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Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Good winter climbing and skiing on the 1st of December

Just back from a warm and sunny Spain to reports of good winter climbing while we were away. The Cairngorm ski area was open too at the weekend! An email from Oli says it all: "Hope you had a good time in Spain.
Just thought I'd send through a few pics and bit of info for your blog if you're interested.
Kev and I met up early on Friday morning with a view to doing something in the Northern corries, There had been a pretty big dump of fresh snow on Thursday and a mild night had left conditions pretty poor. Undeterred we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda hopeful of getting something done. We were disappointed to find soft slushy snow and very wet turf so vowed to return early the next morning and went gear shopping instead!
Saturday was a much better day again we walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda hoping of be first on route and finding better conditions. Well one out of two isn't bad, at the foot of 'Invernookie' there was another party belaying (who promptly traversed too far left and went off route) and another team finding good conditions on the 'Seam'.
Kev and I found conditions better than the previous day and Kev set off up the route. A simple first pitch led to a traverse and a belay below the first steep wall and the ramps, the turf was well frozen on the ramps and there were a few fine torquing moves to be had at the end of each. I set up a belay below the crux and invited Kev to lead through which he did in excellent style and surprisingly quickly, which was just as well as with darkness approaching I didn't fancy doing the crux in the dark! 20 minutes of quite delicate (by my standards) but very entertaining climbing saw Kev and I on the ridge, donning head torches and toasting the route with a wee nip!
We returned on Sunday to do the 'Runnel' as the night had again been cold and clear and neither of us fancied another long day. We found reasonable early season conditions and the chimney pitch in particular provided some interesting grade II climbing. It was nice to do the route without the worry of an enormous cornice collapse and we both agreed the route probably isn't as exciting when banked out!
All in a very worthwhile weekend, plenty of people out with Lochain seeming more popular (and in better nick?). I've attached a few pic's, feel free to use.
Best wishes and maybe see you on the hill over Christmas"
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