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Sunday, 14 December 2008

Deep Cut Chimney IV,5****

Today Brian and I met at 9 am at the Coire Cas car park. We had a look at the harder options in Sneachda but they would have required a lot of cleaning and we therefore decided to walk over to Hells Lum to do deep cut chimney. The first photo shows the whole Hell's Lum crag on a good day when Adam and I did Route Major on Carn Etchachan. Deep Cut Chimney is to the left of the icy middle bit.

We walked in a whiteout and ended up well below the crag due to my far too casual and thus poor navigation. Here Brian is gearing up after the slog through sometimes deep snow.
The climb starts with a long, rising traverse passing the middle section of the crag, which was well iced today, followed by 'Nobody's Fault' before the deep cleft of deep cut chimney becomes visible. The photo below shows Brian below 'Nobody's Fault' (marked by big blocks on the right hand side of the fault) and Deep Cut Chimney is the next one.
Most of Deep Cut Chimney is tech 2-3 with a few steepenings that are tech 4. Today the snow was powdery and so it was often more swimming than climbing. However, the ice axe placements were mostly OK on the steeper bits, where the turf was more exposed. The photo shows me on the second pitch leaving the belay. The chimney gets narrower and deeper after that.
The chimney ends all of a sudden with a cul de sac and adventurous and good value back and footing is required in order to get out of it (abseiling at night is, however, another option for the more advanced mountaineer).
The back and footing section required a lot of cleaning and I think Brian doesn't need a bath tonight because I provided a constant snow shower for about 30 min while trying to clean this section and look for foot placements and gear. Both are good when finally unearthed.

Definitely a classic with a great atmosphere and the return from inner earth is fantastic climbing.

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