Friday, January 26, 2007

Northern Cairngorms report

First off all, apologies for the break in posts. I have been in the alps doing British Mountain Guides training courses and have had technology problems with the computer. I did have loads of conditions reports for many climbing areas in the alps but since the new snow has fallen it's probably all out of date now. Instead I'll focus on Scotland.

Yesterday i was swithering whether to risk it and go to the Fannachs after talking to Nick Carter about his day on Sgurr Nan Clach Geala. Sky Scraper Buttress was the plan but the forecast spoke of a front coming in bringing some rain. So Paul Warnock and i opted for a surer bet and went into the Loch Avon Basin in the Northern Cairngorms. We found the decent from the goat track into the Loch Avon basin caused us some concern as it was loaded with wind slab. The same is the case with the slopes above and below Hells Lum.

We found a safe way down on the true left by staying away from open slopes and going mainly on the exposed rocks. We went over to the Shelter stone and after failing on our first attempt at a new line due to Paul having a disagreement with blocks of flying granite (!) we abbed off and did a different line. The ascent was marred a little by me using a point off aid above Paul's belay on the second pitch to avoid pulling on a block that i thought might have been loose (it might have killed Paul who was directly below it). However Paul freed the move seconding and found the block was totally bomber. However, no prizes for being dead i thought at the time! if anyone wants to do the free ascent take a pair of mono points for the tiny footholds and a pair of very strong arms! We called the line Lectern after a feature at Paul's belay where he gave a sermon concerning the next pitch which went "Dearly belovered for what we are about to recieve..." . We thought about V,8 would be a good grade for it.

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