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