Posts Tagged ‘drizzle’

Lakes weekend

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

While most people headed for Brimham, Carmen and I decided to take advantage of the fine forecast for some autumn climbing in the Lake District. On Saturday we walked up to Gimmer for some Classic Rock ticking, and despite it being colder and cloudier than expected, we managed to climb all three routes in the list – Ash Tree Slab, C Route, and Bracket and Slab. Though we avoided the Strenuous Chimney crux of B&S due to it being dripping wet, so we need to go back and do it properly sometime! Ham & Eggs in the Wainwright Inn provided a suitable end to the day.

Sunday dawned cloudy and got worse, with cloud levels lowering and drizzle setting in. Plan B was Castle Rock, but that looked damp as well, so we headed for the reliable fallback option of Armathwaite, north of Penrith. A fine crag, in the woods by the River Eden, it really deserves better than to be a rainy day option for Lake District climbers, but that seems to be its lot. Anyway, despite occasional drizzle and sandy holds due to Friday's heavy rain, we managed to get some climbing done. Glenwillie Grooves (HS **), was followed by the better-than-it-looks Ituna (S *), and finally the excellently named Teddy CowWildcat on the Swallowtail Line (HS **). This is a new addition to the recent guidebook, despite have been put up in 1973. Unfortunately, a confusing description meant we finished up the wrong crack, so again we have to go back and do it properly – the true finish up a roof crack looked totally impossible for the grade!

New Year 2010

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

This year we stayed at Blackrock Cottage, Glencoe – a new hut for the club. A few people were put off by the lack of running water (apart from a stream behind the hut), but 7 hardy souls made the trip north – me, Carmen, Simon F, Debra, Peter, Ben, and Peri.

Unlike last year, when we had superb conditions throughout our trip, the 2010/11 meet began with a major thaw. We arrived on Monday 27th, and it rained for most of the night.

Not to be deterred, Carmen and I went searching for ice the next day, and surprised ourselves by finding some in the form of The Weep (II/III), over 1000 feet of ice on the flanks of Creise. Just when we thought it was all over, having climbed everything that can be seen from the bottom, we turned the corner and found that the ice continued. This provided us with another two long pitches making 8 in all, probably about 350m or more. Mostly easy, but with a couple of grade 3 pitches just above half height, it would make a good route for beginners as for most of the way it is easy to escape and many of the steeper sections can be avoided. We finished with an "interesting" descent as we slowly picked a way through steep crags in fast-disappearing light.

Meanwhile the others opted for an ascent of Beinn a' Chrulaiste, a Corbett above the King's House Hotel. Despite limited views they took in the lower summits of Meall Bhalach, and finished in the King's House with some well-deserved beer.

The next day being Peri's last chance for some climbing before heading back to feed her iguanadon, she, Ben, and Peter also took a look at The Weep. Continuing mild temperatures meant that it was getting wetter all the time, but even so it was still in good condition. Being a three they were a bit slower, but managed to finish the first half of the route before heading back. Simon, Debra, Carmen and I drove south to tick one of the duller Munros, Meall Ghaordie near Killin, being the closest that Carmen hadn't yet done. A bit of a slog in wet snow, but at least we managed a few long bumslides on the way back down.

Thursday's weather was more of the same, mild and cloudy with the permanent threat of rain. Simon. Debra, Peter and Ben headed for the Bridge of Orchy for some more Munro bagging, while Carmen and I decided to see if there was any climbable ice left on Aonach Dubh. There wasn't. So we went shopping for the New Year's Eve haggis instead, and took the opportunity for the first showers of the week courtesy of the Ice Factor.

On Friday you've guessed it, it rained. It looked vaguely like it might clear up, so I decided to walk up Bidean while the others went to the climbing wall. Having sat in the car park watching the rain for half an hour, I gave in and joined them at the wall. As is becoming traditional, nobody managed to stay up until midnight.

Saturday at last was colder (though not as cold as forecast) and clearer (though not the predicted blue sunny skies). Peter and Ben headed for the two Munros above Allachadair Farm, but had to turn back as Ben wasn't well. The rest of us were booked on an avalanche awareness course with the MCoS, so headed for Aonach Mo where we spent an excellent and very useful on the hill. I'd done a similar course almost 20 years ago, and many of the things I'd been taught then are now rejected as being a waste of time!

Conditions were fast improving again, just in time to go home, but we had one more day in which to get something done. Peter went back to Achalladair Farm and successfully bagged the two Munros in good weather, while Carmen and I returned to Aonach Mor, this time for some climbing. It's supposed to be easy to access, but I'm not sure where it gets this reputation as the approach consists of a gondola ride, followed by a 90 minute slog up hill through the ski slopes, and finally a downclimb of a grade I gully to reach the routes. It wouldn't take much longer to get to Ben Nevis!

Our first choice route, Left Twin, had a group of 3 just starting (typical, only half a dozen teams on the hill and one of them was on 'our' route), so instead we opted for Tunnel Vision (III *). This turned out to be an excellent choice, much better than it looked from below. I got the 55m middle pitch, up ice and steep neve with worryingly spaced protection (almost all the cracks in the rocks were choked with ice and unusable). We topped out at 2pm and briefly considered another route, but this would have meant missing the last gondola and hence a long walk out in the dark, so since the clouds were rolling in we headed back.

The next day it snowed at last, but we were all on our way home.

An excellent little hut with bags of character, and I'm sure we'll go back – though given the lack of facilities, maybe not for a whole week!

More photos here and Debra's here.

Calling Dave Meigh, it's 5 o'clock, are you awake?

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Sron na CreiseFollowing several weeks of cold and snowy weather in Scotland, with the best conditions in years, we managed to time our February trip perfectly – at the end of the week of the big thaw.

Not to be daunted, we planned a day on the hill and were awake by 5am.

Eventually we got back to sleep again, and got up just after 7. My original (pre-thaw) plan had been to take a look at the Inglis Clark Ridge on Creise, a fine grade III. Since this was now completely devoid of snow, Rob, Carmen and I headed instead for Sron na Creise, a grade 3 scramble up the north ridge. Sron na CreiseDespite occasional light drizzle, the rock was clean and the friction excellent, with nice exposure in places. And we were sheltered from the strong southerly winds until we eventually reached the summit ridge, where strong gusts occasionally threatened to blow us over.

After a brief detour to Clach Leathad (the south summit), we descended east towards Meall a' Bhuiridh, our 2nd Munro of the day. The start of the descent looked fairly desperate, as we appeared to be stepping off the edge of a cornice, but it was actually quite easy, especially in retrospect. Ice FactorFrom the summit, a long series of standing glissades (ski-ing in walking boots) took us down through the (closed) ski area and back to the car.

Inspired by an awful weather forecast, the next day we'd already booked in at the Ice Factor indoor ice-climbing wall. Great fun it was too, so much so that most of us booked in for another session in the afternoon.

Loch LomondThe next day dawned wet and horrible again, but Rob, Dave D, Will, Carmen and I decided to stop off for a walk anyway, and by the time we parked at Ardlui (by Loch Lomond) it was dry, with even occasional glimpses of the sun. Ben Vorlich was a bit of a slog (OK, a lot of a slog), but the bum-slide descent made up for it.

Some more photos here.