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.
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'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.