Lurcher’s Crag (Creag an Leth-Choin)

David and I had a great day climbing K9. It was good value for the grade today (Monday) with a tricky wall on the line we took on the mixed section and the icy corner at the top having a couple of steep sections on good ice.

David at a belay high on K9.

We chose not to climb Window Gully today; it looked in good condition but we decided to minimise time under the right hand end of the icicle fringe, which was catching the sun in the morning. There was quite a lot of soft snow and breakable crust on the less steep sections of the route. A strong south-westerly wind was moving snow on to lee slopes as we left. Looking at the forecasts conditions will be changing considerably tomorrow.

Lurcher’s Crag

Pamela and I went through to Lurcher’s Crag (Creag an Leth-choin) today to find it surprisingly busy with several teams already on North Gully and Central Gully. It was thawing at crag height, so we decided to nip up the Right Hand Icefall at the North end of the crag rather than do one of the mixed routes. This gave a couple of good pitches seperated by a couple of easier rambling ones and was a good option for the conditions.

Pamela leading the final pitch

Above freezing at crag height all day with a few hours of sleet/drizzle in the morning. The ice on the route was generally good with the odd hollow area. Any unconsolidated snow was becoming saturated. Turf was frozen at crag height, but where exposed to the rain was softening up. Some snow sloughing off the rocks. Very light winds.

Creag an Leth-choin (Lurcher’s Crag)

B and I took a walk today to see whether the ice was holding on Creag an Leth-choin and were rewarded with a very pleasant day climbing North Gully.

B approaching North Gully

The approach was relatively easy as the thaw over the last few days had reduced the soft snow cover on the walk in and the refreeze had firmed up the remaining patches.

B nearing the first belay

We climbed the route via the left hand fork on generally good ice throughout and mostly screw belays. Lots of easy angled ice, but several good steeper steps with plenty of scope for variation. The right fork also looked climbable.

Setting off on one of the steeper steps

The turf was frozen at crag height and on most of the approach. No visible remaining cornices on this west facing crag. The buttress lines were fairly black with little riming and the nature of a lot of those routes would probably mean there’d currently be a lot of loose blocks. Good weather on the approach, but snowing steadily above 600m (rain below) on a South-Westerly/Westerly wind as we walked out.