New year and a new route. 1st Jan 2014


See post on 8 Jan for update on this.

New year’s day was the only one with easterly winds forecast so Jim and I decided to head for a section of the Ridge and hopefully a view of the Pinn.

GGully (594x800)

Avoiding the wind in Coire na Banachdaich a nice wee gully leading directly up winked at me. I convinced myself (and Jim) it would be a brief bit of added excitement and our limited kit would suffice with a bit of improvisation. I was right but only just-

Whillans would have been proud of my pebble-wedging that made prussic loops into runners before the final vertical wall of powder. Our 480cm sling was used and recycled for all 3 belays and Jim only had to do one of the cruxes just on gloves & feet to reach the axes dangling above ;-).

Bridged at the crux (597x800)Jim bridged wide on the crux

Ignoring all the improvisation the climbing was excellent with a mix of hooks, bridging and ice placements. The final 10m section will always be steep and a bit bold. Overall I’d say 100m of one star grade IV,5 with no name yet.

Above we found superb neve running right to the top of Sgurr Dearg. The Pinn looked fearsome and the views were magnificent throughout all 360 degrees.

Iced Pinn (597x800)The top of the West Ridge gave a final 20 mins of concentrated footwork then a gentle stroll back down before nightfall. It is really amazing to already have over an extra hour of evening light to play with already compared to pre-xmas outings.

Gillean (800x592)2 Climbers on Sgurr nan Gillean way to the north of us.