After two days of walking and a day cycling we had one day with some mild dampness, before another sustained spell of good weather. We took this as a good opportunity to enjoy a rest day before heading out for dinner. The next morning we woke up to a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky and without a breath of wind, we quickly decided it was too hot to go walking and we needed to go and get some brunch (definitely not the wine…). As the day continued to heat up, we did indeed decide that it was too hot to enjoy walking, but we could make the most of the conditions by waiting for it to cool down before climbing Conival and sleeping on the summit.
Due to the lack of phone reception we didn’t actually realise that it was forecast to be 30 degrees, or that the far north of Scotland was the hottest place in the UK. We left the car park after 7pm, and the walk up still felt brutally hot. I am pretty sure I have never been hotter walking, even in the alps! Eventually we made it up to the location where we needed to collect water, which gave us a good excuse for a rest but thankfully was also where we found a light breeze. This breeze enabled us to make quick time up to the summit, we arrived just before sunset at 10pm.
The sunset was beautiful, and it was great to be able to enjoy it on the top of the mountain without worrying about the walk down. After some horrible dehydrated meal we went to bed at around midnight, which was a bit surreal as it was still light enough not to need a head torch. The alarms were duly set for 4:20 in order to walk up for sunrise, which was a tad unpleasant! The beautiful sunrise did make the brief early start worthwhile.
Our second wake up was at a far more appropriate time, after a quick breakfast due to running out of gas we headed for the second summit which looked like it was only a short distance away. This was deceptive as it was far further than it looked and the ground was such that progress was fairly slow. After longer than expected we made it back to our bags on the summit of Conival and were able to enjoy some water! During the descent it became unbearably hot as yet again there was not a breath of wind. I was not at all envious of the people climbing the mountain!
By the time we made it back down the valley we were both feeling pretty hot and bothered, so elected to make use of the cold stream to wash and cool down which was fairly refreshing.
Looking up towards Conival
Just in time for sunset
Becky on the summit
Sunrise from the tent
Hot on the walk to Ben More Assynt
Becky on Ben More Assynt
Descending from Conival
Another hot day
Descending into the heat
We have recently got back from a trip to the far North of Scotland where we were Munro bagging and road biking. Initially we headed up about as far north as it is possible to go in Scotland to climb Ben Klibreck and Ben Hope. These are often climbed in a single day, as they are both relatively short days and are close together by road. Thankfully the weather saved us from having an epic day climbing both, as we had two days in a row with good weather in the morning and rain forecast in the afternoon.
Ben Klibreck was an enjoyable walk which followed a natural ridge line up, with a feint path for most of the way. The views from the top were very different to most of Scotland, with lots of moorland combined with the views of Ben Hope, Ben Loyal and Ben Mor Assynt.
Ben Hope was a very dull peak, but not as bad as Mount Keen! It was again another early start due to forecast rain, although it never materialised. The walk up was fairly harsh with lots of ascent in a very short distance, on a generally good path. At least the views from the top and on the way back down were excellent, and the descent was quick!
After making quick work of Ben Hope we chilled out at the van for a bit before deciding to drive around the north coast of Scotland for a bit to explore. After a huge loop and about 3 hours driving we eventually ended up almost back where we started so that we could go cycling.
Becky walking up Ben Klibreck
Near the summit of Ben Klibreck
Looking north from Ben Klibreck
Looking towards Ben Loyal
Becky on the summit of Ben Klibreck
Looking towards Ben More Assynt
Becky walking up Ben Hope
Becky on the summit of Ben Hope
Descending from Ben Hope
Descending from Ben Hope
While there is lots of excellent single pitch sport routes in the Costa Blanca, it is also an excellent destination for bolted multi pitch. This year we didn’t climb as many multi pitch routes when compared to last year, but the quality of the routes that we did climb was excellent.
After landing at Alicante we headed down south to Leyva, which is a spectacular mountain crag above a forrest filled valley. It is more famous for some of the harder routes, but there is an excellent mid grade route called Carillo-Cantabella. It is a five pitch f5+ with two pitches of f5+ and the rest being slightly easier.
The bolting on the route was excellent, and the climbing was interesting with a technical sequence though the crux and un unexpected steep corner at the finish.
Becky on the crux pitch
Becky on the crux pitch
Becky on the final pitch
Looking back up at the crag
On the last day of the trip we headed to Marin which is 45mins away from Alicante airport. This was an excellent destination for quality lower grade short multi pitch routes, as the crag had a plentiful supply of 2 pitch bolted routes between f4 and f6a. We climbed the class f4 Jhony, which climbed an exposed arete and was mostly unpolished and contained some excellent climbing, and then we climbed another route in the same are called Prats which was f4+ which had some surprising climbing for the grade.
Becky leading Jhony
Becky leading Jhony
It isn’t often that a long easy rock route is quite as striking as the like of Espolón Central on Puig Campana. From the valley the climb follows the obvious ridge of rock up the centre of the rock face, which looks improbable at the grade of Hard Severe from the valley.
We set off on a beautiful misty morning which gave us a beautiful inversion at the start of the walk. We had a bit of a navigational error at the start which meant that we had an unnecessarily hard time getting up onto the plateau, however we made good time up to the crag and found other teams in front of us on the route.
By the time we had geared up the first pitch was free, and we didn’t need to queue again for the entire day. The climb started as it meant to carry on, with excellent well protected climbing which was interesting but not too difficult. The first five pitches gain the rocky spur at the base of the main ridge, then the next nine pitches headed straight up the main ridge. This section was the highlight with every pitch having interesting climbing with fantastic exposure, which is rare for easy multi pitch routes as they are often fairly broken with short sections of good climbing.
It was a very sunny day and we slightly underestimated our water requirements, it turns out that unsurprisingly 2l of water between us was not enough! It was hot enough that even the Spanish climbers were complaining about the heat.
The descent was quite exciting with a long and exposed traverse which was sometime protected by a fixed wire all the way across the top of the crag to get to the walkers path, which descended directly down an unpleasant scree slope. By the time we eventually got back to the car we were both very dehydrated and glad for the extra water that we had left in the car, although maybe it would have been better to carry it!
Morning mist inversion
Looking up at the route
Hot walk into the crag
Becky at the top of P3
Superb climbing on P5
At the top of another brilliant pitch
A long way back down
Looking up at the route in the evening light
Becky in front of the route