Saturday, 28 February 2009
A short abseil down a crumbly dirty corner didn't inspire us much but luckily good rock was found around on the south wall. Paul descending below.
John and I climbed the steep wall of high voltage HVS 5a*. this route would get more stars, the climbing is a little scrappy low down but with a steep head wall high up and a tricky top out it has plenty of character. John on the crux below.
Paul wasted no time getting suck in to a fine steep hanging arete called The Life of Brian E1**. Paul led this in good style with a few whoops on the crux moves. Below Paul near the top.
Chris not being the sort of man to turn down a good climb quickly followed Paul and was clearly happy at the big moves required in the exposed position. Chris in the final corner below.
Tyrant crack E2 5c*** , is the classic of the crag on the tower. Paul was keen, keener than me!, to test his E2 ability and fancied giving it a pop. The crack climbs the center of the the South face below.
Steep crack climbing was on the menu and the route was giving up more resistance that it would appear.
Paul found the crack too much thus wisely backed off, putting it down to his crack climbing ability. It was a good effort though.
After this we had a good look at the warlord cliff. But on closer inspection there appeared to be very little in the way off good protection for belays. So we called it a day and headed home. It was another day of nothing ventured nothing gained.
We warmed up on the Highball slab, though the moss was slightly damp. John showing me how it's done above.
The left edge of the slab offers a couple of steeper problems, a helmet would be good for some of these!I'd tried the Pedie prow direct in the summer and hadn't got the sequence so i was keen to try it again. After a couple of failed attempts John showed me the way (through my errors!) above is him going for the sloper.
Next in line was the overhanging arete on the Barrel, it looked good but proved to put a good fight both of us struggling to get the first moves nailed but one to come back to. On crimpy holds above and John slapping for the sloper below.
With darkness creeping in we headed over to the pit boulder for one last go before home. The back wall was damp but that didn't stop us trying the Pendulum. This proved way to hard for us in these conditions and we called it a day at that. A good way to end the week.
Sunday, 22 February 2009
With an abseil in to the base of the cliff, most of it free, there's no going back. John abbing in above.
The first pitch consists of a big open corner, most of this was wet today, with small roofs and bulges giving some interesting climbing and funky moves. Followed by a gear-less traverse out then back to the belay. John making his way to the belay above.
Once John joined me on the ledge i had the pleasure of telling him where the next pitch went, a very exposed traverse out under a roof to the head wall. John climbed this in good style above.
With much of the crag being damp to say the least, we headed a mile up the road to the far more relaxing Clashrodney. First up we climbed Gorgon VS 5a** above.
John on Chester VS 4c. Both routes were fun a but a tad easy so we headed over to Cairnrobin piont for something with a bit more spice.
The routes here are shorter but harder. Above is me leading a tricky E2 5c called Streetwise. both John and i lead this. John getting the head point on sight.
Walking over i spotted a line and had a good look at it before getting on it. I was slightly nervous/worried as there didn't look like there was much gear to be had. A very tenuous traverse with no gear led me the slab where i placed a sold nut and moved on (above). There wasn't nothing after that to the top (6m). This was a very bold but good E2 6a* with serious ground fall potential.
Last but not least Yellow Peril E1 5b*, above is john tackling the crux roof of this strenuous little route. Not bad for someone who was still in his pyjamas!
All in all a good day was had, and hopefully a good start to a fantastic rock season...though winter's not over yet!
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
At the hut we were met by familiar faces from the Leeds Mc, a club I had been a member of a few years ago. They had been in Torridon for few days and were not optimistic about conditions. With the motto ‘Nothing ventured, Nothing gained’ we decided we would have a look anyway and agreed on going to East Buttress IV/5*** on Beinn Eighe.
We woke at 5.30 in the morning and headed out into a very mild morning. The walk around to the crag was pleasant enough with no gruelling uphills or gale force winds to contend with. After a few hours, we came to the loch and looked up in disappointment at the ‘lean’ conditions. There was the odd strip of ice, and some snow lay on the terraces but the rock looked bare. We decided that having made it this far we would go up in any condition, and in the back of our minds hoped we might find a pitch ‘in nick’ further up.
The traverse to the foot of the climb included a very exposed step but we were soon kitted up and ready to go. Leaving the ice axes in the bag, Ryan led off with crampons. It proved to be good Diff climbing but with loose rocks waiting to be kicked off by the careless climber.
We led through four pitches and saw only snowy ledges and the odd iced up crack. After this we roped up to together and scrambled out the top pitches.
The climb, although not a winter route, was good practise in climbing with crampons. We quickly headed down the south side, glissading the snow and surfing the scree. We got back into the hut as the sun set and the rain began to fall.
Torridon was off, so we decided that we would find out the conditions and head east. The next morning we woke at 5 from a very comfortable night in the warm and cosy hut and headed off to the Cairngorms. After following a slow convoy of cars up the ski road, we met up with Henning and Adam who were going over to Coire an Lochain. We decided to go the other way and head up into the Coire an t-Sneatchta.
After overtaking a myriad of parties heading our same way, we kit up at the rescue box. Looking up it was obvious that Patey’s route was in condition with the Alton Towers length queue. On my list was Fluted Butress Direct IV/5***. Fortunately this was free so we slogged up the slope and took a belay below the chimney.
Nerves were playing in my mind as I set off and wasn’t helped by chossy ice and illusive gear placements. Coming to what looked like a particularly choosy and protection less section, I spent an age cursing and faffing around finding gear. At one point shouting “I’m not going with out any gear” which was bluntly replied with “Well there isn’t any!” Unperturbed, I eventually hacked away and found a bomber nut and a good foothold. Confidence restored, I shot up the rest of the pitch.
Ryan’s patience was rewarded with cold feet and hot aches but he joined me in no time at the thread belay. Ryan headed off up the next pitch to be met by more chossy ice and even less protection. He kept his cool, not one expletive heard, and worked his way to the crest. This was followed by a protection less, tricky rock step which I, on second, almost came off.
After suffering the hot aches myself, I set off on the next pitch which was an enjoyable scramble over boulders that brought us quickly to just below the top. Ryan came up and we walked off to the plateau to be met by the madding crowd. A total contrast from yesterday, were even the lone deer, on Beinn Eighe, seemed glad of the company.
After de-kitting and taking off crampons we headed down the goat track with a good bum slide. At the rescue box we were met by four members of the Moray MC club ( Sarah, Dan, John and Illona) which Ryan was a member of. All six of us walked down and went into Aviemore for choclate chaud (Very good from SKI DOO café) and butties (They didn’t sell cake!). A good weekend, lets hope it begins to freeze over soon.
By John Forester.
Monday, 16 February 2009
On closer inspection we saw that the cracks in the Hoarmaster chimney were choked with ice. With the prospect of little gear on a pumpy climb and the need for good belays I quickly chickened out and we went downhill to go for Ewan buttress direct start which is IV,6 in most books while Alan Fyffe gives it a very generous V,6. By the time we arrived at the start the Irish pro was nearly half up Fallout corner and the other teams were making good progress on Aqualung and Savage slit. You can just about spot them on the picture below showing Adam traversing down to the start of Ewan buttress direct.
Monday, 9 February 2009
We reached the crag in good time. I quickly pointed out a line to Stuart that might be of interest, a short chimney graded v diff in the summer called Square Chimney. It looked good and Stu was keen to get in to it. Classic chimney moves followed with back and footing, stemming and bridging. Below is Stuart in the chimney.
After this we decided to try one more route then call it a day. I fancied Platform Climb iii/5. A nice looking route with short steep sections led to a slab at the top with some interesting moves to gain the top of the tor. It wasn't what we set out to do but all wasn't lost on Clach na Beinn.
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
With that plan out the window we decided that Deep Cut Chimney iv/5****, a classic Patey route, and 'good value' in Hennings words. After some easy soloing on grade ii ice (right) the chimney takes form and splits the cliff in half, and gets deeper with hight. Some ice, most of it useless, was encountered on the first pitch (belwo). This led to a steep step in the gully with a fine ice pitch of about grade iv. Above this some easyer climbing with the odd chokestone thrown in here and there till the gully narrows and the way ahead becomes blocked. John was surprised when i suggested that we have to climb out to some blocked boulders in the chimney. But this was the only way out!
Some interesting back and footing followed then a couple of good but nervy hooks. The boulders were almost within reach but getting a good footing wasn't as easy as one would like, with icey verglass on one side. After a short while i figured out the move. With a good hook on the boulder i was on the top and clear of the chimney. John was impressed and soon followed to meet me on the top with a big grin on his face. His first cold climb, my second.