Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Agag's Groove, the ultimate mountain VDiff?
Today, as my third hill day in a row, James and I headed up to Buachaille Etive Mor to climb Agag's Groove. This is another one of those ultra-classic routes that has inspired me for ages. It is a steep and very exposed rock climb breaching the enormous face of the Rannoch Wall. Surprisingly at only Very Difficult standard, this climb proved to be quite reasonable, albeit with some entertaining moves for a VDiff!
The climbing was simply stunning throughout. The first pitch was highly enjoyable and easy, the second even easier but excitingly run-out (luckily not so exposed). The third pitch was the real gem: a highly exposed traverse onto the vertical open face, with hundreds of feet of air beneath you, then a very steep and strenuous crack climb back up to the final belay. As I couldn't quite reach the best holds, I ended up laybacking the first few moves of the crack! Not as straightforward as the grade would lead you to suspect, particularly given the awesome exposure, but the gear was very good.
After completing the final also exposed pitch, we continued scrambling up to the Crowberry Tower, then abseiled off the back of this and summitted the mountain. Including part of Curved Ridge, Agag's Groove and the Crowberry Tower, we spent most of our time on the mountain either scrambling or climbing. An absolutely top day.
Photos from today