Sandy Paterson Mountaineering

This is a blog of my personal and work climbing along with all the other things I do in the outdoors. Please feel free to have a look at my main website.

Over winter I will try and blog at the end of each week, however I will aim to tweet each day so feel free to follow me @SandyPMIC

Tuesday 30 November 2010

Last few places left on winter courses

Places on my open winter courses are now booking up quiet quickly. Below is what is left so please get in touch if you are interested.

Info and dates are also on the website You can also download PDF's from the website by clicking on the course name.

As always I also offer bespoke guiding and instruction so if you don't see what you want please just drop me a line

Winter Skills Weekend 2 Day Course (£150 per person)
- 8th to 9th January 2011 - 4 Places Left
- 12th to 13th March 2011 - 4 Places Left

Winter Mountaineering 3 Day Course (£325 per person)
- 6th to 8th December 2010 - FULL
- 26th to 28th January 2011- 2 Places Left
- 21st to 23rd March 2011 - 2 Places Left

Winter Climbing 3 Day Course (£350 per person)
- 27th to 29th December 2010 - FULL
- 12th to 14th January 2011 - FULL

Sunday 28 November 2010

Snowed in!

Deep snow on the coast!
There has been an incredible amount of snow on the east coast over the last 4 days. I have not made it anywhere near the mountains in the last 3 days as just getting to Elgin normally 10 minutes in the car took 40 minutes on Saturday! Laura and I went out for a potter on the skis today just to get some fresh air.

Both Cairngorm and the Lecht were storm bound today but I imagine when they open the skiing will be awesome. Fingers crossed the roads will be cleared by Tuesday for some skiing.

West Highland College Navigation

Ben Nevis from Cow Hill
I was working for West Highland College last week across in Fort William. I spent some time out with both the 1st and 2nd year students looking at Navigation. Both groups have an assessment coming up in the next week or two so we were doing some fine tuning of skills already learnt.

The west has not had nearly as much snow as the east and the climbing conditions are reported to be great (although I have not been climbing across west yet!). Bill climbed West Chimney on Saturday and reported great conditions and I know many of the mixed routes have been done on Ben Nevis.

The east is very much buried under the snow and my mountain biking that I have planned for last Friday was cancelled!

Monday 22 November 2010

Lots of Snow

There is loads of snow around in the Cairngorms at present, but not all of it is great for climbing. Reports of the cornices building and causing problems above The Runnel area. Lots of unconsolidated snow on Yukon Jack on the Mess of Pottage, with same being reported form The Milky Way in Lochan.

Reports from the slopes are that the skiing conditions are quite good so may be skiing should be first choice at present! The forecast is for cold weather to continue for another 10 to 14 days at least with more snow in the east and less in the west.

I am off to the west coast for work at West Highland College tomorrow, summer hill skills, should be interesting!

Saturday 20 November 2010

Early start for - Snow and Avalanche Reports

The SAIS have decided to start early this year the below is from their blog

In view of the current  snow cover and weather forecast the SAIS will be providing weekend Avalanche Hazard reports for the Lochaber and Northern Cairngorms areas until the full service starts on the 16th December 2010.

The conditions still seem fairly good for early season on the Northern Corries with the snow starting to settle down a little after the mid week instability. Sneachda was quiet yesterday when Monty was in climbing Hidden Chimney with John.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Cairngorms Conditions

I have been stuck at home over the last few days with a stinking cold but thought I would report back on what conditions have been found in the Cairngorms so far this week.

Lots of routes have been done in the Northern Corries so far including Original Route, The Seam, Fingers Ridge, The Message, Savage Slit, Deep Throat etc. However the easier routes are mainly buried under unconsolidated powder at present and will need some good freeze thaw to bring them into condition.

The weather over the last few days has been good in the mountains but strong winds have now returned (100mph today) and it will start to move the already unstable snow around even more. There have been reports of a fair bit of avalanche activity already with a slide coming out from below Goat Track Gully and the Cas Head Wall releasing as well.

So there is plenty to go at in the Cairngorms but route choice is as ever critical.

Monday 15 November 2010

Mountain Safety Weekend

Scotland at 4pm!

I spent the weekend at Glenmore Lodge working on the Mountaineering Coucil of Scotlands Student Safety Weekend. This is normally a great fun weekend with loads of students keen to get some top tips, as well as being a great chance to catch up with some other instructors I have not seen for a while and this year was not exception.

On Friday I a gave a talk about the qualifications structure and looked at some scrambling ropework skills in the morning and then in the afternoon took a group out navigating. On Sunday I was joined by a pair of students form the Aberdeens Larig Mountaineering Club (I was once a member!) and we spent the day in and around Glenmore Lodge looking at introductory rock climbing skills. During the course of the day we covered tying on, belaying, attaching ourselves to a belay, placing and removing gear, abseiling and movement coaching.

Friday 12 November 2010

New Logo for the Van!

I have been in Inverness this morning getting my logo on the van! The weather has turned stormy again in the Mountains, however there has been a fair bit of snow put down. Conditions reports are suggesting that it is hard going in the lee areas as the snow is deep and that turf that has been covered by the snow is still not frozen, so pick your routes carefully if you are heading out this weekend.

I am off to Glenmore Lodge to work on the M C of S Student Safety Weekend. It is always a good weekend for catching up with other instructors and passing on some knowledge and skills to the Students of various Scottish University Mountaineering Clubs. Saturday will be spent in and around Glenmore Lodge and then on Sunday I will be out somewhere rock climbing (which could be a little chilly!).

I am hoping to get out next week to get my first winter route of the season done!

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Summer Mountain Leader Training

I will be offering Summer Mountain Leader Training courses in conjunction with Bill Strachan (MIC) at 'Scotch on the Rocks Guiding' next summer and we have just set our first course date for the 24th to 29th April 2011.

For more information please have a look here or just drop me a line at

More dates will be released over the next few weeks.

I wish I could bike like this!

Almost too amazing to be true. I love the people who look on in total amazement in the back ground!

Monday 8 November 2010

Snowing in the Cairngorms

MLTS Workshop

The Northern Corries from Glenmore Lodge

Stunning views across Loch Morlich

I was at Glenmore Lodge yesterday for the Mountain Leader Training Scotland SPA and CWA workshop. This was a great chance to discuss issues with the two awards and share some ideas with others who run and work on these courses. We spent the morning discussing various topics and then spent the afternoon in the climbing wall looking an topics in the Climbing Wall Award including the teaching to lead falling and belaying to clients on the Climbing Wall Leading Award.

It was a cracking day outside with a good dusting of snow in the Cairngorms and a number of routes being done. It is a little wild in the mountains today but more snow is forecast and it looks like there will be a lull in the winds on Tuesday and Wednesday before it all gets a little wild again over the weekend.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Half Term Holiday - Open Boat Paddling and Biking

As it was Laura's half term holiday last week we managed to get some open boat paddling in. Neither of us had ever done any open boating before but we thought it would be a great way to travel so we booked 3 days instruction with Dave Rossetter (Standing Waves We had a great three days (even though the weather was aweful!) paddling on the lochs and rivers around Callander. I can happily recommend Dave as a coach if you fancy some open boat instruction in the future.

Once home we managed so squeeze one more bike trip in before Laura had to go back to work. On Sunday we headed out to Gleann Einich from Aviemore, this gives a good 30km trip which is fairly non technical (rough land rover track) with the odd river to cross (stepping stones in place). It takes you deep into the Cairngorms and some stunning scenery.

Pentland's Biking

Laura and I managed to squeeze in a mornings biking on Tuesday 26th October before heading into Edinburgh for lunch with my parents!

We headed to the Pentland Hill just south of Edinburgh and parked at the Harlaw Ranger Base car park and did a 18km loop south from here via Glencourse Reservoir. The Pentlands do not have that many tracks that are set up for mountain biking however they do offer a good half days exercise. If you want more info then pop into the Ranger Base and they will show you some good routes.

As a quick plug if you are local to Edinburgh and use the Pentland Hills then the 'Friends of the Pentlands' is a great organisation that help maintain and raise awareness for the Pentlands -