Monday, 27 November 2017

An interrupted journey and the whitehouse.

The first route of winter is always an occasion. Today i was treated to a grand day out with 2 good mates, Jamie and Iain and some great snowy winter conditions. I enjoy the classics when in good condition but scratching around on Cairngorm Granite before the buildup or Ben ice routes with no ice are something I no longer look forwards to early season- and I don't climb hard enough to jump on to harder mixed routes as my first of the season- so I often go looking for a good mountaineering route or a little esoterica.
I've had my eye on the routes on the climbers right of the East Ridge of Carn Dearg Mheadhonach for a couple of years but conditions didn't coincide with time and partners. Having mentioned it to friends I noted that Scott and dave had been through a similar thought process a few days ago. I had little difficulty in persuading my pair of partners for today that it might be worth a punt.
The walk in was cold and the snow mid calf deep, occasionally worse and crusty and it wasn't until 1130 that we were in position to abseil down from the notch at the top of the ridge. From here we floundered and swam round to the base of "Perilous Journey" and Jamie led us up and awkward pitch to the base of a stunning slabby corner that Iain had expressed interest in. This interest waned markedly as we found the well sheltered and buried turf was both limited and distinctly 'pully'. A short investigation and a fruitless check for an alternative line and we were soon heading down again- feeling like we'd done more abseiling than climbing today. A discussion of limited daylight versus another pitch ensued and we were soon soling the way (I/II) first pitch of Casablanca. This is what Dave and Scott did recently reporting some loose rock... so it was with a little trepidation that I hauled on the hooks amongst stacked older on the knife edge. Everything held and I changed gear to push on a full rope length of good climbing (turf less sheltered here and better frozen although lots of digging still required) to the crest of the ridge before dark.
Much banter and craic *aka bullying Iain over various things- he enjoys it) and a long walk down by head torchin calm conditions. A good first day of the season! Cheers to Jamie for the pics of me climbing.
 Jamie eyeing Iain's idea of 'substantial tat'.... well he does only weigh about half as much as each of us!
 Jamie beginning our "Perilous Journey" questing for a route and gear.
 Iain setting out on the crux pitch of Perilous Journey. It apparently traverse right out of the corner higher up on "small ledges' and with "thin moves".
Discretion and all that. The gear and the turf together made the decision for us. None of us wanted this pitch so we interrupted the journey.
 Discretion and all that. The gear and the turf together made the decision for us. None of us wanted this pitch so we interrupted the journey.
Heading down again
 On the knife edge of Casablanca (The White House) wondering what's holding all these blocks in place.
Higher and a little happier
Last bit to the ridge crest and a glimpse of blue skies.

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