We left the car at about 06:30 and started the long trail break (mainly by Paul) up through Coire an t-Sneachda over to Hells Lum and descend down into Loch Avon basin. By about 09:30 Paul had started up first pitch of The Citadel VII,8 on Shelterstone. Generally the gear was hard won, and it didn't help with the turf being insulated and the ice was also pretty cruddy.
After a few hrs of climbing it was time for Paul to dispense with the first Crux pitch.
Balancy, boulder type moves get you up onto the slab before moving up into the excellent sustained crack above. All taken very well by Mr Prentice.
Another excellent pitch above leads to the outstanding stance next to the upper Crux and Flake.
By now it was Dusk and I felt under pressure with the failing light to get on and UP the final crux pitch.
I dispensed with the flake and traverse easy, but it was the short crack above that foxed me. Whilst trying to pull into the crack an Axe popped, and down the wall I went. Thankfully I managed to get a good rock 10 placement which held the fall.
Paul suggested we retreat, but I was now full of Psyche and nothing was going to stop me getting up this route. After about 40m I eventually found foot prints which led to a large open book corner. This turned out to be the wrong way and is the Moonlight Finish. The foot prints were from the previous day. James Higgins and Neil Adams (their blog account can be found Here).
The corner above was all that was stopping us standing on the top of Shelterstone. Paul was starting to feel the strain, but made a sterling effort Stein Pulling his way to the top.
We eventually got back to the Cairngorm Car park at 23:00
We drove back to Paul's in South Lanarkshire and from there I headed down to Tyneside. I stopped for fuel at one of the service stations (I fell asleep at one of the Pumps before getting my Diesel). I was awoken by someone banging on my bonnet checking I was ok!
Shelterstone in winter is a rather big day out..
There's been lots of action on shelterstone over the past few weeks.
Other than Jims Blog I've highlighted above, Greg Boswell had a awesome repeat of Stone Temple Pilots X,9 Blog Here. Martin Moran had a interesting day on the Needle Blog Here
|Paul Starting up The Citadel|
|Paul second pitch|
|Start of the first crux pitch|
|High on the crux|
|Me starting the second long crux|
|Paul psyching up for the Moonlight finish.|