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Monday, 3 January 2011

Red Chimney

I always wanted to visit Creagan a' Choire Etchachan in winter. Today Tim and I did. We met at 7 am at the Linn of Dee car park and walked for over 3 h on icy paths (bikes are of no use at the moment) to reach the Hutchison hut. For the first time I had brought my pocket rocket and some Oxo cubes and we had a warm brew and geared up inside. Here is Tim leaving the hut to head for the cliff above (note the straight shafted ice axe in his right hand for the extra challenge). We hoped that the East-facing cliff was a good choice in the strong Westerly winds and it was as it was out of the wind.

On the approach it became clear that there was less ice than we had thought despite the thaw freeze cycles. Djibangi and Djibooty had no ice and the lower slabs of Red Chimney, our climb, were thinly iced.

Red chimney is on the photo below. The route starts in a bay on the left and then over thinly iced slabs (at least today) towards the main gully. High there is another steepening with a tricky ice curtain. Red Chimney was first climbed in winter by Hay and Ibbotson in 1959 but with a cop out variation up the rib on the right. The direct ascent and natural winter route was climbed by Paterson and Hepburn (aka Willie the Pimp and Superman) in January 1967 which is the month I was born.

Here is Tim finishing the slab pitch on easier neve...

... and here he is looking up to the pitch with the ice curtains. It is steeper than in looks.
After that some neve and turf. We topped out into a strong, icy wind and bum glissaded back to the Hutcheson where we cooked some more soup. It was getting dark so we were lighting candles.
After that the Cairngorm tradition of the long walk out in the dark. There was a lot of ice and hard neve on the path so the going was tricky in places. We brewed up a mint tea at Derry lodge and reached the car just after 8 pm. Here is Tim walking back.
We didn't see a single soul all day.
Reference: Strange, Greg. The Cairngorms. 100 years of mountaineering. Cordee, Leicester 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An excellent day, Henning!

Right, if Tiso's is open I'm off to buy some nice sharp new crampons, and maybe a curved tool and all :-)