Monday 8 October 2007

Clean Sweep 7 Oct

Jane and I woke up in our tent to frost, mist and damp roads but took a chance on a good forecast and walked up the Goat Track and down Coire Domhain to the foot of Hells Lum. Inspired by Ron Walker of Talisman Mountaineering' s pics on his conditions site: Winternet, we had a particular route in mind. Although the water was pouring down some parts of the crag the warm sun and sight of plenty of dry rock meant we decided to give Clean Sweep, the classic VS a go. The first 4c pitch had a few wet streaks easily stepped over before climbing an awkward groove onto the dry 'whaleback ridge'. Jane led the next pitch which although technically the easiest on the route was disconcertingly wet (in fact thats an understatement!) but plenty of runners and perseverance soon saw us at the great block at the foot of the almost bone dry 'pink corner'. This pitch is a delight, well protected positive climbing with continual interest but never desperate for the grade. The last proper pitch is a bit steeper though easier at 4b, following a less disinct line up the ridge above. The belay is only a short scramble of 20m from the plateau. As the skies finally clouded over we grabbed our bags and headed back to the ski centre for a well earned brew pleased with another late season rock route in the bag and we hadnt seen a soul in the Loch Avon basin all day.

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