Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Racing the thaw

 The Stuic (I**) - a classic winter scramble, making the best of a frustrating week.

For the last week I have been a tormented soul, frustrated and irritable. Good winter climbing conditions arrived, but a mix of bad luck and other responsibilities conspired - and I was left empty handed without climbing a single route.

Every evening I have watched the list of this week's winter ascents grow, and for once I haven't been able to contribute to it. My energy levels had risen to a point where spontaneous self-combustion felt inevitable, my mind a whirl of a thousand thoughts of winter.

This morning I was finally free. Just in time for the thaw to arrive….

Getting two hours sleep after my shift before leaving felt like yet another obstacle in my way. I thought of the summer, when I can indulge my "coiled spring" moments by not going to bed at all…leaving at the end of a night shift and arriving for the dawn. Things are easier in the summer. Yet it still seems like a mere interlude to endure between winters.

Beinn a'Bhuird....drool.

The Stuic - a good winter grade I with harder lines optional throughout

The lower and less steep part of The Stuic.

Heavy rime on the crags, but an extremely rapid softening of the turf started mid-morning.

I can't remember the last time I did a 19km round trip in the mountains in order to climb a grade I winter route. But a two-star classic grade I mountaineering route that is "climbable in all conditions" sounded pretty damn sweet to me this morning. As the temperature rocketed and a light drizzle started half way up "The Stuic", I was endlessly grateful I was here rather than turning around empty-handed from a harder route that was being rendered unclimbable by the thaw before my eyes.

For the first time ever, circumstances have meant the start to my winter hasn't been a good one. I guess surely that can only be a good thing…


1 comment:

  1. Hi James, looks like a nice route. One for the ticklist of things I can do at my level too! We were out on Sron na laraig on Sunday, after waiting 3 winters for the days off and conditions to line up. Cracking day too. Pic s and video link below, cheers Tim :)