Friday, 5 March 2010

Silver Tear or 'Swingin' in the Rain'





Despite the forecast Guy and I had the day free so we headed north and west from a damp stat in Inverness. It was drizzling when we got into the car, it was raining when we got out of the car at Kishorn and it was chucking it down in Coire na Poite when we reached the base of the ice.
We new immediately that we weren't going to get much done as we were already soaked and much of the ice was melting at a rapid rate- standing under curtains of icicles with water pouring off of them will defintiely negate your life insurance.
The first pitch of Silver Tear was still fat (as was the first pitch of The Cooler) and not threatened by any major curtains of ice above so Guy set off making short work of it (very wet ie is friendly for axes and crampons but its disconserting to see water running out of screws placed 10 minutes earlier. I was rather soggy when I joined him but he foolishly told me he was warm enough for another pitch so off I went up steep chewy ice... much of which no longer appeared attached to the crag: -(
After leading that pitch I was glad to place a couple of ice screw threads and ab back to guy who was now shivering uncontrollably and who had also converted his belay into an ab station. Retreat! Run away!
The routes would respond well to another prolonged freeze but in particular the third pitch of Silver Tear was looking thinner than in recent pictures.

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