Craig and Mark met uber 'Super Alpine' early for a trip to Glen Coe to tick off the classic climb, Crowberry Gully...imagine our disappointment driving past the Bookle at 0625 hrs and seeing lights on the path :(
Reports of CG being in good nick were rife and we knew the teams were heading that way. No faff in the carpark and we were off, but not before another team got a 5 min start on us...obviously heading too for CG. We nipped up the route for the North Buttress hoping to head them off at the pass but once we traversed over to the gully line, the two (then we realised three) teams had just arrived at the foot of the gully and were heading up.
That's life and we soldiered on and up to the first very short ice pitch where the queues had started. We had two teams visible ahead and one further up but we had this route in our sights for a while, having missed out on good and bad days for various reasons, so we were content to wait.
The guide books are all pretty poor at describing CG in detail, which is perhaps understandable as once on it you can't really go wrong, but the descriptions in the books didn't quite match what we found...maybe it varies dramatically in differing conditions?
Anyway, we found it had five short iced sections requiring protection (the first one is very short but worth protecting with the in-situ tat); a short chimney and the Thin Flake Crack (?) on the second pitch: what we thought was the Cave pitch but clearly later realised it wasn't with a short steep move out right (very similar to the Cave pitch but less steep, though longer) and then the Cave Pitch - the crux and a lovely pitch of some 10m max, which terminates on the summit slopes.
All climbing in between is pretty straight forward, I - II, requiring little protection although conditions were good and if thin it is most likely to be a different story. We found the going pretty good fun and had a great day out swinging leads. What we did find was that 60m ropes seem to be pretty perfectly sized for the conditions on the day...we had 50m and had two occasions of moving together for the next 10m to get into what appeared to be the right position for the next pitch.
All in, a brilliant day's climbing; stellar views from the summit, stellar rolls and soup and a pleasant walk down the main corrie chatting to Donald King of Abacus Mountaineering.
Fancy doing it again this week :) I tried to make a video but Vimeo is playing games with me and wont save my video, so plenty of pictures instead.
NNAS courses are starting up soon; get in touch if you want to get your navigation skills sorted for the coming year and get a formal navigation qualification at the same time :)
|Pic of the day! :)|
|What we thought was the Cave Pitch...wrong!|
|Cave Pitch Exit|
|Looking down from the Cave|
|Approaching the summit|