Southern Comfort (on ice) IV,5 18th December


The fine spell is breaking down at last so I’m very glad to have managed another long standing project yesterday.

 Dawn reflections in Coire Lagan

The best ice appears to have all formed on south facing slopes so we headed into Coire Lagan where I knew of a few possibilities. Things were thinner than I expected but then a glimpse of grey ice appeared high above South Buttress and reminded me of a line I’d seen back in 1999. We carried on far enough to confirm that the bounding gully did indeed hold continuous ice before heading up.

The first 2 main pitches; we approached slightly from the right. The crux was at top of the xmas-tree shaped piece of ice half-way up what is visible.

1st Main ice pitch

There aren’t any photos of the crux steep step because I was focussed a bit too much on not falling off. Things relaxed a bit more above with a superb hidden pitch appearing 50m above.

 The hidden bonus pitch.

We even had a screw belay above here.

After 5 long pitches we reached the fine narrow ridge that links up to the summit of Sgurr Dearg still 250m above us. This slowed us & entertained us considerably but finally we topped out just 100m from the In Pinn.

Views appear for the top of our new route.

Matthew Au Cheval on the finishing ridge

 Looking out to the Ruadh.

Pinn rimed up.

I’ve opted for Southern Comfort as a name to honour the unusual conditions where south faces are offering better climbing than the norht faces.