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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

New picks and great ice spoiled by a shit belay!!!

It was one of my much needed rest days, but Fi persuaded me to go ice climbing in case the weather breaks!
As I'd just robbed a bank to pay for new replacement picks for my Quarks, I insisted, it had to be thick ice!

The forecast freezing level was good but the promised sun never arrived. It was actually grey, warmer and the snow was softer than on Monday.

Fortunately in comparison to yesterday, all the Northern Corrie routes were extremely quiet. All the assessment groups had headed off to the Ben and we had the Patey's Route and the Mirror Direct all to ourselves!

The downside was that someone had shit down the Patey's Route from the first belay, making it unpleasant and difficult to avoid contaminating our ropes and climbing gear.

Fortunately above the crap belay there was lots of fun thick ice on the upper section of Patey's Route and this made the normal upper crux chockstone relatively straightforward. It was easier than the lower chockstone and happily saved wear and tear to my new picks.

We then descended to climb the Aladdin's Mirror Direct which although steep on the left pillar, is now very hacked up, making pick placements relatively easy, compared to a week or so ago when I had to make all my own placements.

The climbing on AMD is still very strenuous, especially through the central pillar's upper bulge. This had me wishing I'd taken more than three ice screws, just as my grip strength started to ebb and I was forced to push through way above my two ice screws until back in balance - great fun though!

Lots more photos of  Patey's Route and the Mirror Direct on Fi's Blog here.
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