Well ,here we are again , writing a blog about horrendous conditions in Scotland , its almost getting monotonous now . I could probably write the same blog every year and just change the dates each time I go up. But I shouldn’t complain , I’m always saying that you get the best images in extreme conditions so I should just suck it up and stop whining.
I was giving a talk and multi media show at the Fort William mountain festival as well as running a workshop so was up there for 4 days . Kev and I had also talked for a while about doing a film project and we managed to get some footage of Kev and Scott Muir , Kevs’ mentor, at Newtyle . The day we planned to get onto the N Ridge of Stob Bhan the wind was blowing gale force and the ridge was just unacceptably risky and there were avalanches aplenty in Glencoe and on the Ben so that was an early finish.
The day we planned to climb Scabbard Chimney was a pivotal moment for Kev, the walk in to Stob Corrie nan Lochan is a beautiful but hard 2.5 hours and Kevs ankle is in a bad way after a climbing fall and repeated surgery to try and correct the issues. The result being that Kev was in severe pain and had to bail on the walk in as to continue would potentially mean having to be carried off the mountain . I was mostly filming but got a couple of images, the light was great with views over to the Ben and as the sun was dipping looking over to the Buchaille.
Dave Anderson and I also hoped to get a route on Alladins buttress in the N Corries but again conditions were terrible and we bailed , just as well , as later that day a cornice collapse the size of a minibus collapsed, triggering an avalanche that reached the Corrie floor.
I was then of to Glenmore lodge to shoot for The North Face and Glenmore Lodge for 3 days . What had looked like a possibility of some decent weather turned out to be a total maelstrom of storm force winds and snow , whiteout conditions and high avalanche risk . Still , given the horrendous conditions , we managed to get a couple of shots before the visibility completey went, the only sensible thing to do was to postpone the gig till the weather improves , so we’ve rebooked for mid April sometime.
It seems this year I’ve mostly been shooting video , probably about 85% of my time , here’s a couple of bits of kit that have helped ++, first up is the variable Tiffen ND filter , allowing me to shoot wide open and keep the shutter speed down to 1/50s. Its a solid bit of glass, optically excellent and feels robust and can take some abuse ( which it will get ). The second is the LCDVF rear screen loupe , cuts out light and helps to focus on the back screen . Lightweight and cheapish , I don’t climb with it but its great when you’re only on a days cragging etc. The last is a Rode Mic to get good audio , again impractical when climbing but good when there’s space to set up the mic on top of the camera.
So , a few images , a bit of gear tech talk and some snippets about future projects .