16th January, 2010 – Ice Climbing Attempt in Glen Ogle

An unusually severe winter compared to recent years has been forming ice all over the Highlands and today we headed off to Glen Ogle to have a go at some good looking ice falls that have been climbed in the past few days. However, a thaw has set in the last week and though pictures of the ice from two days prior suggested thick, solid ice, we set off not knowing what the day would bring.

We drove up with rain (not a good sign) but were encouraged on arriving at the car park to see the frozen falls above and set off for the 15 minute walk uphill with the rain turning to snow in a quite a short height gain. Unfortunately with each new view of the falls as we approached it was apparent they were not just ice but the burns which had formed them were now flowing fully over them and thawing the ice rapidly in the process. We quickly decided against the lower of the two main tiers of ice, it being far too wet and climbed past it to the upper tier which looked more promising. It was still wet enough to make us seal sleeves and collars against the deluge but apart from a 15ft section of ice at the bottom, there was no climbing to be had, the next section was hollow, brittle and exploratory probing with my axe was like running a hot knife through butter. We managed one other short play on a little piece of good ice further below the main ice falls but that was all.

Hopefully this thaw will not take all the ice away completely before the second phase of winter sets in (which usually happens) so that we get another chance on routes like this.

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