Monday, 27 August 2012

Who turned the lights out in Glencoe (or who didn't!!!)

Sorry i haven't updated for a while, i have been pretty busy (lazy). Last weekend we managed a good little trip up to the Cairngorms to climbing The Magic Crack HVS 5a in Coire an t'sneachda. This route is given 4 stars so we expected it to be a mega classic but unfortunately the first couple of pitches were wet and dirty. The last pitch however was spectacular, following the totally scarred crackline (stupid winter folk!). The crack was my lead and i found it pretty sustained and hard for feet but i couldn't complain about the gear, rock 5s all the way!

The amazing crack on pitch 3

At the weekend just past, we headed up to Glencoe as the weather here looked best. We had planned to walk in to Rannoch Wall and try Line Up HVS. Leaving early, we were under the buachaille at about 7.30am. We packed our stuff and began the walk in only to be absolutely soaked by a shower on curved ridge. We decided to just scramble up curved ridge and walk down the path. Back at the car, we realised that we had left the lights on!! With a dead battery and no phone reception we headed for the Kingshouse Hotel. We tried to hitch but nobody stopped so it took us an hour to walk the 4 miles. The nice people at the hotel let me use their landline to phone the RAC as being put on hold on a payphone does not sound fun! Eventually i got through and we made our way back to the car to meet our rescuer. Luckily we got a lift from an American couple visiting Scotland. Having only driven on the left side of the road for 2 days, they told us to buckle up! We made it back to the car and watched it get electrocuted back to life whilst being eaten alive by midges. Not how we had expected our day to turn out but was fun nonetheless. :-)

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Freaking out in Glencoe!

Yesterday was by far the best day out this year. We headed up to the coe to attempt Freak Out - E4 6a. As the day was supposed to be a scorcher we left super early (3am!) to avoid doing the route in the hottest part of the day. We got to the route at about 8am and the sun was already on it! I planned to try the crux second pitch and Martin was going to do the first pitch which i think is about E3 6a. The wall looked blank from the bottom and i was beginning to get slightly nervous about my pitch. After scrambling up to a tree belay, Martin headed off up his pitch. He managed to get through the crux and was one hold away from the traverse to the belay but unfortunately his forearms were giving up. I noticed his leg was behind the ropes but by now he was screaming some bad words to the rock. He fell about 30ft and flipped all the way round, lifting me off the ledge - thank god for the upward pull protection we had placed! He soon realised that he was too pumped to pull back on and so i went up on his gear and finished off the first pitch, slightly worried that i would be too pumped for the second one. The hanging belay was a little exciting as it was made up of two rusty pegs(one moves) and two micros. Martin seconded up and we began the faff of trying to switch places. After lots of rearranging i eventually set off on the second pitch. This pitch climbs up to a small roof which is passed on big holds to gain the crux. There is then sustained climbing up to some larger roofs which are actually passed pretty easily(if your fresh!). I had imagined the climbing up to the first roof being fairly straightforward but it actually turned out to be pretty hard and sustained! Tiny footholds and poor jams/fingerlocks got me up to the tat under the roof and the rest suggested in the guidebook was clearly non-existent! I carried on through the roof on big but razor sharp holds and could rest a little once i had gotten my feet up. The crux for me was a long, strenuous move after the roof, which i stopped halfway through to place some gear! Once passed this i moved slowly up the sustained crack using a mixture of finger jams and crimps on the sidewalls aiming for what looked like some jugs! By this point i was absolutely pumped oot my nut and i reached these holds only to be rewarded with puddles! Luckily i didn't get spat off the wet holds and i pushed on to reach a big flake under the top roofs. I was so close to the belay but i was so pumped that i was struggling to hold jugs. I somehow managed to stay on and made my way through the roofs to some jugs and big footholds! Pulling on to the ledge was an amazing feeling and i let out as much of a scream as i could with such a dry mouth. I have never been so happy about getting to the top of a route but this was such a classic and i really wanted to onsight it! An awesome route that i think will leave me pumped for days!

The first wee roof

from far away

pure cheesing! 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

A slightly smeggy Sheigra!

This weekend me and Martin drove all the way up to Sheigra to avoid the rain. Unfortunately the crag had already had a soaking during the week and the rock hadn't quite dried off yet (There were puddles in tha jugs!) . On Saturday, we went back to the second Geo which we had visited earlier this year. We only had a couple of routes left to do here but they are both given 3 stars! We set up the ab and i went down to the ledge. Annoyingly there was a waterfall (ok small trickle) down the corner which landed right on the belay ledge! I perched myself right on the ledge edge :P and waited for Martin to come down. We sorted the ropes and he headed off up Presumption E1 5b, moaning all the way about greasy holds. Eventually i got off the uncomfy belay and got the blood back into my arse! I seconded up and realised what he meant about grease. The holds were soaking!

Presumption E1 5b

After this route we decided not to go back down to the ledge due to coldness and wet huds and so we climbed at a smaller but more sheltered crag in between the first two Geos. We done some amazing wee routes here including, Above the Blue-E1 5c, Under the Pink-E1 5b and Inbetween Days-HVS 5a.

Happy to be out of the wind

Above the blue, tricky wee 5c bit!


Inbetween days

nice big (dry) ledge

Saturday night we camped on the beach and found a cave down by the sea! It's entrance was quite hidden and was a bit of a crawl to get in, but once inside you could stand up! It was pitch black when we found it and we didn't have any light. Too scared to go in, we went back to the car and got my camera. This gave us about a second of light every time the flash went. The cave turned out to be quite big and was completely dry. Perfect hide out! 

Rave ina Cave!

On Sunday we packed up and headed a few miles back down the road to Crag an Fhithich. This crag had a few hard routes we were planning on trying but when we arrived the top of the crag was wet and to be honest the whole thing looked a bit dirty and loose. Seeing as someone was already on the route ....a big giant spider, we went to check out another wee crag called Creag Garbh Mhor.  

Totally camouflage.. thought he'd fooled me!
This crag turned out to be pretty good, 15m of immaculate granite. I pulled on the classic Goat of Barten - E2 5c, which was absolutely desperate! The crux was the first half and was made up of bad finger locks and rubbish crimpy sidepulls with tiny holds for feet. I was aiming for a big spike about halfway up as it was a rest and gear but when i put my hand on it i just about pulled it off! Eventually i made it to the top, never been so pumped on such a small route before. Martin then done a lovely E1 which was also slightly tricky and sustained for the grade. Anyway this brilliant wee crag definitely saved the day!