Days like yesterday are the reason I’ve decided to take some time off to winter climb. I can’t stand being stuck in an office when it’s blue skies and a crisp cold day outside. You just know that someone will be off having an adventure in a corrie somewhere in the highlands. (Sorry to anyone reading this stuck in an office.) Well yesterday it was Davie Crawford and myself having the adventure.
This was another plan C day. Plan A was something lower down in the southern highlands. An unexpected temperature of 6 degrees at the rendezvous point and the forecast of a sunny day ruled that one out. Plan B was Pas de Deux on Beinn an Dothaidh. The turf was frozen here but the steeper mixed routes are quite bare on the rocky sections. If we had done it, it would have had to have been a “photos looking down” day. Having the pre-placed excuse of being tired from being out the day before, we opted for Clonus - an obvious corner line. Clonus gets IV in the guide but no technical grade so we didn’t quite know what we were getting into – sometimes these are the best days out though.
The first pitch was deceptive – it looked like a easy romp but there was actually a tricky wee icy groove to be overcome. Pitch 2 again looked easy but was quite hard. Not thin it that there was nothing for your feet but awkward in that you were traversing rightwards into a slot and out again. Not much for the tools on quite steep ground. I thought this pitch was definitely technical 6 and the climb was much harder than West Chimney that I did a couple of weeks ago. I’d give it southern highlands IV,6 **. I’m sure it’s easier with more ice – the corrie is however fairly icy, probably the biggest build-up I’ve seen in 12 years of climbing there.
Davie did the final easier pitch to top out into some st