Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Winter 2010/2011

With winter approaching my thoughts went back to the couple of forays into the Highlands that I managed to get last year. Since living in Perth I have really appreciated the proximity to the hills and the ability to just 'pop and have a look' at the conditions.

Last February I managed to scrape two trips to Glencoe only a week or two apart. The first, with a guy called Jez was the more successful. Jez drove from London picking me up in Rugby at 10pm only to drive through the night to reach the Kinghouse Hotel at 6am Saturday morning. An outstanding effort by that man!

Dorsal Arete II*** on Saturday and Curved Ridge II*** on Sunday made for an thoroughly enjoyable weekend out....oh yea, except for falling in the river on the way up to SCNL on saturday morning!! No photos from the climbing, but suffice to say I was sad to have to go back to work.....

Two weekends later, having moved to Middlesborough, I made the trip again this time joined by Masa from Leicester. The weather was against us this time. The whole morning was spent rather hopelessly searching for either Shelf Route IV,6 or Naismiths Route IV,5 before turning back to dodgy looking snow in the Crowberry Basin area. We traversed around to North Buttress IV,4 and managed the first pitch before looking at the watch and seeing 2.30pm. The decision was made to retreat and head back to the car.

This was immediately realised to be a good idea as, in the few hours we'd been gone, nearly 2ft of fresh snow had fallen and the car was buried. Fortunately the arrival of another team and the one snow shovel allowed us to excavate our cars and get them pushed back onto the road. 

I hate to think what the descent from Coire na Tulaich would have been like in the dark, with all that fresh snow and rising temperatures. That was enough for that weekend.

So, with a new winter approaching and my proximity to the hills I thought of my goals for the season. If I come away with my limbs intact and have gained some mileage in some cool places with good friends around i'll be a happy man!

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