Sunday, 4 December 2011

Winter Weekend in the Gorms

After suffering with FOMO all week as Matt, Keith and a few others have been taking advantage of the conditions up North, I was psyched when John said he was up for a weekend hit.  After the long drive up, with a stop off in Edinburgh overnight, early start and no breakfast, we arrived in Sneachda at a reasonable time on Saturday..

The wind was not quite as bad as forecast, but the only shelter was to be found on the Fiacaill.  This was also the whitest buttress in the corrie.  As always I had a few things in mind as we walked in, but they were either black or blocked by folks waiting to get on the route that it used to start.  Rather than wait around, we opted to   do Stirling Bomber V,7***.  This is a great way to get back into the whole winter climbing mode, with some good moves, physical, but never too hard.  There was a lot of snow and ice on the route, but the gear was pretty clear.  I had climbed this route back into 2005 and it was as good as I remembered.  John really enjoyed himself, with a big smile all the way up.  We were down off the route by 12:20 and decided to head down and get some breakfast.  There where loads of teams on the Seam IV,4/5*** and a team on Fingers Ridge IV,4***.

Getting in the width

John getting stuck in
Working through the crux

Today we wanted another short day so we could get back down to Leeds in good time.  The Mess of Pottage was looking ok, so we opted for The Melting Pot V,7***.  There is a mass of verglass covering the crag which is making the climbing quite bold.  A number of teams backed off routes because of this.  The ice of our route made the climbing a little easier, although bold making feel more VI,6 as the guide suggests for these conditions.  There were a lot more teams out today on all the usual routes.  Top tip at the moment is to drop the grade a little whilst the cracks are so iced.

John finishing Pitch 1 of The Melting Pot

Greg Boswell has had 3 very good days on the Ben, check his blog for details.

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