Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Ben Nevis 24th - 25th

After a quick meal in Fort William on Sunday evening with Steve, Paul and Lindsey, we headed up to the CIC hut for a couple of nights.

Monday morning was grim with rain, mist and light winds. Temps were above freezing. Not a great day for standing around on belays so we decided to do Zero Gully V,4** The ice was very good to climb on, but rubbish for screws. Vast amounts of spindrift were also coming down off the windy summit, making it an even grimmer experience. In 300m of climbing I think we placed 9 pieces of pro. Just a typical day on Zero really.

This is the only photo of our day on Zero. Sums it up really.

On our way back to the CIC we dropped down No 3 gully and noticed that the buttresses were pretty white with Hoar. So the plan was set for Darth Vader VII,7*** or Sioux Wall VIII,8*** on Tuesday morning. During monday night it rained pretty hard, so it was no surprise that when we reached No 3 the following morning, the buttress was black. Guy Steven had a look at a black Cornucopia VII,8* and salvaged his day on Thompson's Route IV,4***

We salvaged ours by starting up Gremlins VI,6 then finished up Thomson's ourselves.
Start Of Gremlins

The Grivel Masters and their masters :-/

Still beats going to work, whatever the weather.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Stob Coire nan Lochan 8th Jan

Heavy snow on Friday night added 1.5hrs to my usual 4hr drive to Glencoe, only just making last orders at the Clachaig. Phew... close one!
Alarm was set for 04:30, in readiness to meet Greg Boswell at 05:00, for our slog into Stob Coire nan Lochan.
Greg had his eye on The Duel IX,9 ** so at first light I was off up the first and belayed high on the left hand side which greatly reduces the fall potential, whilst Greg clipped the first runner on pitch 2.  A lot of hoar had built up, so it was time consuming for Greg to clear the walls looking for the tiny front point edges and at times even smaller hooks. I'm sure at times he levitated.. We were both surprised at how few good sinkers there are.
There is one hard mantle onto a small jutting block, and then it's into the hanging corner, again with some sketchy hooks and ledges, which lead to an easy ramp and the top of pitch 2.
Greg brought me up what I can only describe as the hardest technical, sketchy ground I've climbed. I was happy and relieved to reach the belay rest or fall free.
With the light fading we decided it was best for Greg to finish the top pitch.

Since I received the new Grivel Jedi axes a few weeks back, I'd only used them predominantly on ice, which felt very good indeed. Having them out on some seriously steep ground today was just awesome. From smashing them into tiny cracks to full body weight mantles and torques, these axes felt much better than previous technical tools I've used on mixed routes.

Awesome day.

Photo courtesy of Ken Applegate

Photo Courtesy of Ken Applegate
Photo Courtesy of Ken Applegate

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Langdale 2nd Jan

The Langdales where black as coal this morning, so with John and Steve we decided to climb Bowfell Buttress in our big boots. Done in two pitches with very little wind but it was -5°c
We then had a walk over to Angle Tarn Crag, and was surprised to see a fair amount of ice. Steve climbed a steep line on the right hand side of corrie at about IV and I climbed a similar graded route on the left.
The ice was hard and brittle, which made it feel precarious with out any ice screws!!

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