Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A quick blast up Sron na Lairig.

 Sron na Lairig (II***) this morning

The current cold-snap is becoming frustrating…as it isn't actually that cold. Whilst it is great to have snow back on the hills and to have good weather for the last few days, the snow is insulating the ground underneath from freezing - meaning that conditions for climbing aren't great at all.

I watched a great short film last night on UKC about a pair of world-class European climbers coming over to Scotland to winter climb. It really struck me just how much respect and excitement they had for Scotland's strict winter climbing ethics. It's one of the many things I love about it, that there are such rules in place.

 Small cornices on Stob Coire Sgreamhach

This early in the season, we are all bouncing off the walls and drooling at the prospect of getting our first few winter routes done. Quite a few folk end up climbing routes that aren't in proper winter-nick. But I've come to firmly believe that if you are going to play the game, you should play it fairly or not at all.

 Beinn Fhada

So although this morning I was eager to climb something harder, I didn't want to be pulling on axes on un-frozen turf so I decided to do a mountaineering route instead. In most people's eyes these "winter scrambles" are fair-game so long as they have plenty of snow on them, as it's fairly rare that you ever have to actually pull on your axes.

The knife-edge top section of Sron na Lairig

Sron na Lairig in Glencoe is a beautiful route, one of the first I ever climbed in the glen. Its slender, snaking profile has formed an impressive back-drop to dozens of runs along the Lairig Eilde during the past year or so, and today I was compelled to re-visit this mountaineering classic.

 Sron na Lairig's elegant shape from above

I avoided the bottom part of the ridge via an easy ramp on the left as there wasn't much snow cover lower down, and then joined the main ridge at the next steep step higher up. There was plenty of snow around, most of it very soft but with a wee bit of sun-crust, and quite a lot of the ground exposed to the air is starting to freeze up.

There was no-one else around and I made quick progress through the deep snow, pleased that the wind had dropped right down and wasn't knocking me over as it was in the Mamores last week. 4 hours 45 minutes car-to-car with plenty of photo-taking and view-gazing - a short and easy snow-fix but an enjoyable one.


1 comment:

  1. Superb pictures. I really admire your blog, your experienced comments and magnificient pictures. Can't wait to come back to my second homeland :) already visited the Trotternish and Glencoe...next visit for some not-so-severe mountaneering?