Sunday, 13 February 2011

A day with my bruv

One of those rare things, a day with my brother, nige. Jules and he joined us in Aviemore for a very pleasant couple of evenings, and we got out on Friday. The forecast was for the weather to deteriorate so an early start and an an escapable route in Sneachda was the correct call. We started up Wavelength (III,4) for a couple of pitches, taking a slight detour up some steep ice as a wall/groove didn't have much build up. With time pressing on, we followed Spiral Gully (II) for a pitch, then did it's Direct Finish (III), which gave 2 further icey pitches. Conditions on the plateau weren't great, so we took a hard right and descended the Goat Track. Conditions in the corrie were far nicer, but we were soon chased out by the snow arriving. 1st photo is a ptarmigan that decided to watch from a nearby rib, 2nd is nige having just done a steep bit.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Great Green Gully - Classic

The time had come for a big day after lots of time spent in cairngorms. It was forecast to brighten up, so we went to the Ben. A 5.30 alarm, a rainy drive, and a cloudy walk to the CIC with snow showers did not make for happy feelings, but as we gained height in to Coire na Ciste the clouds lifted and the sun came out. With the crowds heading for Comb Gully, we went for Green (a third of the way along the trapezoid buttress) and it was a great choice.

We were at the bottom of the route for 12.30 (under 4hrs from car), and conditions were spot on. 5 pitches of grade III with grade 4 steps were a test for the calves and allowed practice in placing screws while on front points.

Protection averaged 2 pieces per pitch (of between 30 and 45m), but peg belays are in situ. The deadman was invaluable for the plateau belay. Topping out at 4.30 in to a setting sun completed a perfect day.

Thursday 20 Jan - Haston Line

Any day off work is a good day, but this was a belter. A lie in, drive to cairngorms, leave car park at 12, walk in with no wind and blue skies, grab a quick route, descend by sunset. We did the Haston Line, which has a short sharp crux, and has been graded variously III,4 ; IV,4 ; III,5! I'm not sure which is appropriate as the moves are quite powerful (layback off torqued axes with front points on an icey wall (1/4 inch ice)), and the gear's not great (as the cracks were iced up), but then, there's only a bit of it, so it's not sustained.