Those Who Fight and Run Away, Live to Fight Another Day

Rich, Jamie and I walked into the North Face of the Ben with no particular routes in mind. Just wanting to see what was available. After a brew in the CIC hut we went to have a look at what we might do. By this point we were joined by everyone and their dog heading up to the crags.
Walking into Coire na Ciste it was starting to feel quite spooky in that there was many indications that the avalanche hazzard was going to be very high. We ended up at the bottom of Joyful Chimneys and the weather had decided to change on us. It wasn't long before we had lots snow getting dumped on us from above. After getting burried by a few more dumps of snow we decided not to hang around and got out of there.
Whenever you back off a route you tend to wonder if it was the right decision. My thoughts are that; if you are able to think about the decision you made, then it is obvious that you have made the right one.

By the time we got back the CIC hut the weather was so bad we were soaked to the skin and when we left we found that every other team was doing the exact same thing as us.


Swimming to the Cobbler

Third day on the trot and the weather has completely changed. Loads of snow has fallen which made tavelling to the hills a more difficult, with lorries getting stuck on the roads. I met up with Ben in Arrochar to go and look at some routes on the cobbler. It wasn't long before we were swimming through the snow, after much battling we decided to turn round and leave it for another day.


Naebodies Fault

Jamie and I met up with David Crawford today in Arrochar for a chance to do a new route, that David had scoped out the previous week.
When we arrived at the crag it was shrouded by clouds which meant we didn't know where to start however we got a small break which allowed us to pick our line. David started on the first pitch with an impressive lead on quite a tricky little section.
It must have been my lucky day because the next lead got handed to me which turned out to be the crux and the best pitch. The idea of climbing a route having no clue what could lie ahead of me was quite a daunting feeling however it felt magic to finish off the pitch with an end in sight.

Davie and Jamie on the first pitch
Me on the second pitch
Photo Courtesy of David Crawford

Photo Courtesy of David Crawford

Davie checking out our route
Davie's discription of the route-

Naebody's Fault 135m (IV,4/5) *
Start below a distinctive square- cut flake near the right end of a snow terrace, left of (and 30m up) from Chockstone Chimney.
1. 25m Climb a wall past the flake to a snow terrace. Traverse leftwards to a belay below a short chimney.
2. 40m Climb the chimney and then leftwards up a steep wall and overlap to enter a prominent groove. Climb the groove and ice bulge above.
70m follow your preferred line up Grade II ground to the top

The split tech grade is because the ice bulge on pitch 2 would be easier (tech 4) with a bit more ice. It was a good wee route and the conditions were very good.


Pure Scottish Winter

Today was one of those perfect winter days in Scotland; blue sky, light breeze and good conditions and I was in Stob Corie Nan Lochan, with Jamie Bankhead. The Lochan was in great condition, every buttress was white and rimed up.
Surprisingly there wasn't many other teams enjoying the good conditions. Just teams on Central Grooves, Tilt, Reaburn's Route and Scabbard Chimney.
A wintry Stob Corie Nan Lochan
Jamie on the first pitch

What waited for us at the top

We went for Inuendo (V,6**) which was a good route however I think we went off the line near the top of the climb.


Still Want More

It seems every part of Britain is getting the snow except for the Fort. I was on Aonach Mor to find very little snow on the hill side but plenty to make some interesting cornices above easy gully.
I had my eye on Jet Stream however after seeing how black the buttresses were and the lack of options we arrived at Left Twin (III) with no one else on the route so we decided to get it while the going was good. 
Craig led the first pitch and I took the second, by which time a queue had formed plus Kenny had abseiled into the route to skip the queues. Not being as banked out as it normally is the top pitch was quite steep which made for quite a good wee climb.  


Beinn a’ Chaorainn

Dave, Craig and I were attempting to hide from the wind by heading up the East ridge of Beinn a'Chaorainn. Before getting to the hill though we had to walk through a forest, that was really boggy and had a lot of fallen trees over the path, which turned out to be a mission.Progress on the ridge was quite quick due to a lack of snow, crampons and axes not necessary.
Our plan to hide from the wind worked until we topped out, at least we didn't get blown around for the entire day. Heading out again tomorrow so lets hope its a bit more exciting. 

Craig and Dave on the Ridge


Good Friday Climb

Stil desperate to get on some winter I headed up the Ben with Craig, Dave and Scott. At the moment the best option is to go high for any winter routes, although the problem with not many routes being in condition is that everyone is on the same routes. 
That said it made for a very socialable ascent and it was good to finally hit into some ice. For the final pitch we traversed over and finished on indicator wall.

Dave, Scott and Craig walking in

Scott on the second pitch of Good Friday Climb

As you can see the Ben is Looking bare but that will change


Still Warm

Well instead of twiddle my thumbs I thought it would be best to go out and do something, even just to stretch the legs. So Craig and I headed into to Glencoe and took a wonder up the zig-zags on Gearr Anoagh we went up onto Stob Coire Nan Lochan to find a lack of snow then headed down broad gully. 
Luckily the snow is expected to come back.
Glencoe at Dusk


Nae Winter

With the lack of winter around the fort I went to kill some time on the Arkaig with Briget. It was at nice level between medium and high and was good fun. Still wanting winter to come along though.