|Setting in to quest|
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Smooth As Silk
Yesterday I met up with Elliot, Beth, Steve and Jacob. All are just getting into winter climbing properly, so the aim was to give Elliot and Jacob and taste of something tricky, whilst Beth and Steve climbed together. We went to Creagan Corie Cha-no so I could have a look for the first time and see if would be suitable as a work venue. Also there are a couple of VII's to have a crack at. We went to look at Smooth as Silk VII,7, which was absolutely buried. The first pitch was straight forward, but there snow, ice and crud was hard to clear. This led us boldly to the belay, and an even more buried second pitch.
I spent a good 40 mins to an hour clearing up to the crux roof section, but did find good gear for my efforts. At the roof though, the crud in the offwidth was impossible to shift, and useless for an axe. After a few forays upwards trying to clear, I decided there was enough thin ice under the snow/crud on the steep ground above the roof to commit. A technical sequence on icy hooks and tiny crystal footholds led around the roof to the ice. It was then a case of questing upwards for approx 20m before getting another runner. Thankfully before the awkward cornice exit. It was an engaging route, and felt more like VIII,7 in it's current condition..