Thursday 3 March 2011

A bit claggy but still a softshell day

My mission this week has been to avoid my waterproofs all week and I may have cracked it. Day 4 of our Glenmore Lodge Intro. to Winter Climbing course and we walked in in warm mist to Sneachda. Talking last night and this morning about their priorities for the last 2 days of the course it was clear that Tom wanted to get on the sharp end whilst Eoin is working on becoming a competent second and familiarising himself with the climbing process. We took our time heading to the base of Red Gully giving another team time to get well ahead. I was in 2 minds about going here on a mild day as Red and Goat Track are both very loose and a thaw can mean a lot of rockfall. I'd spoken to people who had been on and looked into the route early in the week however and they sounded confident that there was enough ice to 'glue' it all together.
The first pitch was thin dripping ice but the bay where the first belay is was well frozen and here I handed over the lead to Tom. He made shot work of the water ice step out into the upper gully where we took care to find solid placements for runners and his belay. Eoin seconded quickly and was happy to take over the lead on the upper slopes with me placing gear for him.
We descended the Goat Track to find some ice to introduce the guys to Abolokovs which they duly built and abseiled from before returning to the Lodge to look at placing pegs on the towers.
In Lochain Ewan reported good ice on Sidewinder and Chute route was also climbed. Giles and his team found good chewey ice but steady drizzle on Pumpkin on Creag Mheaghaidh.

Intro to Winter Climbing days 3 and 4 from Alan Halewood on Vimeo.

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