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Sunday, 25 January 2009

No blue skies and run before darkness

First, our sincere condolences to all those that lost their life in the avalanche on Buachaille Etive Mor. Second, be careful: After our climb today I spoke to one guy who said they tried to climb the Vent today, an avalanche hotspot in Corrie an Lochain.

Today Brian Duthie and I tried to stay away from all the avalanches by climbing a VI,7** climb in Coire an't Sneachda, called no blue skies. The name of the climb was fitting because there were no blue skies and we had plenty of spindrift and wind. It starts up a grade III looking ramp which, however, is 4c in summer and there are few good hooks and footholds. The first picture shows me on the first pitch.
The first pitch goes up the left slanting slab just left of the middle of the picture. Looks easy, doesn't it?
There was plenty of spindrift coming down but I was wearing the right clothing and was focussing on other things...
I got rewarded with a nice wee semi-cave and Brian did good work on the hard bit of the second pitch just above before some broken ground followed.
Again, Brian firing away on thin hooks and all the gear placements were buried. All that took time.
We regretted our partner-friendly late state by now as we saw some roofs and surely some more hard and very time consuming climbing above. It was 3 pm and error number 2 was that we did not know when it got dark (actually later than expected). Brian had left his headtorch in his rucksack and we agreed to bail. We were not keen on nocturnal abseil artistry and decided to try to walk off which was surprisingly easy.
On the way out the gusts of spindrift came from the back so didn't disturb too much.
Should we have continued? Well, if it was a climb high on the hitlist then we would have probably gone into epic mode but so we were happy to be early back in the car and we were in Aberdeen before 19 h, ready to cook up some Burns supper! Happy Burns night everyone!

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