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Friday, 8 February 2013

Very white with good rimed snow ice and rock!

I was out with Andy, Mark and Marc who were looking for some coaching at the start of their winter climbing weekend before heading off to do their own thing.

We decided the best option was for the guys to climb as a threesome while I coached them on climbing technique, ropework and pointed out the key runners and belays.

I'd decided the direct variation of Goat Track Gully would give a good mix of terrain and some good steep ice to play on. Short video clip here

We started up the steep ice direct while I placed key runners and belays for the guys. Andy was first off but had second thoughts at my direct direct line which was much steeper than he'd climbed before! He then took the sensible easier line to the right to set up an equalised belay above. The others went direct direct via my key ice screw runners on the steepest section!

We had two excellent pitches on good thick ice with bomber ice crew runners and a steep icy corner helped by the 'hand of god' before we joined the easier upper gully.

The guys shared several leads all the way up onto the painfully breezy plateau before packing the ropes away. In near whiteout while avoiding the cornices we headed over to Pt 1141 and then navigated down the NW ridge to the Coire Cas and our cars.

We never actually saw much today and finding the coire and then the crags was our first challenge, however it was well worth it as the climbing was simply excellent, with even steep ice and rimed rocky slabs feeling very secure, so much so that I explored a couple of extra variations to the variation for the next time!

While I was guiding Fi went for a wander over to Braeriach to check out some snowholes and the climbing. The walk sounded like hard work due to the deep snow which was made only slightly easier by George and Hannah's apres birthday trail breaking, details on Fi's blog here!
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