New Year 2012/13 – Aconcagua

No Comments Written by Tam on 12/01/2013 in past expeditions.

Not long after finishing the epic cycling trip through the Andes, we headed back up to Mendoza to attempt to reach the summit of Aconcagua. The season to date had been very unsettled with unusually high winds, but they dropped and gave us a reasonable shot. Rapid ascent through the higher camps, however, left me struggling with the altitude and so I called it a day at camp 3 (6000m). It still made for an awesome adventure, and I have every intention of returning in the next couple of years for another shot. I used 7summits who actually use the local guiding, porters and facilities of Aymara… all excellent and if I can get a different schedule (better acclimatisation) I’d use them again.

My blog for the duration is archived and photos will be up soon.

Aug – Dec 2012 – The Andes Trail, South America

One Comment Written by Tam on 12/01/2013 in past expeditions.

With a generous leave of absence of 6 months (thanks boss!) I got the opportunity to join Bike Dreams for their Andes Trail 2012 tour of South America – starting at the equator, just north of Quito in Ecuador, and finishing after 138 days, 106 stages, 108,036 metres of climbing, and 10,937 km, through 5 countries, at Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of Argentina.

Obviously I didn’t walk this one, but took my mountain bike, and saw so much of an amazing mountain chain, different countries, cultures, food, drinks, scenery, weather, temperatures, met some fantastic people, and learnt a lot. My blog for the duration is archived, and photos will be up shortly.

Dec 2011 – Playing in the snow/ice on Cairn Gorm, Meall Chuaich, Ben Nevis and Ice Factor, Scotland

No Comments Written by Tam on 24/12/2011 in past expeditions.
Roz heading up into the chimney

Tagged along with Rob and Rem, had some drinks and a day out with Roz and Jez, met up with Paul, and recovered Adie from some wildcamping with Owen and Lewis, for some fun in Scotland just prior to the xmas thaw.

Sunday 18th – The Runnel, II **, Coire an t-Sneachda, Cairn Gorm;
Monday 19th – Meall Chuaich (951m) from the A9;
Tuesday 20th – Ledge Route, II ***, Ben Nevis;
Thursday 22nd – playing in the Ice Factor, Kinlochleven.

Oct 2011 – Sierra Nevadas, South East Spain

No Comments Written by Tam on 29/10/2011 in past expeditions.
Adie, path behind

Adie and I headed out on a rehab trip to make sure my knee was fixed and to see how much snow was about yet in the Sierras at this time of year. The answer is: enough to make the ridges tricky, and not enough to make them easy to walk over the tops of ;( Had a couple of crappy weather days but still a good bit of blue sky and sunshine, a couple of sub-zero nights out under canvas, and topped off with a proper blizzard night out. Made it up over 3000m, checked out some of the unusual SN mountain huts (and ruins of some of the older ones), gained a new appreciation for why the range is often compared to Scotland in terms of weather conditions, and made it out alive. Plus my knee did just fine.

New year 2010 – Glen Affric (ish), Highlands

No Comments Written by Tam on 03/01/2011 in past expeditions.
[Day 3] Mountaineer Liz on the ascent onto the Mam Sodhail ridge

Spent a week at the Old Stables in Glen Urqhart just north of Loch Ness with Tarquin, Ness, Liz, Nick, Sarah, Rich, Ben, Rachel and Sarah. Despite the cold temperatures the previous week, it was really quite warm and no decent snow below about 900m. Still had some fun and found some good snow on the tops. Ticked 7 munros.

Wednesday 29th – Toll Creagach (1053m) and Tom Choinich (1112m) from Loch Beinn a Meadhoin;
Thursday 30th – Sgurr na Lapaich (1150m) and Carn nan Gobhar (992m) from Loch Mullardoch;
Friday 31st – Mam Sodhail (1118m) from the eastern edge of Loch Affric;
Sunday 2nd – (Glen Shiel) A’Chralaig (1120m) and Mullach Fraoch Choire (1102m) from Loch Cluanie;
Monday 3rd – Sgorr na Diollaid (818m) from River Cannich.

November 2010 – Helvellyn via Striding Edge, Lakes

No Comments Written by Tam on 21/11/2010 in past expeditions.
looking over the tents up Sticks Gill

Adie, Ste, Tom and I went for a quick 2 day stroll up a slightly snowy Striding Edge onto Helvellyn, then across the tops for a wildcamp by Sticks Gill. Woke up to a light dusting and quite chilly temperatures before wandering back out to Patterdale for a pub lunch. My new -15C PHD Hispar 500 sleeping bag passed with flying colours!

Aug / Sept 2010 – Alta Via 2, Dolomites, Italy

No Comments Written by Tam on 10/09/2010 in past expeditions.

Adie and I headed over to the Dolomites in north east Italy for a bit of via ferrata fun on Alta Via 2. It’s a good idea not to try these routes early in the season, especially #2 which is ~2500m and so many of the passes are susceptable to lots of snow/ice and are steep and tricky when slippery. That said, leaving it so late we caught a few early snowfalls and noticed a lot of ice, especially early in the mornings on the higher cols. The steep-sided, exposed narrow ledges (not always “aided” with hand-rail cables) are not really ideal for wet/icy conditions, especially if you’re a bit chicken like me. We got rained off the last couple of days, but otherwise had an awesome time as the blog updates and photos should reflect :) We’ll no doubt go back and finish the last couple of days, either when we go walk AV1 (which is apparently equally as fun but slightly less exposed and on average 1000m lower) or when we’re next in the Alps or so and have a couple of spare days.

July 2010 – MSR CR2 test drive over Scafell Pike, SW Lakes

No Comments Written by Tam on 25/07/2010 in past expeditions.

With plans afoot to test my new MSR Carbon Reflex 2 lightweight 2-man tent on Dartmoor for the weekend, we realised, at 18:00 on Friday night, that we’d managed to pick the weekend of the DMM, so the moor was likely to be swarming and not quite as peaceful as we had hoped.

So the plan was revised and saw us driving for 6 hours to the Lakes on Saturday morning, through Ambleside and then Chapel Stile up to the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel where we left the car. We headed out up the Cumbria Way, then climbed steeply up the flooded paths past Angle Tarn (the other one), to finally pitch up overnight on the shoulder of Ill Crag at 935m. The morning saw the crappy, wet, windy, misty weather lift a little so a spectacular view of Scafell Pike (see thumbnail) appeared as we finished packing up and headed over to bag the summit first thing, before heading back past Langdale Pikes and down the Cumbria Way in good time for the drive back home. GPX track and route analysis if you’re interested.

Conclusion: the tent is pretty cool, once we’d finished tweaking it and got it pitched right (well, Adie did while I made treats), although I wouldn’t generally take it out quite so high, in quite such crap weather, or pitch it anywhere particularly exposed. My ME Dragonfly 2XT is still my tent of choice for now. Mr MSR is relegated to competitions, or particularly gentle conditions.

June 2010 – Summer solstice overnighter, Edale

No Comments Written by Tam on 23/07/2010 in past expeditions.

On Saturday night (19 June), Adie and I set off from Edale train station at about 20:20, with a plan to make the most of the (nearly) shortest night of the year with a long walk through the night with headtorches, to mostly test the navigational skills… We headed out along the Pennine Way (with a few tasteful variants, e.g. climbing onto Kinder Scout NOT via Jacob’s Ladder), with a final detour off the Way after Laddow Rocks, across to Chew Reservoir, then out to Dad’s house for a much needed morning nap in Uppermill. Fortunately made it across the Kinder plateau before dark, and only really needed torches from 23:30 until about 03:30, when we had “breakfast” overlooking the Crowden in Longdendale reservoirs.

Total distance: ~23.5 miles; total time: ~11.5hrs; total climb: ~1400m; the gpx track and route analysis show a fairly good, steady pace and a couple of minor detours 😉

May 2010 – Spring BH weekend, Ben Lawers

No Comments Written by Tam on 01/06/2010 in past expeditions.
looking back at the descent off An Stuc as the guys climb onto Ben Lawers

Adie, Ben, Chromakey, Tom, Alexis, Joanna and I went back up to Ben Lawers with less snow around to conquer the ridge. We camped out for 2 nights on the two main cols and had a fairly leisurely time bagging 5 peaks – Meall Greigh (1001m), Meall Garbh (1118m), An Stuc (1118m), Ben Lawers (1214m) and Beinn Ghlas (1066m). A fun time all round, despite the rather nasty weather, and the sun just coming out to taunt us once safely down in the campsite…