Wednesday 28th January

I have been out in the Cairngorms the last two days.  On monday i climbed Nathrach Dubh on Carn Etchachan with Greg ‘Bozza’ Boswell.  Photos can be seen on his site.  The approach along The Great Terrace required care.  The route was very white with some unhelpful snow ice in the top chimney which was hiding all the hooks and gear but only occasionally holding body weight.  The rest of the route gave fine sustained climbing.

Hells Lum looked in good condtion.  As noted in the last report Martin and Adam climbed The Chancer.  We heard either a sizeable rock or ice fall from Stag Rocks.

Yesterday i headed into the Northern Corries and climbed Hidden Chimney with Paul and Andy from the Falkirk High Tops Team.  The route was in excellent condition but the crag was very busy.  Other routes that teams were on or got climbed included, Jacobs Edge, The Honeypot, The Hybrid, Hidden Chimney Direct, Alladins Mirror Direct, The Haston Line, Jacobs Ladder and Salvation.

Monday 26th January

Adam and I went over to Hell’s Lum on Monday and climbed The Chancer (a route I’ve wanted to do for twenty years). A very attractive ice pillar had formed on the left hand side of the exit from the gully of Hell’s Lum, so I chose to lead this as the approach to the main pitch. I’m glad Adam lead the main pitch as I found it very steep and pumpy and parted company with the ice at one point. There’s photos on Adam’s site “Hughe’s Mountaineering”.

After the Chancer we had a look at the Cascades over on Stag Rocks, but as it was softening up a lot in the sun we followed a line up snow/ice combining the bottom of Auld Nick and the top of Escalator. There was plenty of ice around on the crag with teams on Brimstone Grooves, Kiwi Gully the Sneer and another party behind us on The Chancer.

Euan will probably report later, but we bumped in to him and Greg in Aviemore and they’d been over to Carn Etchachan and climbed Nathrach Dubh, reporting it to be good.

The southerly wind had moved snow out of Coire Raibert and Domhain making the approaches down in to the Loch Avon basin fine. Snow had been building on the northern aspects with probably further accumulation overnight Monday/Tuesday of wetter snow.

Thursday 22nd January

Adam and Martin were climbing today on No Blue Skies (The Mess of Pottage).  They climbed the first two pitches to an insitu abseil point and abseiled off as darkness approached.  They reported the climbing to be excellent but requiring a lot of digging.  Another team was on Hidden Chimney Direct and Tim Blakemore climbed The Seam.

Bozza has been out in Norway (Rjukan) climbing some of the classics including Lipton.  For reports and photos see his blog.

Wednesday 21st January

Ian, Steve and i were out yesterday in the Cairngorms.  We climbed Hidden Chimney Direct and The Haston Line on The Mess of Pottage.  We had originally intended to climb The Message but were unable to get to the base of the route due to instabilities in the snowpack on the last 10 metres of the approach.

By the time we started the second route, all aspects around The Mess of Pottage were becoming loaded and the top out of The Haston Line was begining to build a lot of unstable snow.

One very brave team climbed Jacob’s Couloir.  Probably very heavy loaded now after yesterdays winds.

Saturday 17th January

The Falkirk Council High Tops Team, Mclaurin and i were out today on Sron Na Lairig in Glencoe.  This is a really nice Grade II ridge climb.  The turf was mostly not frozen on the initial sections but above 870m was in excellent condition so some buttress routes may be coming good.  The ridge had a dusting of snow on the initial section and good accumulations higher up.

The weather was good until we returned to the corrie when it began to get a bit wild.

Wednesday 14th Jan.09 Ben Nevis

A quiet day on the Ben with only a few other teams out and about.
Andy Stokesbury and friends headed off to climb the Gutter IV.
Damien and climbed Gargoyle Wall VI 6 which was great a true 3 star route, protection on the 2nd pitch was hard to find as the cracks were choked with ice.
The crux cracks were clear from verglas which made for a safe, enjoyable but technical pitch of climbing.
The other 3 pitches provided thought provoking moves, all in a great nevis mixed route.

Friday 9th January. Carn Etchachan

Thursday Damien and i climbed Messenger on the Mess of Pottage IV6 or V6 in the new guide book.
We found good mixed conditions i.e. neve on ledges and cracks free from verglas a fine route if a bit short.
Friday we needed more of a wilderness experience and popped over the back in a super fast time to Carn Etchachan.
We geared up at the bottom of scorpion feeling physced to be climbing a Cold Climbs Classic Patey route.
Turfy mixed on the first pitch led to the subterrenan pitch Damo did a good job but it felt harder than anything on the Messenger.
The following corner pitch was quite exciting on small footholds but good hooks.
A bit of a romp for 80m led to the sting in the tail which was fine with really useful ice in the corner and the cornice to finish was non existant.
A belter of a route.

Thursday 8th January (Northern Cairngorms)

The SeamI was out with Sharon and Iain today. We climbed The Seam in Coire an t-Sneachda. It was a very pleasant, if slightly windy, day with the temperature around zero in the coire.

Unfortunately, it seams to have all gone a bit pear shaped since Thurday. Fingers crossed for some more decent weather soon.

Thursday 8th January

Martin, Pamela, Greg, Simon and I were out today in the Drummochter Pass practicing navigation skills.  The ground was frozen at all levels,with lots of snow and ice around.

Wednesday 7th January (Drumochter)

Wafer MeYesterday (6/1/09) Pamela and I headed into Creag Dhubh, Geal-Charn Drumochter to confirm the location of a route we climbed in December and to see if there was any ice. We had an excellent day climbing Wafer Me in three short pitches. The 1st pitch required a little delicacy with water running behind cauliflower and chandelier ice, the 2nd and 3rd pitches were on good solid ice.

Turf was frozen hard, some of the ice routes were well formed and there was a light dusting of snow. As we walked out over the ridge it was snowing at height on a NW wind, this was falling as rain below about 600m.