Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Great Climb

Sron Uladail - in the rain as usual

Today Dave MacLeod & Tim Emmett attempted a hard first ascent on the 600' overhanging Sron Uladail on the Isle of Harris, live in front of the cameras. This BBC open air broadcast harks back to the days of Bonnington, Patey and co on the Old Man of Hoy in 1967 which attracted 15 million viewers. The epic today made gripping viewing with heavy rain, wind, falls (and some truly shocking belaying) with the outcome in doubt to the very end. The route climbed through extremely steep terrain with the whole crag overhanging 150' in 600 feet. An amazing effort by the Dave, Tim and the whole camera team. You can watch the whole five and a half hours again on the BBC iPlayer

Kite Surfing

Gary in action from the NW Kitesurfing website.

With a view to using kites on polar journeys in the future I headed down to Walney Island to complete a kite surfing course with Gary at North West Kitesurfing. Conditions were far from ideal with 20 knot winds gusting to 28 but it did give us plenty of practice at water launches in the afternoon. The initial sessions were on dry land with 1.5m two string kites to introduce and develop kite control. We also looked at rigging and emergency pack ups with the larger LEIs we'd be using. After lunch we moved into the water exploring water launches and body dragging. Even a relatively small 7m canopy was enough to drag two of us through the water with plenty of speed - until the harness attachment broke in a particularly violent gust!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Outward Bound

Canoe sailing down Ullswater

This week I've been back working on a personal development course for Outward Bound Ullswater, my old stomping ground. I've had 8 youngsters on an Adventure week aiming to stretch and challenge them and introduce some useful life skills. A couple of highlights have been canoe sailing down Ullswater in a good force 4, battling high water levels in Glenridding Beck and a stunning camp on the summit of Helvellyn after a challenging days walk. All in all a great week and great to have the opportunity to do this sort of work again.

A stunning camp on the top of Helvellyn

Helvellyn sunset

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Khan Tengri (7000m)

Khan Tengri bathed in evening light after a storm

Teams on the infamous snow arete high on Chapeyev

Salam moving up to Camp 3 - over the summit of Chapeyev

The first rocky step below the summit of Chapeyev

Enjoying the view from the summit of Chapeyev for the 2nd time

The descent to Camp 3 from the summit of Chapeyev

Camp 3 - All looking good for our summit attempt the following day

Camp 3 three days later as we aborted our attempt

Over Chapeyev in gale force winds

Salam descending the final rock step

A 12 hour descent of the fixed lines

The storm clears off Khan Tengri as we descend

The final heavily laden descent to the glacier

A great BBQ on a lovely summers evening!

Plenty of chicken with a token vegetable kebab!

Our taxi home

A final view of Khan Tengri

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Pk Chapayev (6200m)

Camp 2 below Khan Tengri

Khan Tengri at sunset

Crossing melt water streams on the glacier

Avalanche debris on the way to Camp 1

Approaching the start of the fixed lines

The long pull up to Camp 1

The fixed lines doing their job!

The crux rock step below Camp 2

The location of the AP brochure cover (2008 & 2009)

The infamous snow arete on summit day

The summit day route through the rock bands

Jason & Geoff in the rock band on summit day

The view of Khan Tengri from the summit of Pk Chapayev (6200m)

The whole team on the summit of Pk Chapeyev

The true summit of Chapeyev

Descending back towards Camp 2

The snow arete in the evening light

Final few meters back to Camp 2 late in the day

Khan Tengri on a perfect evening

The end of a long day...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Walking the Amazon

Ed Stafford from the Walking the Amazon website

Ed Stafford has finally completed his epic journey, walking the length of the Amazon. This stunning expedition took him a total of 859 days and is fully described through his blogs on his Walking the Amazon site which I've been following with interest. This is an amazing achievement which has taken a huge amount of commitment and self determination to complete. I had the pleasure of teaching Ed on a winter mountaineering course a number of years ago - not much use in the jungle but I hope it helped a little bit as he and Luke Collier climbed to the source of the Amazon, the summit of the 5597m Nevado Mismi at the beginning of their journey. Huge congratulations to Ed.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Training & Acclimatisation

A classic Khan Tengri sunset.

Fixed line practice on the glacier.

Tough job Darach!

Base camp below Khan Tengri.

The North Inylchek Glacier.

Heading towards the acclimatisation peak.

An unusual view of Khan Tengri from the east.

Relaxing at ABC.

Heading back down to BC.

Khan Tengri & the NE Ridge of Chapayev

Khan Tengri (7010m) & Pk Chapeyev (6200m)

Care needed on the glaciers!

A final acclimatisation walk.

Polish double boots for a 7000m peak - Nepal's with layers of Gaffa tape!