Monday, 21 December 2009

Scottish Winter Begins

Coire an t'Sneachda - 18/19th December 2009

A report from Mark and Graham from Scotland.

Firstly from Mark:

First winter routes of the season in the bag.

Due to some pretty extreme conditions! With even the local seasoned hard climbers declaring "twas the coldest they had been on a route," and guides struggling to dig out gear on routes. We decided not to chance things and not push our grades. So with dreams of Fingers ridge forgotten, the bonkers cold weather of Friday and extremely bonkers cold and windy weather of Saturday we decided to climb!

Routes ticked:
Hidden Chimney III 4 pitches lead by me
The Runnel II Speed climbed /moving together/ soloing / death roping. See below.

I will let Graham describe the format of climbing on the Runnel and his new found hatred of me!!! Also Graham can enlighten you all with tales of heroic navigation and suffering on descending from the summit.

The highly amusing pic of Graham on the summit is of him wishing had actually died on the climb, as the hot aches that greeted him where unbearable!!!

And now Graham's version:

As for Scotland. The Runnel was good - non-stop climbing which involved very cold hands, firey calves ("can't rest - Mark might be mid move..."), frozen snot covered faces, and me constantly telling myself that Mark must be belaying by now...

That was until I looked up and saw him climbing the crux chimney 60m above me with only two runners between us that both turned out to be far from bombproof. Cue an outburt of cursing directed at Mr Dempsey. I tried to tell him what for when I got to the top but was rudely interrupted by a ferocious bout of hot aches. :(

Turns out to have just been the way it panned out due to the gear, and was apparently equally uncomfortable for Mark.

Navving off was quite a test, a combo of Marks highly accurate stumbling on a bearing and my pacing (did I just say 100m or 200m?!) worked a treat, despite thinking uphill was downhill and having siezed zips and Mark getting compass thumb (frost-nip?). Turns out we should have gone down the Goat Track but at least we can say we took the manly way off.

Retrospective fun at it's very best.

Bring on the next...