Monday, 14 December 2015

On Your Marks...

SCNL 12 DEc 15 from C Coid on Vimeo.

After a few false starts, Sunday dawned with a blanket of recent snow and the plan was The Seam but a late check revealed, 'West is Best', so Craig and Mark headed for the Coe.  Scabbard Chimney had apparently been climbed on Saturday and had potential.

Early start and two VERY near misses with deer on the road in Glencoe saw a still 'nervous' pair heading in to the Hurt Lochan.  An early pair ahead of us and a pair of youthful whippets passing us on the way saw 2 pairs with eyes on Scabbard Chimney; tbh, it looked very thin, with soft snow and no ice.  Probably a tad too committing for the guys in that condition.

Summit buttress was very black and central buttress looked better.  Raeburn's Route looked fairly white and the pair headed off from the luncheon stone.  Craig takes up the story;

SCnL cliffs - Central Buttress
'Very soft snow on the approach was pretty brutal to walk on with many hidden rocks.  Onto the first belay and Mark was off up the chimney in good style.  No ice meant hooks on increasingly steep ground, with a tricky exit onto the crest.  I took pitch two, a delicate short section on very soft snow with more hooks.  Mark led up the third on tenuous slabs with balancey moves and I led off the final pitch.  We abseiled down the route for fun, practice and discussed rescue techniques and scenarios.

All in, a most enjoyable day but, to be honest, we don't think winter is quite here yet. The snow has just been laid and is pretty homogenous; there is a crispy top layer after the freeze (-5'c on the way up) but a decent freeze thaw cycle is needed to provide some useful snow, ice and neve.'

Summit Buttress
Aonach Eagach ridge


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