Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Cairngorms

Yesterday Neill and I headed up to the Cairngorms for my first ever winter climbing day. We went to Sneachda a few weeks ago but the conditions weren't very good. Yesterday was a lovely sunny, cold day and so we walked back in to Sneachda with the intention of climbing a route on Fiacaill Buttress. We left Edinburgh at 5am (one of the worst things about winter climbing) and arrived at a surprisingly busy car park at 8ish. There were quite a few people climbing but luckily Invernookie, the route we were planning to climb was free. The slope up to the bottom of the route made my legs burn, they continued to burn for the rest of the route as i was on my toes all the time, even on the belays! Definitely need to build up my pathetic calf muscles....

The route was pretty exciting as it was totally covered in powder and so it was pretty difficult to find any gear. I think we placed about 5 bits on the whole route! Neill ran out of rope trying to run two pitches together and had to belay halfway up a pitch with no gear, just his ice axes buried in some snow. Probably pretty safe but freaked me out! This meant i had to lead the rest of the pitch which had no gear up to a belay with only two tiny nuts. I was pretty relieved to make it to the top after being covered in spindrift on the top pitch. There was so much falling on me that i pretty much climbed the last pitch with my eyes closed! Overall, it was tiring, cold, and really scary....now i understand why people like it ... :-D














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