Monday, 24 March 2014

Full Metal Racket

Craig, Mark and Bill chased the weather to Aviemore on Saturday seeking some action on the hill.
A chilly drive with snow on the way up saw us head off into the Sneachda in some seriously blowy spindrift...GREAT FUN at last.

With monster cornices a plenty, wind blowing fresh snow from the SW, we looked for a safe option and saw pleasing scoured avalanche trails out of Alladin's Couloir, so we headed for the buttress with the guide book out.
A very pleasant walk in

After a quick discussion we decided on Original Route (aka Summer Original Route or Patey's Original Route) It's an excellent line at IV 5 on the day we had zero neve and very little frozen turf.

A couple of Tarmigan have a chat - plenty of them about
Mark took the first pitch; a meaty steep groove over some hard steps on finely placed points with just enough gear when necessary.  As it turned out, he linked P1 & 2 together to take us to the snowy ramp after 40m.

A quick swap of the ropes between Craig and Mark, and Craig was off up pitch 3.  Increasingly steep ground took him to an option of straight up a tenuous crack with a peg just out of reach or a move left onto a platform to think about things.  Once on the platform, the route became obvious with the spectacularly exposed traverse on his left.  A quick nut in place saw him through; the ledge can't be more than a few inches in places but the hooks give plenty confidence.

High up at the abseil station
An open chimney leads up to the crux open book corner and a little run out; some cool moves and plenty scratching on the right foot saw him over the top and onto the block belay/abseil station.

We abseiled into Alladin's Couloir and down to the bags for some food before a very pleasant walk out.

Swinging about on the abseil
After a very disappointing winter, we knocked off a very good route which felt a bit harder than the grade on the day; anyone expecting a bog-standard IV 5 would be in for quite a surprise we thought.

Craig and Mark in the distance, showing scale

Alladin's Couloir and buttress 

Craig forgot his camera and Bill left his in his sack so we only have a couple of abseil and ugly mug shots from the day, pity.

Happy climbers

Having a ball!

Something to add scale

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