22 Jan 2014

Climbing over in Cairngorms

Was over in Cairngorms last week for 4 days as part of the UHI Cairngorms Residential 2014. Got out climbing for 3 days with Ewan for great climbing in Coire an t'Sneachda. There was still lots of snow about so that meant most of the first pitches were easy and the gear needed a bit of digging to find. Though we got great beater from Alan, Scott and Andy on what routes would be in good condition to get done. On the first day we headed out to to Mess of Pottage. There we got on Hidden Chimney Direct, the first pitch not being the IV more of a III. Ewan led the first pitch and I got the chimney at the end and nice snow run out to the top.

Well banked out first pitch

© Ewan McKay

Scott heading up to Hidden Chimney with Kate and Simon
Next up was Opening Break again banked out so more of a I/II, then the IV 5

Opening Break
Snowy top out

The next day we headed back, looking to do something a bit harder. First up was Yukon Jack. This time I won the Paper, Rock Scissors and had the first lead. More snow run outs and digging for gear. Was happy to have a 60m ropes to make the most to find belay. Ewan then had to swim up some not nice snow and get us to the top.

Yukon Jack
After this it we headed back down to where we were looking to do The Message but there were teams still on it. So we went for Honeypot instead. Had a great first pitch with great moves up and still lots of snow.

First Pitch Honeypot © Ewan McKay

Ewan then had a crux pitch. Which he saw off with some happy shouting as he made the moves. Then it was soon my turn to head up. The move round the roof was great. A bit jealous that Ewan got the pitch but till great to climb.

Head out on honeypot second pitch

On the 3rd day the weather crapped out and we planned to go for a walk over to  Hell's Lum. On the walk into Coire an t'Sneachda we had a change in plan and decided to make a snowman. So took the best part of 2 hours to make the biggest snowman. Alan and his team show up to do a bit of snow holes.

Hiding from the rain

Look what we made!!

On the last day we head in with lots of plans. Thinking of climbing Original Summer Route, Doctor's Choice and Patey's Route. Getting into the Coire we found teams on or gearing up. So change in plan and headed up Fingers Ridge. As the theme of the week has been snowy first pitches! Ewan had a long snowy run out to the belay.

Ewan running it out to the belay

Then I had the shorter but would say more fun top pitch. There was some nice mixed bits and it was cool going though the fingers. Then the was a short slab at the top, then the easy ground to finish.

Going thought the Fingers © Ewan McKay

Happy faces at the top

A great trip and a lot learnt from it. Great to have so much input form the instructors of what would be good to get done. A days rest then onto the Strathpuffer.

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