Friday, 14 February 2014

Sometime A Gamble Doesn't Pay Off

With a good forecast we opted to escape South to the cobbler hoping get on something steady and swing leads.  When we arrived we were a little surprised to see the cloud base so low.  This was fine as we walked up the lower path, but as we came out of the trees visibility was poor.  With reports from friends of a considerable amount of snow about, we cut off and headed to the SE Ridge III.  This proved hard going through knee deep snow to get over to the broad ridge before heading higher, whilst navigating in the white room.  The theme continued all the way to the buttress, with the snow getting deeper and no features to nav with other than the compass etc.  It took us over 3 hours to plough our way to the buttress which was buried in it's lower section, which made identifying any routes very difficult.  The temperature had risen to, so the slopes leading to the base of the SE Ridge felt a bit too interesting.  I attempted to climb across via the Grassy Traverse III, but this seemed to be leading to no man's land after the distance it suggested it would meet the SE Ridge.  Getting late in the day and with the weather forecast to come in, we opted to retreat.  Only 150m from the summit, even the grade I option around to the right of the face felt out with the way the snowpack was getting heavy.  Disappointed, we made our way back down, bt with good learning points to take away from the experience.

It was clear the temperature had had an affect through Glencoe as we drove back.  The snow had retreated up the hill side and thinned out considerably.  Matt and Tim had success today on the Ben, climbing Shadow VII,6*** on Carn Dearg.  Good effort boys!

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