Looking out the window today at the Northern Cairngorms it’s a great day to be inside looking out! It’s wild and windy up there and has been all night, 100mph gusts and freezing level above the tops. Not for long though with a return to wintery hill conditions tomorrow.
Accessing the first pitch of our route. Ideal winter conditions.
I had a phone call on the 26th just before I went out ski touring, inviting me over to Glen Coe to have a look at a direct finish to a already stunning climb. How could I say no.
Jon Jones, getting us warmed up in the first pitch of the route.
A 0530 alarm soon had me picking up Jon J and winding our way out West, driving through some rain and a bit of wind low down we were all a bit unsure as to what we might find condition wise higher up?
JJ and Andy Nelson following the second pitch. I maybe should have tried harder to find gear rather than running it out!
Luckily we were in the company of local talented climber and all round good guy, Andy Nelson. He soon had us standing at the bottom of a very wintery, stunning looking lump of rock.
Andy showing us how it should be done!
The route had a pitch for everyone, with each pitch getting steadily harder. Andy’s intention was to go direct on the top final pitch. This was an education for Jon and myself in super thin hard climbing, which unfortunately resulted in an education for Andy as well, with some good air miles clocked up!
Andy checking out his options. How can he hook and stand on nothing and make it look so easy?
The direct finish was not to be today, with Andy muttering something about needing 5mm verglas rather than 2mm, for someone so stable he is quite nuts!
Pulling through the final roof finishing back on the original route.
The direct finish was not to be today but Andy was keen to be back on it soon, once the verglas fattened up!
Glen Coe Mountain Rescue Team sledging the stretcher down the Glen to the waiting Rescue 177.
After walking near enough back to the road, we met members of Glen Coe MR heading back up to assist a walker who had a lower leg injury and called for assistance. We politely offered to help and they unfortunately (for us) accepted our offer. So off back up the hill we shuffled to almost the area we had just finished climbing in. The mantra on the way back up was “it’s burning off the christmas excess”! Luckily Rescue 177 could land halfway down the hill, so even though the carry was tough in the snowy conditions we did not need to carry all the way out.
Home by 2230 last night, with ever so slightly cramping legs. Now enjoying looking out at the ming from the comfort of my warm house!