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.

Setting in to quest
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..


Ian Parnell said...

Hi Adam did this on Saturday thought it climbed better than it looked but felt standard VII, although no doubt we benefited from your cleaning and hard work

Adam Hughes said...

I hind sight I think you may be right. I had pretty much no gear from the roof to the top on the day. But, maybe it was VII,6 from that point. Hard to say how these things feel at the time. I have no doubt it's VII,7 in normal mixed conditions.