Scottish Winter Trip, 23rd-26th February 2018

Ten club members attended the winter trip this and thankfully this winter has turned out to be a classic especially compared to last winter and everyone took full advantage of the fantastic conditions and weather.

Seven of the team were especially keen and drove up to Glencoe on the Thursday night before grabbing a few hours sleep in or beside the cars in the Lagangarbh car parking area – you have to be really keen to endure this type of approach! Despite the reduced sleep three teams managed really great routes on Buchaille Etive Mhor on Friday:

Curved Ridge II/III Kirill and Anna
Crowberry Gully IV 4 Paul, Celso and Ian C
North Buttress IV 4 Pete and Ric
View of Buachaille Etive Mor

Photo: Celso Barbosa

Later that day Andy drove up from Glasgow and managed some scrambling on the lower slopes of the Buchaille, and Ian D and Rose drove up from Cambridge. Everyone stayed in the Bank Street Hostel in Fort William which is best described as functional. If you are a light sleeper it may not be the place for you on a weekend though.

Saturday was a day of blue skies but quite a stiff easterly wind. Three teams headed for Ben Nevis and two teams had a mountaineering day on Beinn a’ Chaorainn. Ben Nevis was very busy but for the most part the three teams chose routes which avoided the crowds, while Beinn a’ Chaorainn was very quite except for a rescue helicopter dropping off rescue team members searching for a missing walker, and a steady stream of Munroists.

Ben Nevis:

Zero Gully V 4 Pete and Ric
Harrisons Climb Direct IV 4 Kirill and Paul
Glovers Chimney III 4 Celso and Andy
Climber smiling below a steep, snowy gully.

Photo: Andrew Halley

Beinn a’ Chaorainn:

East Ridge II Ian C, Anna, Rose, Ian D
Climber on a snowy ridge, holding an ice axe.

Photo: Ian Dillon

Sunday turned out to be an even better day, one of those winter days that you really dream off. Blue skies and no wind, and even warm enough to climb with no gloves and hat (at least on those routes in the sun). How many times do you stand on a Scottish summit in winter with zero wind taking layers off?! Two teams headed to Creag Meagaidh and two to Aonach Mor.

Creag Meagaidh:

1959 Face Route V 4 Pete and Ric
The Pumpkin V 4 Kirill and Paul
Climber sat on a snowy plateau in bright sunshine.

Photo: Kiril Spiridonov

Aonach Mor:

Daim Buttress (variations) III Celso and Andy
Western Rib III Ian C, Anna and Ian D
Two climbers in front of a rock slope.

Photo: Ian Dillon

Monday was essentially home day and marked a change in the weather with cloud laden skies down to about 1000m and quite a stiff easterly breeze. One team called it quits and headed home, one team went to Aonach Mor heading for the east face but were thwarted by the wind and eventually ended up at Trowbarrow in Cumbria (!), and the third team went to Beinn Udlaidh.

Beinn Udlaidh:

Quartzvein Scoop IV 4 Paul, Celso and Ian C
Ice covered mountain crag.

Photo: Celso Barbosa

Trowbarrow:

Jean Jeanie VS 4c Kirill and Anna
Harijan VS 4c Kirill and Anna
Aladdinsane E1 5a Ric and Pete (with Ric leading this in winter climbing boots!)
Climber high on a featureless rock wall.

Photo: Kiril Spiridonov

Everyone went home with smiling faces and ‘Blue Sky No Wind Sunday’ will be talked about for along time. Will you be joining us next year?

Words by Ian Dillon. Photos as credited.

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