Sunday, 10 January 2010

An attempt at the Clachaig Icefall

A large icefall has formed on the broken ground to the right of Clachaig Gully. Foolishly, I posted about it on UKC to ask if it had been climbed, and if so, what its name was. Turns out it had never been recorded, but thanks to my posting about it for all to see on the internet, I missed out on the first ascent! It was climbed yesterday and graded III.

Jack and I had planned to make the second ascent this morning. However, Jack didn't make it to the Clachaig so I elected to set off by myself, a little later than I would have liked.

The icefall is magnificent, a beautiful line strikingly visible from the pub. The walk-in takes about twenty minutes and from the bottom of the route the ice looked good, albeit not fat, and with a little water running behind it. I set off up the first pitch, which wasn't too steep.

Unfortunately, the route started to rapidly thaw within minutes, water spurting out of pick placements! The sun started to hit the ice and I decided it wasn't worth the risk to continue by myself.

Given slightly warmer temperatures forecast at low levels next week, it seems likely that this icefall will collapse at some point soon. I've well and truly missed the boat on this one!

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