1st and 2nd March, 2008 – Climbing in the Cairngorms

Weekend climbing in the Northern Corries near Aviemore with Jeremy. Unfortunately, my run of good weather on visits to the Cairngorms is over but it should be wintry some times in winter I suppose.

Saturday – 2nd Attempt at The Vent in Coire an Lochain

A second attempt on The Vent for me and first for Jeremy. The route looked good from the base and I set off for what would become the first go. After managing to get above the hardest section, (according to the route description anyway) I got some gear in and had a rest. It had been the hardest and scariest bit of climbing I have led in winter and so I was a bit knackered and worn out mentally. The next difficult bit was a short way above but once up there I realised I could not find any more safety placements even after digging about to reveal a few cracks and I chickened out at this point. Luckily another party had arrived and could tell Jeremy who could not see me from his anchor point that I was coming back and needed a tight rope.

The second attempt by Jeremy didn’t succeed either and so we now both have a reason to get back and try again but we also have an idea of what conditions will work and which won’t! We hung around after packing up to watch the second group have a go and we hoped they could retrieve for us our abandoned gear above the chock stone. It wasn’t to be though as they too were spat off at this point and they abandoned ship as well.

Sunday – Spiral Gully in Coire an t-Sneachda

In to the adjacent and closer corrie to try a route called Spiral Gully. An early start secured our route for us despite the place teaming with people and we had a brilliant time on it. The route itself was climbed in three and a half pitches with varying amounts of gear on each one from some to none! Just enough though not to be too uncomfortable and interest along the route was added at first, in the streams of spin drift pouring down on us then later, in the views around to others engaged on other routes in just about every direction.

After much hassle the day before with spin-drift snow getting in to everything, I decided to be nice to my camera and leave it in the car so no photos taken by me this day.


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