
Right. Sleeping arrangements. Drat! There’s virtually no spaces left. Right. This will have to do. Just so long as Fabian… oh F*CK. Bang goes any sleep. At least I can honour our missing Adam and punch him when he snores. Right. Gotta get to sleep. It’s what 3am? Right so that’s at least…..
Damo! You’ve gotta be joking? We’re getting up at 6:30am???
Ugh. Got no sleep. Fist hurts. Just hope his arm hurts too. How on Earth can anyone snore like that? Right breakfast. Have I got all my kit? Yep. Sorted. I hope she’s on my course – she’s pretty cute…
Right. 40 min drive to Fort William then hopefully unlike last year we won’t get lost and will actually arrive on time. Christ, it’s still pitch black out there. What kind of an ungodly time is this?
OK. Got here at last. So, who’s on my intermediate course? Hmmm. This is going to be interesting. Damn shame that she’s not on the same course as me as she’s got a great … Jesus dude – watch where you put that damned ice axe! Muppet.
Right. Here goes the ritual kit inspection and subsequent humiliation. Yep, I know what a rucksack is. Nope I don’t want to get a mortgage to be able to buy that, yep I know it’s shit but it damn well works. Blimey – my gloves got the all clear at least. Hehehe – shall I tell him they were £2.99 from Wilkos? Oh, so I need about 10 sets of spares.
Of everything? Christ – how many accidents are you expecting us to have? They’re just trying to undermine our confidence that’s all. Be strong. Stand up to them. Don’t let them destroy us!
Right. Off to Aonach Mor gondola – awesome!
Aha! Fabian is terrified of gondolas. Must ensure I’m in the same one as his and start rocking it.
Jesus H Christ on a skidoo – there really is no snow here. If our leader calls us “team” one more time I think I’m gonna scream. OK. Why is he making us put crampons on? There’s a square millimetre of ice that I can see and that’s it! Oh fair enough, that looks really cool. Sheet ice to scramble up! Lunch then…oh wicked! That gully looks awesome! We’re all roping up? All 13 of us? On three ropes? Wicked! I could solo that easily but hey – we need to be a “team”.
Wow! Is that Ben Nevis? The North face? Scotland really is fantastic and what an amazing cloud inversion. Our “team” leader will probably cry but I’m bloody well bagging Aonach Mor. Bagged! And here’s Nick and Damo! Hey guys – even though we took the gondola, will this count as a bagged munro? AWESOME!!
Oh shit – there is another mountaineer in trouble. We should go and help really if we can.
Luke – I really would not bum-slide down that – there’s far too many rocks! Oh dear – someone’s gonna have a sore arse!
Cool. Suddards is going to cook haggis. Apparently he’s even been hunting them in the wild too! Then the pub. Brilliant Nick and Franco are driving. Bloody hell I’m knackered though and we’ve gotta be up at 6:30 again tomorrow morning
Saturday 4th February
Why did I end up sleeping in the same row as Fabian, Sudds and Rudolph – blimey they all snore! Right. Today is going to be awesome. We’re all going to climb the north face of Ben Nevis! That is after the poo’ing possee get out of the loos. Blimey? What the hell are they dumping?
Poor Franco cannot get up that hill in the bus. Hehehe – he’s going to have to unload everyone and then…woah! Rocket up there!
Blimey – long slog in and that was a long slog up to the snow line and wicked! That gully looks superb. Great snow conditions and even – wow – a view! And we get to bag Ben Nevis (yeah yeah Fabian – I know you’ve bagged it before).
That was awesome! At the top of the UK! What a trip! Even though there’s not much snow – this is fantastic!
Easy if boring slog down the tourist path. Hehehe those guys we passed coming up looked a bit nervous that we were carrying ice axes. I wonder whether they have ever even been on a mountain before!
Right. As it’s Steve’s birthday, Fabo is ordering us to buy beer. Excellent! And that’s out winter skills training done. Franco and Damo are thinking of doing the Aonach Eagach ridge tomorrow. Think I may join them. What? You’re getting up at 5am? I may go on another walk.
Fabo’s pissed. So is Steve! What a bunch of piss heads!
|north face of ben nevis|
Sunday 5th February
Why oh why did I drink last night. Do I stay in bed or do I go on a walk? I’ll go on a walk. Etive Mor or Beag? Does not really matter. They both have paths. Shame that old cow of an owner (is that a moustache she has?) has turfed us out early. At least we can get on the road quickly and back home!