Saturday, 12 April 2008

Credibility Crunch

We have been enjoining some fantastic late season winter conditions here on Cairngorm. As you can see the skiing is fantastic with snow cover down to the 400 meter level around the altitude of Glenmore Lodge. One can ski just about anywhere. Here are some recent photos and in one you can see the wonderful snow cover. The other photos are of "Credibility Crunch" a route we climbed on the 10 April on Lurcher's Crag... its goes at V.7 . I had tried the unclimbed line several weeks ago with Kathy Grindrod and Alan Dennis but on that occasion the winds were wild and the weather most unpleasant and I had resorted to an aid move, so in my ethical trauma decided that retreat was best!.However, the other day conditions were so much nicer and after Andy Nisbet and I snow shoed to the crag. Once we got to the crux pitch we realised that my Charlet/Petzl ice tools were either to small or too large to jam in to the friend size 2 parallel crack so I retreated again! Andy lead and his ice axe adze kind of fitted into the lower chimney crack and with some outstanding lay backing on precariously torqued ice tools and minimal crampon point placements progress was made. Higher in the chimney plastered snow and rime ice reminded me of climbing in Patagonia but we did get some reasonable placements in a hidden crack on the inner wall of the chimney, which made upward progress possible. There was about another half pitch of technical climbing above the photographed crux pitch which brought us out onto the snow encrusted ridge. As you can see from the photographs, the winter climbing in Scotland is about as good as it gets anywhere!

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