Monday, 6 February 2012

No need to be a dead hero ...

Glen Coe 3/2/12. Strong SW-W winds, heavy snow, Deep w.slab, sheltered gullies and N-E-SE slopes 700 m+ avalanches will occur. Hazard High, hmmm need to be super careful.

We headed to North Buttress of Buachille Etive Mor. (I climbed this route before many years ago with Peter before I knew what grades were). After a week of cold temperatures the forecast Westerly won the battle (in the west anyway) and the temperature shot up overnight. Crampons on early to negotiate the steep verglased slabs and rocky ground held us up as did being the rope no 2 on the route. I led up the first chimney getting my foot stuck and having to down climb to free. Climbing on I suddenly felt light headed and had a white out moment, probably due to looking down for a long period then quickly looking up. That and V cold hands I guess. Anyway, I reached a big block and threw a sling round it and clipped in. Craig exercised our climbing motto on my behalf and I abseiled down for soup and sarnie. Decision made that we should bail ASAP. We abed down to easier ground and crabbed round to the base of curved ridge where we chipped out a horn (American term, google it) and abseiled to easier ground. We walked out over fast melting ice. Good day regardless and in the words of the legend that is Don Whillians, “the mountain will be there tomorrow-the trick is to make sure you are.