Monday, January 25, 2010

Northern Corries open and NW conditions

The Ski road finally opened all the way to the top at the w/e and on Sunday and the crags and the ski pistes were very busy. Obviously there is loads of snow but the walking was not to bad at all.
The mess 0 pottage is very buried and if there is more snow some climbing routes could well turn into (very) extreme ski descents.
We started on the Seam, abbed on the insitu gear, did Seamstress then went down Belhaven and picked up our gear as we climbed passed. The climbing is very very bold. Belhaven was probably VII, 5 with 3 runners in the crux last 50m pitch. The Gents of the old School would have been in their element! It was interesting to think that the closure of the road and the heavy snow meant that climbers weren't up brushing the snow off the routes and the result is that an almost climbable neve has built up making the climbing very pleasurable and fast but extremely bold. The crags would benefit from a quick thaw and snap re-freeze giving steep Nevis neve on the faces (but no gear). However not everyone thinks like this as you can see on the hoovered lines in the picture of Savage Slit and Fall Out Corner which must have taken an age to clear and would have been quite an undertaking.
There has been a sprinkling of new snow in the NW over the last few days but many climbing venues can still be approached on mostly clear paths with a very high snow line on the Coastal hills, lowering the more inland one goes. On Saturday a strong party made an ascent of Tango In the Night on Sgurr Rudha and found whilst the flake and turf frozen and the climbing good it was very scary; a good covering of snow and neve would have hidden the fact that you are actually just climbing a pack of stacked flakes in a vertical chimney.

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