Monday 18 March 2013

Welcome to 2013 with Kendal Mountaineering Services - the Lake Districts premier provider of outdoor activity sessions and skills training sessions in The Lake District, Wales and Scotland.

It's been a while since we posted anything on our blog - so where have we been? Well, both at home and then abroad in South America, but that wasn't until the later part of January. Iain did some work here before we went away and this was in the Yorkshire Dales National Park - home to some of the best caving in the UK.

Photo one shows Eleanor Good with boyfriend Matt underground in Long Churns - one of the areas best caving systems for one of our introductory caving sessions. Eleanor & Matt had a good ferret around both this system and Borrins Moor Caves with Iain. All of the photos from this introductory caving session in the Yorkshire Dales National Park can be viewed here. Prices start at £45 per person for a half day caving session and includes the provison of all specialist equipment & protective clothing necessary to make your session safe & enjoyable. Eleanor & Matt enjoyed their session so much that they hope to return to do more caving with Iain in the not too distant future. Contact us here to book your caving session with us soon.

On January 18th, we began the long Journey south via Liverpool, Madrid and on to Santiago in Chile where we transferred to Mendoza in Argentina for the start of our 17 day expedition to Aconcagua 6962m and the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas.

The mountain is well known for it's strong winds and freezing temperatures and many underestimate the effect that the altitude can have. To all intents & purposes, climbing the mountain is no more technical than a high altitude hill walk but with everything mentioned above this makes it a serious proposition and despite having good weather for our summit day we were forced to turn back at the point in photo two with only 500m to go to the summit.

However, reaching this point at 6500m was a personal high point for Iain's partner Kirstin and no mountain is worth risking ones life for. We did however succeed in achieving our primary objective of traversing Aconcagua arriving via the Vacas Route and departing via the Horcones Valley. Living in a 2 man tent and working together to achieve what we did in the conditions we experienced only had the effect of bringing us closer together - which is of course, a good thing!

After returning to and enjoying a few days in Mendoza,we flew south via Santiago to Punta Arenas at the southern trip of Patagonia and then made our way north via Puerto Natales to Paine National Park spending 3 days here before bussing north again to arrive utimately at Chalten and Parc National Los Glaciares where photo three was taken.

This shows Cerro Fitzroy beyond Laguna Capri nestling in Southern Beech forest, the mountains themselves clothed in glaciers that are part of the South Patagonian Icecap just beyond. Put simply, if like us you are outdoor enthusisasts then South America and Chile are places you must go to before you die!

We finished our South America Trip by heading further north in Chile to Osorno & the Lake District briefly before a visit to Easter Island 4500km west of Chile. We arrived back in the UK on March 7th.

Being out of the country  for 7 weeks has meant that Iain has missed a large portion of the Scottish Winter Season when normally he would have been in Scotland providing Winter Skills Courses and Winter Climbing Sessions. However, returning client Mark Quinn booked Iains services well in advance of our South America Trip to assist with his forthcoming objectives on Gasherbrum I & II this coming summer. Mark had previously attended one of our annual Cairngorms based Winter Skills weeks.

So, within four days of arriving back in the UK, Iain headed north collecting Mark en route for Fort William and three days of Mountain training for Mark. Bearing in mind his objectives, Iain considered that long winter mountain routes were what was needed and so the plan was made to climb Daim Buttress on Aonach Mor - a 500m grade III climb followed by Tower Ridge - 600m of grade IV'3 and one of the best winter climbs of it's grade anywhere in the UK. Days one & two went well and to plan - in photo four Mark approaches Iain on the Eastern Traverse under Great Tower, high on Ben Nevis.

For our final day out together we chose an easier outing, again on Ben Nevis, this time Ledge Route (II) described as the best route of its grade on the mountain. Mark leaves the course with increased confidence with which to prepare for his climbs on Gasherbrums I & II where he will be attempting to raise money for charity. For anyone wishing to know more about Mark and his worthy cause please visit his facebook page here. Photographs from our three days working together can be viewed here.

The winter season continues as we write this and Iain is available to provide your winter skills training or assist with your climbing aspirations so if you are keen to climb a classic Scottish Winter Route or learn how to use your new ice axe & crampons then contact us here.
So, what is on the horizon for us here at Kendal Mountaineering Services? Well, we have four stag events booked for the coming months where people are keen to have a go at our popular Ghyll Scrambling & Canyoning Sessions in The Lake District (photo five). We have advertised five weekend dates for Mountain Navigation Skills Training Courses in The Lake District although currently only our April course is looking viable with six persons currently booked.

Our Cuillin Ridge Traverse Trip taking place between May 11th & 18th currently has two persons booked but we need two more for it to happen - so if you are interested or know of anyone else who might be then please contact us. The course includes four days guiding on the Cuillin Ridge and seven nights self catering accommodation and really is an absolute scoop at only £425 per person.

Other than that,we are ready & waiting to take your call or email to arrange your outdoor activity session or skills training course in The Lake District. Easter weekend is fast approaching so why not take a look at the fantastic options we offer on our website and book that special session for you and your family.

We look forward to working with you.

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