Thursday, 12 March 2009
Spiral Gully with direct finish
Thanks to Jamie B from the Ice Factor, today Isi and I hitched to the Cairngorms and went climbing in Coire an t-Sneachda. Conditions were better than expected; although it was hovering above freezing, there was a lot of consolidated snow around and the gullies were in reasonable shape. Buttresses were black and a bit damp.
We chose Spiral Gully as our climb, a quality Grade II line meandering up the cliffs. Choosing the more adventurous variations, including an invented Grade III finish up a mixed rib with a couple of technical moves, we had a great day! The first pitch was a tad on the soggy side, so we avoided turf where possible, but on the upper pitches the turf was acceptably frozen and there was even some nice sticky ice to be had.
Weather was on the blustery side with some spindrift and snow showers. As we walked out from the crag in the afternoon, the wind began to pick up.
Upon returning to Glencoe, it soon became obvious that the thaw has affected the snow at all levels. Aonach Dubh has once again been stripped. Not sure what is going on with the snow at the highest levels, but what we need now is a good freeze!
Facebook album from today