Monday, 6 February 2012


Ling Hut

This weekend was the long anticipated DURC trip to the Ling Hut in Torridon. With nearly 30 people signed onto the trip, the YHA was booked for the overflow. The drive went pretty quickly, which I think was because I was not behind the wheel this time! A late night arrival followed by typical mass faffing ultimately led to the climbers getting the hut (for an ambitious early start) and the walkers heading to the cosy hostel.

I say cosy hostel as, on arrival, we found out that the generator in the hut was broken. Still, us climberers are hardy folk and frozen pipes are taken in our stride.
The path to the hut was pretty icy and those who preferred not to use headtorches did more dancing than walking. After much chat we finally bedded down about 00:30 intending to get up at 06:00.

Beinn Eighe across the loch
 The forecast for the weekend promised grim weather. Undeterred, we arose at 06:00 with our plans in mind and a large amount of optimism. Looking outside we were greeted we drizzle and wind. Before any of us had really woken up and made breakfast, Nik and Steve we nearly out the door. Nik was wearing a very old, very long waterproof (read: cagoule) and looked very much like I imagine many first ascensionist of the area once looked. A photo was taken of the pair before they set off towards Coire Mhic Fhearchair a) to show MRT and b) to put in the meets book in their memory.

South side of Spidean

Myself, Anna and Tim set off about 07:00 up the coire dubh path toward the north side of Liathach. Given the forecast I'd set aside my hopes of East Buttress of Beinn Eighe and thought that George III,4 would provide a good plan B outing. After about 3 hours of approach struggling to keep up with Tim we made it to the bottom and swiftly geared up, then solo'd up the first easy section.

I did the 1st and 3rd(crux) pitches and Tim did the 2nd and 4th(chockstone) pitches as his first winter leads. Not bad at all really! All I can really say about the route was that it was very fun and in good condition considering the horrible rain we endured throughout. I think the pictures tell the best story with respect to the weather (i.e. my camera is constantly wet!)

Just before the chockstone

Team Paramo

The looong way down

I noticed on UKC that Andy Nisbet had done the route the previous day and thought it hard for the grade. As my first substantial ice I'm pretty pleased, as even though on the crux I wasn't sure if my trousers were wet from rain or not, in retrospect I didn't find it that bad at all. I won't embarrass Anna, but lets just say she had fun on the chockstone! :D

We descended the south side of Liathach which was steep and unrelenting but favorable over the long walk around from the North side. We were treated to sunshine for the last half an hour and achieved amazing timing by catching the passing minibus. 

Sunday was a well earnt rest day. Besides, I had the mother of all headaches which I think was due to sleeping besides the fire and potentially getting gased all night. I did feel light a few brain cells first thing in the morning.....

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