Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The fabled ...

24 February 2013

Crowberry Gully is one of those routes that has loads of history and epics, Harold Raeburn, Murray and MacInnes and Co using "combined tactics" on the left hand variation. Its also a route that is seldom in condition due to its aspect and the fact it avalanches frequently, but with this long period of settled cold weather Craig and I knew it would be good-to-go.

Despite a super early drive from Glasgow we arrived at the base of the climb with 3 parties ahead.
We swung leads quickly catching the teams in front, but the weather was great and the situation fantastic so were quite happy to chill and chat.

The ramps between the steep ice sections were straightforward and the steep sections had brilliant chewy ice that sucked your ice pics making the climbing very enjoyable.

A very atmospheric route worthy of its stars, IV ***

A quick bite of lunch on the summit and some cheeky chat with Donald from Abacus before we headed down Coire Na Tulaich. 

More here on the Epic blog.


Monday, 11 February 2013

Exfoliating ...

We spent a few hours on Sunday in the white room on Ben Donich. It was full on winter with the 2 parties in front quickly feeling “out of our depth, ” and “this is crazy”.  It was, but we plodded on making holes in the new and crunching up the old snow, there was some slab about but it was easily avoided. We took shelter from the wind in one of the spooky fissures before heading back down the hill.
A quick but full on day with a free exfoliating and a blood shot eye, magic.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Out there...

North Buttress IV, 4

Craig and I Headed to Glen Coe to climb North Buttress of Stob Dearg (Buachaille Etive Mor). We know this route well and have climbed many times in summer and have had a couple of bailed attempts in winter.

We arrive ahead of another 3 teams of 2. The conditions looked good but the snow only had a crust, so was less than ideal. Still, being first on the route, we pushed on with me leading the first pitch. Craig led through to climb the second chimney and me the third. At times it was slow going to  find gear placements under the snow and finding bomber placements was just about non existent.

All of the 3 main pitches felt a grade harder today with some really insecure placements on all the crux moves.

Conditions improved with the altitude, and by the time the technical climbing was over we cruised together over super icy but still tricky "easier" ground on the ridge to the summit.

With the avalanche conditions high on East facing slopes and finding lots of slab we opted to come down "my dad's route" (the West Ridge) rather than Coire Na Tulaich, as it was loaded.

A fantastic day out with some good decision making on the descent, with energy levels low and in fading light...Epic.