Saturday, 11 February 2017

Every cloud has a silver lining

A friend Andy climbing Prore Direct (VII,8)
Unfortunately, due to a hand injury, my client for this week re-scheduled for some summer climbing leaving me with some days free.  With several keen friends to get out, I felt it would be best to make the most of it.
Murdoch battles the crux on Open Heart

So firstly I teamed up with Murdoch and we had a great forecast.  We headed to Number 1 Buttress in Coire an Lochain.  Most teams were on number 4 Buttress and we had Number 1 to ourselves.
We climbed the brilliant Open Heart (VIII,9) which is essentially 2 direct pitches into Ventrilloquist (VII,7) crux pitch giving 4 pitches of interesting and steep climbing. Superb route in great weather.

A brief shake out

4 pitches later, a snow descent
The following day I teamed up with Jack.  The weather had deteriorated somewhat.  Our aim was to scope out some routes and do some practice for our upcoming British Mountain Guides winter test and we ended up on a very snowy Hidden Chimney (III) for a quick ascent.
Jack styling out of Deep Cut CHimney

Day 3 I was back out with Jack and after a short previous day we headed into Hell's Lum to climb Deep Cut Chimney (IV,5), the Cold Climbs classic route and a route both of us had wanted to do for a while.
Jack in the 'white room' heading back from Hells Lum

Day 4 I teamed up with Duncan and Jack for some more guide practice and we headed back into Coire an Lochain and we climbed Iron Butterfly (III) as it was the safest and most suitable route to get to.
Tom styling up some route...

Day 5 I teamed up with Murdoch and Tom, both very experienced and sponsored climbers.  We had a plan to climb a tricky route but as the weather wasn't amazing, we opted for an easy route and a quick day.  We climbed something on Fiacaille Buttress.  We forgot the guidebook so we climbed a route on or around Burning and Looting which was about IV,5.
Murdoch happy in 12 jackets

So a nice week of up and down weather, some very windy and snowy days which has made it feel alot more like winter.  The conditions aren't perfect, lots of snow burying routes and insulating turf and loose rocks so care is needed in choosing the right routes.

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