Cairngorms

Mac, Sharon and I were out climbing in the Cairngorms yesterday. We had a great day climbing Grandee Grooves and Wile-E-Coyote on Creagan Coire a’Cha-no.

Sharon and Mac above the crux section of Grandee Grooves.

This crag faces east and was sheltered from the wind, but this also meant that care was required in route approach and selection given the current conditions. Cornices are present over quite a lot of routes and wind slab was building during the day with wind movement of snow; we chose to abseil in to the climbs. It’s also worth noting that some of the buttress routes were looking fairly bare of snow and would have been hard to justify as in condition e.g. Jenga Buttress. The recent thaw had stabilised older snow, generally making it a pleasure to climb with just the odd bit of breakable crust although ice in cracks had built up, which meant a good bit of clearing was required to find gear placements.

Creagan Cha-no

John and I were out today in the Cairngorms with a Falkirk Community Trust climbing team of Doug, Gregor, Paul and Tony. Craig was also out with a party of winter navigators. The climbers headed for Creagan Cha-no.

John, Paul and Doug starting up Wile-E-Coyote.

John, Paul and Doug starting up Wile-E-Coyote.

John, Doug and Paul descended Recovery Gully and climbed Wile-E-Coyote, whilst Gregor, Tony and I abbed down Anvil Gully and climbed this.

Gregor bridging out in the top corner of Anvil Gully.

Gregor bridging out in the top corner of Anvil Gully.

John and Doug made a quick ascent of Frozen Planet as a second route, whilst Gregor, Tony and I abbed back down to the belay below the top corner of Anvil Gully and did an excellent, short right hand finish bringing us out at the neck just behind The Anvil block. Gregor did particularly well on this as it felt hard Tech 5 and it was his first day of proper winter climbing.

Gregor and Tony below the top corner of Anvil Gully with the line of the right hand finish above Gregor.

Gregor and Tony below the top corner of Anvil Gully with the line of the right hand finish above Gregor.

The crag was holding very little old snow and had a good layer of unconsolidated recent snow that needed clearing in places. The turf on Anvil Gully was very well frozen. John reported the odd bit of insulated turf under the fresh snow on Wile-E-Coyote. There are more photos of the day on the Climbnow Facebook page.

Creagan Coire Cha-no

I was out with a Falkirk Team today of John, Gayle, Luci and Tam. We headed for Creagan Coire Cha-no in The Cairngorms, which proved a popular choice today.

Tam making light work of Chimney Rib

Tam making light work of Chimney Rib

After descending Recovery Gully, Gayle, Luci and I climbed pitch 1 of Frozen Planet, then bypassed the top pitch as the sun was catching it and making it very soggy. Also, it looked a bit improbable at IV,4, I notice it gets IV,6 on UKC. We then climbed Wile-E-Coyote, which had an excellent steep groove at mid height on well frozen snow, turf and ice. Meanwhile John and Tam climbed Chimney Rib, Frozen Planet (Pitch 1) and Duke’s Rib.

Gayle on the easier upper section of Wile-E-Coyote

Gayle on the easier upper section of Wile-E-Coyote

The sun came out as we walked in and it was a relatively easy walk as the last couple of days had thawed and refrozen the surface of the snowpack. Sunny for the first part of the day with buttresses stripping where in direct sunlight. Winds were low for most of day, but picked up in the afternoon and there was considerable wind movement of snow on a Southerly as we walked out.