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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Play day on Poachers Fall, Liathach...

A great but tiring day climbing the classic Poachers Fall ice route on Liathach.

As there's been a lot of fresh snow over in the east and the Ben routes we wanted to do looked dodgy.
We decided to drive up to Torridon in the far NW as it has been cold and dry recently, so seemed like a safer bet.

It turned out to be a good choice as there was very little fresh snow until we left the path at the watershed to head up into Liathach's Coire Dubh Mor.The snow was thin and crusty until we climbed into the main coire.

With fresh powder and some windslab the big easy gullies were best avoided but the main icefalls such as Umbrella, Poachers and Salmon Leap looked good and two teams were already climbing.

Another team had turned back though the approaches were on crusty powder and not overly worrying.
We headed up to climb Poachers Fall once the team ahead of us had climbed the main icefalls and were about to abseil down, to climb Salmon Leap.

The climbing was great, with hard but not brittle water ice softened by spindrift snow. This gave great axe placement and reliable ice screw protection.
The top of the crux pitch was  thinner and more technical than normal but fun in retrospect, though I'm glad my crampon didn't pop off here, as it did later on in the chimney pitch, see video here!

There was recent insitu tat so we abseiled off at the end of the difficulties to avoid any unstable snow on the final easy pitch and to save our knees. It might be worth replacing the old worn tat at the pegs that the new tat is actually attached to!

In all a great but tiring day until the police stopped the car for a spot check but as all was well,they wished us a good evening and on we went. We forgot to point out to them that one of their headlights wasn't working!

More details on Fi's Marmotte Blog can be found here
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