2015 Spring / Summer season has been a frustrating one for me. The main factor in this frustration has been a long standing injury preventing me from doing any real rock climbing. Considering last year was my best year on rock to date, this came as a real blow to the system both physically and psychologically. I have written about my injury on my blog (read it HERE) should anyone be interested but this aside I will aim to give a rundown of what else has been going on this season.
The mountains of Skye provide a large percentage of my summer work and this year was no different. What was significantly different to last year was the weather. It had to have been one of the coldest Spring seasons on record. Much of the main Cuillin traverse was still lying under patches of snow during April which dampened a few aspirations but still, most people had a good time even if they weren’t expecting to be wearing crampons! This year there were many failed attempts on the full traverse due to the adverse weather but that’s what makes success so prestigious. There were still alot of smiles shining from under battened down hoods and many clients managed to get Munro tops ticked even if they were braced against hail and howling gales.
The winter lingered on in Lochaber; most routes on the North Face of Ben Nevis were guarded by loads of snow right up until July. I experienced several days in crampons when I was expecting to be guiding on dry rock not ice! I guided Tower Ridge, Ledge Route, Curved Ridge several times and had lots of fun working in the sunshine on the Aonach Eagach too. During May I spent a week working with Bill Strachan providing a Summer Mountain Leader Training course for the West Highland College. I had looked forward to this for ages and really felt it was something I wanted to do more of, hopefully next year a similar opportunity will arise.
As I mentioned at the start of this blog, the whole season has been tarred by my back injury. It even put a stop to the annual Alpine trip; something I had been looking forward to all year. I did manage a couple of new routes down at Lochailort, one in particular – The Young Pretender (E4,6a) was most likely the highlight of my rock season.
Currently, I am almost four weeks post-op and I am feeling as keen as ever. I can’t wait to train hard for the coming winter season but the reality is I am still healing and have to put the brakes on occasionally to make sure I don’t do too much too soon.
Someone once said to me – ‘you don’t move to the Highlands to be a good rock climber, you move here to do battle with the winter’…….. And that, I cannot wait for!