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|
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.
|Zero Gully||V 4||Pete and Ric|
|Harrisons Climb Direct||IV 4||Kirill and Paul|
|Glovers Chimney||III 4||Celso and Andy|
Beinn a’ Chaorainn:
|East Ridge||II||Ian C, Anna, Rose, Ian D|
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.
|1959 Face Route||V 4||Pete and Ric|
|The Pumpkin||V 4||Kirill and Paul|
|Daim Buttress (variations)||III||Celso and Andy|
|Western Rib||III||Ian C, Anna and Ian D|
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.
|Quartzvein Scoop||IV 4||Paul, Celso and Ian C|
|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!)|
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.