Wednesday 2 January 2008

Fannichs 30th Dec

Dave, Eric and I went for the long option to get high enough to find climbing conditions for our last route of 2007. We walked in to Sgurr nan Clach Geala from the north witnessing a stunning sunrise highlighting An Teallach. The guys had me gasping for breath by the time we were looking down into the coire and we new we would have to go for the summit butresses to have a chance of finding frozen turf and ice. The line of Fusillier (IV,5) is obvious starting up a steep groove which Eric led using elbows knees and a bizarre rucksack-body wedge. Dave's pitch was easier but by now it was obvious that the little ice around was thawing. I led the guidebook's crux pitch pulling up on a nicely wedged chockstone....... which fell out as Dave used it. I also found a home (or perhaps Russian) made titanium peg at the belay? Eric disappeared around the corner and suddenly the rope seemed to be inching out Veeeeery slowly. A bad sign from the frenchman as he'd made the route look very easy so far. Seconding him we soon saw why. The 'icey slabs' were smooth and coated in a cm or two of soft ice and a little powder. Some very tenuous tiptoing saw us developing a great deal of respect for 'Riquet's lead. 2 easier pitches saw some better frozen turf and the summit (a cracking munro) and we were back at the car after a day that lasted just under 10 hours! Next morning the view from above Ullapool showed us that the snow had stripped right back in overnight rain - oh well, it will return!


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