Friday, 23 December 2011

The Alps ...

18 December 2011
Sunday, -3 overnight – game on ... Where ? Cobbler (short day 6.30am – 4pm), route ? MacLay's Crack 111* This is a route we eyed last year but deep snow and high winds put us off.

Craig, Bill and I walked up the track in the dark to be greeted by the Arrochar Alps at day break. We over took the other early parties and ended up making the holes in rather avalanche prone slopes. A quick snow pit revealed 2 weak layers, we cut right and started gearing up at the foot of a rather plastered looking crag. The first pitch was unconsolidated and required much digging to find gear and something to plant your axe into. I led past the belay and instead excavated a cave before a rather tricky looking corner as a more suitable first stance. The lads arrived at the belay but it was obvious that Craig’s back problem was limiting his movements so we ran the ropes through and I (eagerly) led off. This is a fantastic airy pitch with a great open book corner that in the right condition would be fantastic but in today’s soft powder and un frozen turf felt tricky... Up and over I looked for a suitable belay, nothing, so I battered a nut into a shallow crack and kept climbing. This is often the best plan as moving even 12" can (hopefully) reveal something bomber. It did and I threaded a nut before the last tricky move. Up came the boys bringing with them snow and the forecast change in weather. Two pitches later we stood on the summit. A great climb regardless of the conditions but worth repeating when it is 'bomber' More great pics on Craig’s blog here <>

Alpine glow

Huge slab avalanche debris
Our route is the crack on the left

Bill, looking sharp
Craig in a cave
Another Simply Epic day ...