So I am Mark, I have lived in the Highlands for 6 years though I am from Bath originally and started working at the Ice Factor in October 2012. I originally started climbing on my Gap Year in the Drakenberg mountains in South Africa and then through Aberystwyth University mountaineering club.
Disciplines: Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, Guiding
First Summer Climb
The Ordinary Route at Idwal Slabs
First Winter Climb
The Runnel in Coire an T-Sneachda in the Cairngorms.
Hardest Route You Have Ever Done
So in Winter it is Savage Slit grade V6 in the Cairngorms, and in summer Volcane E1 at Ardnamurchan.
My first outdoor lead fall was only a couple of years ago, I was out at Poll Dubh crags in Glen Nevis climbing the Severe Crack with my brother Graham and my colleague Max who was working with the Ice Factor for the summer.
We had been climbing nice easy routes all day it was Grahams second ever experience of outdoor climbing and after leading him up several Severes and Vdiffs me and Max felt like trying something a little harder at the end of the day.
I suggested we head down to pinnacle ridge where there are 2 nice crack lines “Severe Crack at VS 4C” and “Clapham Junction at VS 5a” that i had climbed earlier in the summer and thought Max would like.
We both lead Severe crack nice and smoothly, it just eats big bomber nuts so gives you a real feeling of confidence!
We then turned our attention to Clapham Junction the crack line just to its left this is a little steeper, more polished and pumpy, i started out nice and easily placing good gear love the DMM offsets! and worked my way up to the rightwards hand traverse at the top that i had found easy earlier in the year. This time however I remember really struggling to place the top wire and then the pump really starting to build and then as i started to move right my left foot popped on the polished rock and a split second later i was downwards the rope came tight, my last fiddly bit of gear had held as i fell however i somehow managed to catch my foot and inverted knocking my head against the crag as i came tight on the rope. Slight cut and down to the Belford to have it stapled! I had forgotten my helmet at the start of the day! No harm done it could have been a lot worse!
Favourite Piece of Equipment
My Cassin X-Dream Ice Axes.