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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Hanging Garden Route & Funeral Fall

Ross and I both managed to took a day off to go to the Dubh Loch to look at Vertigo Wall, a Nisbet and Robertson classic but the third pitch held almost no ice which, according to the guidebook, would be required.

After a short discussion we changed plan and walked to the bottom of to the Labyrinth with the aim to do the Hanging Garden Route, another Nisbet & Robertson climb at V,4***. Here we are gearing up ...
... and here is Ross on the first pitch.

Higher up we traversed into the Hanging garden, a snowfield surrounded by iced up cliffs.

Expect scenery but not much gear. Taking a deadman is a good idea.

From the belay a tech4 snow ice gully leads to a Nevis-style belay, not helped by the fact that we only took 5 ice screws of which two were the shortest stubbies available. But the climbing was easy due to the first time placements that we found most of the time. Here Ross is approaching the belay with the Dubh Loch below...

Ross then had the best pitch of the day going up an icy slab to an inverted triangular buttress.

Here Ross is climbing the slab.

The last pitch was an airy traverse and then a climb up to the corniced rim. However, the route had been climbed recently by Steve Addy and Helen Rennard among others and so we just needed to follow the footsteps. Besides, we had blue skies and it must be very different to do this route in the mist not knowing how the cornice can be breached. Here is Ross in the sun on a nearly windless plateau.

We then decided to do Funeral falls because I have little water ice experience while a lot of others had done ice over the Christmas period or have been to Riukan or the Alps. We walked under a 'Mackerel' sky...
... to climb the falls which are an excellent tech 4 ice pitch with good ice screw runners. Take more than 5 screws for maximum enjoyment.
Rjukan-style ice climbing.

Who needs the Alps if conditions are like that. It is a little disappointing that the ice was lacking on Vertigo Wall but we were more than compensated by Hanging Garden Route and Funeral Fall. Happy bunny day!
Finally, thanks to the three blokes who spent the night in the bothy and offered us water and whisky. It made the walk along loch Muick easier.

1 comment:

steve said...

How was Labyrinth Direct looking?