Sunday, 30 December 2007

Risk it for a Biscuit

Today Graeme Seggie and myself decided to risk it for a biscuit and head into Stob Coire nan Lochan. I've ice climbed with Graeme in Canada but he's not done much Scottish winter so i hoped to give him a good introduction to snowed up rock. On first appearances the buttresses looked not bad but both of our target routes were black as the ace of spades. Chimney Route looks brilliant but i wasn't prepared to have a go when it was obviously not in condition with dripping turf, apparently le turf is very important on this route.

So plan C was to head up to do Moonshadow as it was on the upper half of the buttress which looked in better nick. Nae luck there either - turf still soggy so we continued up the line we were in and ticked Twisting Gully Right Hand (IV,5). Not the best day out conditions wise but at least i got to introduce Seggie to some of the delights of Scottish Winter Climbing - verglassed chockstones and the art of thrutching !

Monday, 24 December 2007

Almost a happy hooker !

Saturday 22nd December 2007
Myself, Jim Hall & Davie Crawford decided to forgo the fruitless search for winter conditions and head to Birnam instead. I quite like this place, it gives you the chance to hone your winter climbing technique without a wasted wander in the hills when the dreaded inversion inducing high sets in. Although i was tempted by a wee hill walk, you can't beat being above the clouds. Bizarrely enough there were streaks of ice, frozen turf and verglass at Birnam - I'm not sure what the ethics of doing dry tool routes in almost winter conditions are ??

Jim going for it in an oldskool stylee - Vertige axes of differing lengths, dual point crampons, Broken placcys held together with a big bolt (or is that Jim's ankle that's bolted together) and worst of all - leashes !

Warming up higher up on Grooviliscious - crap name, good wee route.

After warming up on the two easier routes we tried Happy Hooker (D7). I've tried this a few times on a top rope and this time i actually felt not too bad on it. So i pulled the rope and gave it a go on the lead - Some sloppy footwork on the second last move put paid to my efforts.

I'm more of an onsighter so this is the first time i have worked anything other than routes that annoy me at the wall. Next time ! Davie got some good video footage of it so hopefully I'll get that up soon. Plenty of arse over tit action was had trying to descend the verglassed slate scree. Cheers to Davie for the photos and Jim for the belaying !

Fingers crossed for some decent winter conditions only a week of employment left before I'm a full time climbing bum !