Sunday, 4 October 2009

A little early winter action

Rich and I were going to go rock climbing on Ardnamurchan today. But, at 7am I checked the Ptarmigan webcam and saw a fair dusting of white stuff so we changed plans and headed east. Walking into Coire an t Sneachda there was a frost and the snow was lying down well below the coire floor so we were on to go and have a look at Pygmy Ridge. We chose this route because:
1. It starts nice and high
2. It has pretty much no turf on it
This means that it has a good chance of coming into nick and if things aren't perfectly frozen climbing it won't really harm it.
We needn't have worried though. There was rime on our buttress (and a little on the Mess of Pottage, less on Fiacaill area) and on some rocks a good glassy coating had built up. After a wee false start (ok, I fell off the first move- early season cockiness) I climbed a good first pitch that reminds me of many early season Cairngorm routes I've done: big teetery step, ledge, another big teetery step, another ledge and repeat. There was even enough ice in a couple of cracks for me to pull up on. WARNING about 15m up the scratch marks take an obvious step left and there is a nice positive flake edge to hook above you. The flake is very loose- probably freezes in with more snow. I would have asked Rich to trundle it but by then there were 2 more climbers approaching below us. I belayed in a bay and Rich made short work of following me before leading through. Higher up as I crossed onto the other side of the ridge where it becomes a horizontal arete the sun had stripped much of the rime from the rocks, indeed Rich's last pitch was climbed more in gloves than with axes but the meat of the climb is in the first ropelength so we were satisfied with what we had done.


Peter Duggan said...

Nice one, guys. But I'm still hoping for some October rock! :-)

Alan said...

Me too! Al