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Monday, 20 April 2009

Harry & Hammer

On Saturday the 18th of April Stevo and I went to the Etive slabs to do Hammer HVS ***. On the way down the glen I got a few shots of the locals...

... and at the bottom of the glen Harry Potter & Co. occupied all the parking spaces in order to shoot another Episode of Harry Potter saga. The Cockney film folk were quite nice though and allowed us to walk through to the Etive slabs. Here is a look from the slabs on the Potter folk (put some new contact lenses in; there are lots of 4x4's in the glen near the start of the loch).

The Etive slabs are at an easy angle but with few jugs and usually not much protecion. Here's an old photo from when we did Spartan Slab, a **** classic. When we arrived on Saturday it was grey and the older shot shows the slabs with the Heather in bloom and sunshine.

Steve started the first pitch, followed by me doing the second and both are easy. After that the proper Hammer starts with a 5a scoop pitch followed by the now 5b rated crux pitch. After the first cocky 'is that it' reaction you'll realise that the scoop is a wee bit polished, devoid of holds and move by move the gear is lower and lower. It feels different than it looks.

After that some good laybacking to a belay on a flake. Here is me starting again after putting the gear into the crack...

... and here is about to reach the belay.

More laybacking follows. The ancient ring peg is gone but chalk shows a very thin traverse to a line of flakes. This traverse is now rated 5b and it felt it esp. with the seepage that we had to cross. Gear on the flake line was limited before you reach an overlap with plenty of gear.

A wee pitch to the path ends a superb climb although the best bits are concentrated in two pitches. From the climb we saw climbers on 'The Pause' HVS/E1 running it out in the slabby sea.

Here another shot of the team from the descent path.

On the way back I went for a jog up and down the shores of Loch Earn. The evening light was warm and painted a classical Scottish loch picture.


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