Feb 7, 2012 / This was posted 1 year ago
There were less of us this year but good conditions on 3 out of the 4 days meant more success with 3 new routes and two 2nd ascents. Pushed for time so will do a day at a time.
Local walker Chris Armstrong enjoyed the stunning views in Coire Lagan in the morning. I’ve never seen the streams so “statuesque”; frozen solid with hardly a drop of running water to be heard.
Frozen falls just below Loch Lagan with Sgurr Mhicchoinnich behind
Chris returned for a civilised lunch in the hut and then explored Coire na Banachdaich in the afternoon.
Paul Cunningham & Brendan Croft headed up the Upper Rake on Mhadaidh and finally found a good looking possibility. I tried Fox Trap last winter myself but bottled out of the fierce looking upper section.
Paul was bolder than I had been and found a fault system breaking away from the tight chimney after a few metres. The one shot they did take makes it look quite an adventure into the unknown.
Paul well out there on pitch 2 of The Wildcat Flap
Beyond where Paul is his route description says “Step left into a steep corner, using good hooks, and make some strenuous moves (crux) to reach easier ground.” Fine effort!
Naming the route proved fun at naturalist Paul’s expense; apparently the prints in the snow could be the lesser known Skye Wildcat he’d informed Brendan:- Hence The Wildcat Flap V,6
Susan & I headed for Sgurr Thearlaich which is rapidly becoming my “best guarantee” for good conditions. Despite not donning crampons until over 800m we found the cliff in superb condition with runnels of ice and fully rimed.
Susan & I dwarfed by the mighty walls of Sgurr Thearlaich (pic-Chris Armstrong)
We were relaxed enough to even pop up to the top of the Stone Shoot for the views-
Looking over to the Dubhs
Pinn & An Stac with a golden eagle soaring at the top of the pic
Our new route took a continuous line on the buttress right of Gully E. Despite the obvious large roof Susan went for it with great confidence & skill to eventually find a tiny ledge and enough gear to justify a belay (35m).
Susan approaching the overhangs on first ascent of High Visibility VI,6
Low Vis on High Visibility VI,6 Sgurr Thearlaich!
Looking pleased as punch & rightly so.
Pleased to have stayed on that pitch I was glad to see mine started quite gently and even had a good gear crack. Somewhat inevitably the mood changed around the first wee corner as things steepened up. Some careful calculation mixed with mental blanking let me do a lovely sequence of long moves to reach a wonderful solid spike. Above the choice of 3 grooves was reduced to one by a process of elimination. Luckily it held some great hooks and a big thread before the final roof. This was far smaller than I feared & soon I was being battered by the wind on the broad Ridge crest.
Susan pulls over the top in the High Vis Belay jacket that gave us the route name