Kevin Rutherford MIC

Hill and climbing conditions for the Scottish Highlands.

Winter Courses - Winter Skills, Winter Mountaineering, Winter Climbing & Norway Ice based in Rjukan

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Northern Corries

I spent Sunday and Monday working with returning clients Imperial College Mountaineering Club. Both days were spent in Coire an t Sneachda which was very busy and wintery. This is a bit of a fast track 2 days for the club members who all have summer rock climbing lead experience and some winter skills but not the norm for myself with regards to ratios. After the 2 days they then team up with more experienced members of the club and go off climbing being "competent 2nds"

Day 1, Weather and avalanche forecast, basic winter skills, movement skills on steeper ground, snow anchors, avalanche awareness, safe route choice. We spent a bit of time placing dead men/boys which is appropriate just now for the snowy conditions.
Day 2, We ascended Fiacaill Couloir in 2 teams looking at constructing winter anchors, rock, ice and snow. There is a bit of ice in the narrows which was great for looking at ice screw belays and placing screws on the lead and then a romp up the very snowy top half. We finished the 2 days navigating off the plateau in white out.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

North West

A few photos from yesterday with Giles and Al. Great to escape from the Northern Corries and even better to receive a text at 9am to say the ski road was closed due to stuck cars. A bit of an adventure with no real plan in place, great day out and the climbing so so.  The routes on Fuar Tholl didnt look in so we just kept walking along the great paths and ended up under the NW face of Sgorr Ruadh after about 7km/2.5hrs. Alot of huming and hawing, we eventually ended up climbing Splinter Ridge III/4 which was snowy, thin, a lot of loose rock and had the odd bit of frozen turf, early season conditions! Definately a venue for later on in the season with some amazing looking routes and great views towards Torridon.



Friday, 30 November 2012

Berghaus Testing

I have been working the last couple of days at Glenmore Lodge with staff from Berghaus and staff from outdoor shops all over the UK. By getting the shop staff together for a couple of days, it gives the Berghaus team a chance to update them on some of the new products in next years range, also to test them on the hill and give feedback. The new addition to their range and soon to follow with most other outdoor clothing companies is waterproof down. Berghaus have a hybrid synthetic/down jacket out this year which looked like it could be just the job for winter climbing and a reasonable price.

Wednesday was a poor viz day, great for practicing winter navigation and getting to grips with the deep soft snow, hard work travelling around. Although it felt cold things under foot were nt quite frozen. Thursday was a complete change with blue skies and very cold and more importantly easier to get about the hill as everything had froze. Climbing conditions looked like hard work with alot of rime on the buttresses and the gullies are filling up. Its snowing this morning at my house and it looks like the cold weather is to continue right through next week. Hopefully this will give a good base for the rest if the season whether your walking, climbing or skiing.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Cold Conditions

Cold today in the Cairngorms with a dusting of fresh snow and snow showers off and on this afternoon. I was working for Glenmore Lodge on an Advanced Navigation course and it was great to get some poor viz up on the plateau to practice some relocation skills. Climbing wise, the overnight frost has refroze the ground and the dusting of snow has brought a bit of a winter feel back to the corries. Hopefully we will get a bit more in the coming days.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Winter 2012/13

Well, winter 2012/13 has started but i dont know how long it will last looking at this coming weeks weather forecast, fingers crossed the cold spell will return next weekend. I had an enjoyable day today in Sneachdta with Iain and Giles on Burning and Looting V6. Considering the relatively good early conditions i was surprised how quiet it was, blue sky, very little wind....... what more could you ask for. Quite alot of icy seepage around which helps to give the crag a good base, the turf was well frozen.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Costa Blanca

Good to get some warm sun after the Summer we've had. Im just back from a week on the Costa Blanca working and having a bit of a holiday. I was working with St Aloysius College, we were based in Javea just north of Calpe which gave us quick access to some great venues, Gandia, Salem and Sierre de Toix.

I dont advertise trips to the Costa Blanca but if you are looking for some sun rock instruction, bolted or trad, please get in touch and ill be able to put together a package or just instruction.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Its been a busy Summer through the holidays and I think the weather is trying to hang on in there. Some photos below of a recent Learn to Lead course at Glenmore Lodge. A challenging week weather wise and alot of driving, thats rock climbing in Scotland but a chance to experience lots of different rock.

Friday, 15 June 2012


West is best just now and has been for the last 2/3 weeks, apart from the midges! Saturday was spent looking after Stirling Outdoor Activities group on the Inn Pinn and Sgurr Mic Connich.  I made 3 ascents taking 7 of the team up top, some of the group nearly finishing their round of the Munros and some on their 2nd and 3rd rounds, very impressive! I was surprised how quiet it was, we didnt have to queue.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Summer? ML Refresher

Some photos from the Cairngorms over the weekend. I was working for Glenmore Lodge on a Summer ML refresher. Saturday was spent in the Chalamain Gap looking at steep ground group management and ropework and on Sunday we navigated into and around Coire an Lochain. There is still good cover of firm snow around which looked better than what we had through the main winter months, the ski touring looked amazing.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Ben Nevis

I just spent an enjoyable weekend climbing on the Ben with returning client Colin.

Saturday - No3 Gully Buttress, after a wet and windy walkin we were surprised with the wintery look of coire na ciste. Although the bottom part of the route was still in condition the top half was thin and rocky with alot of loose blocks. The traverse was half complete with neve so we opted for a direct finish.

Sunday - Overnight heavy showers gave a dusting of snow down to 600m. Alot more folks around making for queues on what was left. We opted for Tower Ridge which was hard work with 2 to 3 inches of fresh snow covering rock with the odd few patchs of neve left. There were further heavy snow and hail showers during the day. Routes getting climbed - NE Buttress, Smiths, Indictator Wall, Tower Scoop, Tower Ridge, Cascade, and all the easy gullies, Slab Route. Hopefully winter will conitnue and having walked up on both days from the NF carpark..... im now resting my Easy Coast legs, until the weekend!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Winter ML Refresher

Working at Glenmore Lodge over the weekend on a ML refresher. Saturday was drizzly and damp with low cloud coming and going, we focused on navigation, teaching movement skills and self arrest. Sunday was spent on steep ground looking at group management, snow anchors and scenarios, the 2 days couldnt have been more different with colder temperatures and an overnight dusting of snow tranforming the northern corries. More snow please.... anything will do!