Sunday, 25 March 2012

Summer come early in Glencoe (posted by James)

Warm skies and dry rock on the East face of Aonach Dubh

What a beautiful few days it has been! Warm temperatures, dry ground and surprisingly hot sunshine since thursday…it seems far too good to be true.

My brilliant day on Pinnacle Ridge on Skye last week has really wetted my appetite for summer climbing again. I forget during the winter months just how much I enjoy the gymnastic and satisfying movement of rock-climbing, too focused on the thrills of winter climbing instead.

Summer come early.

This morning I wanted to get out but there is a lazy atmosphere in the glen today, a distinct feeling of being a mid-summer day, so I decided to go and do something that suited my mood.

A team on "Curving Crack", Severe (I think...)

I've been up to the superb East face of Aonach Dubh a fair few times. It's a great place to climb but only when it's been dry and warm for a few days. Walking up Coire nan Lochan this morning, it looked as dry as you are ever likely to find it.

I headed up to the Far Eastern Buttress and soloed the pleasant "North East Nose" (Very Difficult). After this I climbed to the top of the buttress via the top half of "Farewell Arete" (Very Difficult).

My routes today took lines immediately left of the shadows

It was quite nice to have a change from my usual and favourite kind of summer climbing, i.e soloing long Difficult-grade mountaineering routes. It was great to be climbing without a rucksack and in a relaxed atmosphere, without the usual stresses and commitment of long mountain routes. Though it's only something I like to do occasionally, cragging isn't my cup of tea really.

A very dry Stob Coire nan Lochan

Warm rock, hot sun, a cloudless sky and climbing in a t-shirt. So very different from the late-season winter climbing I'm usually doing at this time of year. Roll on more sunshine….when you live in the West Highlands, every minute is precious!


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