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Monday, 6 February 2012

Glen Clova without boots

Robbie, James, Andrew, Gunnar and myself met in Glen Clova for a short day. And then I realised that I had not packed my boots. No boots = no crampons = no Wild Cat Wall, V,6**, our first objective. I followed Andrew and Gunnar into corrie Fee. Their revised objective was to climb Look C gully IV,4***, the classic of the glen which had some ice on the crucial ice pitch but it was unclear whether it was enough.
I decided to climb a buttress to the left at maybe grade II. A few slightly steeper bits but the fell running shoes had sufficient grip to get up these bits. Here is the view over lovely Glen Clova from higher up.
I then continued to Driesh and some blue skies emerged.

From the trig point I went East and descended via bum glissade into winter corrie where I saw Robbie and James on the second pitch of Diagonal Gully, III***.
Here is a picture of James zoomed in showing the ice that had formed over the last, cold week.
I decided to climb an easier gully to the left and saw John Wilson and Jim (?) on Backdoor Gully II. Here is John climbing a small ice step, the trickiest bit of the route.
Sans crampons it was a good opportunity to practice step cutting, the technique before front pointing changed ice climbing. It all went well and soon I passed the Aberdeen team to meet a surprised Robbie and James in the basin. Here is Robbie ascending to reach the steeper upper section of Diagonal Gully.

Sans crampons & sans harness I decided to better follow backdoor gully which crosses Diagonal Gully in the basin and then follows a heathery/turfy line to the right which is much more suited to climbing without crampons than ice and hard neve. Here is Robbie climbing the steeper finish of Diagonal Gully...

... and here is Jim topping out of backdoor gully with James belaying Robbie in Diagonal Gully below.
Diagonal gully had a small cornice which Robbie is climbing here in an exposed position...

...and James is following.

At the end everyone managed to climb something and it is good to know that no boots does not always mean no climbing!

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