Friday 6 May 2016

Mini adventure: Glen Gour bike and climb

JJ came over for a climb today and given that he's recovering from elbow surgery wanted something to keep the weight off his arms but was up for mini adventure. So I suggested Glen Gour. I went to Indian Slabs once 3 years ago and remember the immaculate gneiss fondly so we crossed the ferry and unpacked the bikes for the ride in. Its a little over an hour of riding, some through hub deep puddles and some quite technical bouldery sections of track (and some gneiss slabs too). Then 20 minutes up the soft wet slope above to the base of the cleanest section of slabs where Time Machine (5 pitch VS4c) was looking clean and dry. Pitch after pitch of 'climb at will' fine grained gneiss, limited gear but immaculately clean between heathery ledges giving 40 and 50m pitches. The sun was warm when it hit us but the views down to snowy Glencoe reminded us how it was only a couple of days ago that winter seems to have us in its grasp.
I'd been trawling the SMC new routes guides and had found mention of a route called Crazy Horse (HVS 5a) higher up. I set off up a ramp giving good 4c climbing and poor runners for 15m until a wet cave gave me a decent cam. The 'exposed traverse' mentioned from here was obvious... and wet... but a good nut gave the impetus needed. Now I'm parked on a narrowing sloppy ledge. Above on the right a manky crack offers no appeal (and later checking the description this was where the first ascentionists went) but the wall to the left although clean and dry looks quite blank- but its gneiss, holds will appear...? The first hold that appears snaps! Bugger!! I work my way up on small brittle cracked and often creaking flakes and side pulls. Its only 5a but plenty of it and no gear and the holds are getting smaller. I'm a good 8m away from the last runner painfully aware of how far to the side it is too. Finally a ledge and a runner... of sorts... another 15m of damper brittle rock and gear that's never conventional enough to inspire confidence and I'm sinking my fingers into the peat and pulling onto a wet ledge. JJ appears in due course grinning and muttering that that was E1 5a and reminded him a lot of Gogarth! A long runout on easier ground and a little scrambling takes us to point where we can make a steep slippery descent back to the bags and the long awaited other half of sandwiches and water bottles. 4 hours. 7 pitches of 4a, 4b, 4c and 5a and 400m of ascent.
All that remained was the hour on the bikes back to the car and the hour and a half delay queueing with 6 day trials supporters at Corran Ferry in the sun.
Spring is here- lets hope this isn't summer for us too!
 Post bike in sock raining out
 Time Lord Pitch 1- look at that rock!
 Glen Gour
 JJ on P2
 Another immaculate slab above Jon
 Hot happy climber
 We didn't want many runners anyway
 Just a last short pitch to finish
 Great rock and views to Glencoe
 Nearly there
 Did I mention how great the rock is?
 Our highpoint was the platform below the sun on the skyline. No pics of the second climb I was busy!
The final easy section of the ride out

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