Thursday, 3 September 2009

Autumn is here at the Clachaig!

EVEN the mountains can look dull.
When we remember
their haze of August heat,
the glaring rays that beat
on flattened colour, unrelieving line,
our clouded hours of life seem of design ;
for we remember
that even mountains can look dull!

Mountains are most beautiful
in September.
For evening, and distance,
the sun's more level glance
lifts under curling lashes of rain-mist
to rest on hills, silvering and shadow-kissed :
in our September
all hours of life grow beautiful.

--Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, 'April and Rain'


It's official: the summer season is now over, and Autumn has begun. Unfortunately the weather has not changed, with constant rain, low cloud, and low temperatures being almost continuous. There has been the odd sunny and dry day, but without exception they have occurred when I've been at work!

So my friends and I have done no climbing at all in ages. Last week James and I made a half-hearted attempt to climb something on the West Face of Aonach Dubh, but it started raining buckets as we ascended the rib beneath the Pinnacle Face, so we bailed out (incidentally discovering a small out of the way cave in the process). Since then we have mostly been working and lounging around in the Bothy, staring glumly out of the window and slowly going insane.

It is once again my 'weekend' off (Thursday and Friday), and typically, the weather is at its worst when I have spare time. I have absolutely no inclination to walk up familiar hills in the pouring rain, even though I know I need to get my fitness up for the winter.

In that spirit, I am compiling a list of routes I want to do this coming season. My primary objective is a winter ascent of the North-East Buttress of Ben Nevis: it was a fantastic expedition in summer, and in winter it will be a truly epic undertaking. I have many other plans but as always I just want to get out and climb!

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