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Friday 22 October 2021

October 2021 winter climbing in the Cairngorms!

22 October 2021 - Climbing 'Right of Flake Groove' in early season conditions in the Cairngorms! At an altitude of over 1100 metres and facing E to NE the shaded damp grooves are surprisingly reliable and quick to ice up especially when it's minus 5! Similarly situated climbs can make really great excursions early season or in lean winters before they are buried by deep snow and overhung cornices! With a few days of proper winter weather being forecast I decided to check out some future new lines and variations and headed up and over the Gorm. Just as I arrived at the top of the crags the clouds lifted and revealed the winter wonderland below. I had a quick look at Torr Buttress climbing back up via Left Rampings/DodgerRamp. I then headed back down to check the lines at around 900 metres which although looking good and snow covered were wet and sticky underneath. With crampons balling badly as the sun rose I headed back up onto Central Ridge. This being a bit higher at 950 metres and on rimed and snowed up rock was in much better condition with lots of fun mixed variations to explore and play on, including a couple new winter starts! At the top again I decided on one last climb (the one in the video!) near Torr Buttress. The sun had move off the face everything had undergone a quick melt freeze cycle to create some surprisingly good crusty ice smears on the rock and grooves for enjoyable climbing to end to a very productive day!

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