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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Snorkeling the Dee & Poachers Fall

Foreword: Have you recently seen a middle aged male snorkeling in the Dee? I hope you have not phoned the police as there is a benign explanation for this incident. It was Mr. D. of Aberdeen who was in the Dee due to problems with his elbow also known as 'tennis elbow'. The story goes: During the summer Mr. D. climbed a lot and unfortunately his elbow got sore and various treatments did not provide relief. So Mr. D. announced that he would miss the winter climbing season. What Mr. D. did not reckognise was that the 2009/2010 winter would be a once in a decade winter and even climbs that rarely form were in condition and climbed by his climbing partners. So Mr. D. became frustrated and threw his ice axes in the Dee after announcing this act in an e-mail to his climbing partners. The elbow, however, got better, the winter continued and Mr. D. changed his mind about not climbing and jumped into the Dee in order to recover his ice axes. The Scottish climbing fraternity notes with great delight that the axes were found and that Mr. D. is climbing once again!

Main text: Here is Brian approaching Poachers Fall V,5****, a now classic climb first climbed by Andy Nisbet and Richard McHardy in 1978, on Liathach.

Below is the bottom of the climb. Poachers Fall is on the right and Salmon Leap is the icefall on the left.

It had thawed on Saturday and we decided to start early allowing us to make best use of the cold temperatures and good ice.

I did pitch two starting with an ice step...

... followed by a steep icefall to a good belay...

... which Brian used to raise his low blood sugar by eating Soreen malt loaf. Nothing works better in winter!

The last pitch started with some mixed climbing...

... and the ice umbrella above can be avoided on the left. A little bit more of ice followed before reaching the easier upper snow field. We then descended out of the mist to be treated to a Torridonian spring view.

And from time to time we a bumslide.

Another brilliant day, this winter keeps on giving! And good to see that Brian is back in the ring!

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