Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Performance winter climbing

Last week the conditions in the NW were quite disapointing. There was some snow left in the easy gullies and on the ridges but a lot had been washed away with the warm rain.
This weekend just gone i was with Ruth in the Northern Cairngorms with the mandate to 'explore the techniques required for technical 6 and 7 climbing'. On Saturday we climbed a very icy Savage slit; the ice in the cracks made for good climbing but poor gear and hid a lot of the placements. Ruth cruised it on the second no bother!
On Sunday i thought better of attempting Fall Out Corner as i was concerned about the possible lack of gear so instead we made a plan to have a big day on a technical route in the Loch Avon Basin.
However, all thoughts of this were literally blown away as we were nearly blown over walking into Sneachda and saw a lot of evidence of windslab being deposited on the North facing lee aspects of which the Goat Track is a prime candidate. Indeed it was gratifying to find out later that several other strong parties came to the same conclusion. Instead we made out way over to Stirling Bomber in deteriorating weather that made looking upwards or even having your eyes open when climbing quite a challenge. Then as if by magic the wind dropped and blue skies appeared and with amazing timing this coincided with Ruth Starting to second the crux pitches, which again she found no difficulty with. I'm wondering now what technical 8's to suggest she does!
Also of note from saturday was a quick ascent of the technical War and Peace by Andy A and Helen R and a busy Loch Avon Basin with an Ascent of the Citadel by an unknown party and very speedy ascent of the Needle (not sure which way) by Nick Bullock and Andy Houseman, who probably could have done laps on it by the sound of things.
We are about to have a prolonged period of 'bad' weather with snow/rain/hail fluctuating temperatures and strong winds. whilst this is going on it won't be too much fun in the hills, but it will be good, particularly for the NW where i saw this morning the new snow level was a shade below 600m in places. I'm going to be away from the hills till at least the middle of next week, so applogies in advance for the pause in reports.

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