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Scotland December 2021

Here’s a few of our photos from the trip two weeks ago. There is a short write up down the bottom:)

Owen, Steve and I were up in Scotland two weeks ago.

A very productive trip:)

Friday 11th was blue skies and high winds at Coire An T Sneachda, we did a practice of ice axe arrest and cramponing skills then climbed Twin Ribs via a spicey start to join Fiacaill ridge up to the plateau then down via the ski run.

Saturday was claggy but still cold, we switched to mixed, climbing Rampant, again at Sneachda, gear a little tricky to find thanks to the powder.

The descent via the goat track intro’d the most important part of winter climbing – glissading (posh name for bum sliding)

Sunday we went to Sron Cha No for some shorter routes.

Initially we were put off by teams walking back out slating the conditions, however a bit of chat with a local scored us three unlikely looking routes with still frozen turf; Captain Fairweather, Bloodthirsty and Plasma gully asthma finish.

Short days meant a head torch walk out and the beginning of the forecast 90mph winds made it an ordeal.

We then relocated to Riasg hut in Roybridge, with a view to climb on the Ben and hook up with Matt and friends at the CIC hut on Tuesday night.

A bit of chat in the hut over a beer with an old hand changed our minds from restng the next day to going up the Ben instead.

Some ukc research and check of the West Coast mountain guides blog narrowed the route options down to Green gully and No 3 gully buttress direct option.

Alarms went off at 5.15, and the guys got themselves up in record time.

Luckily we had the key to the top carpark which made the walk in 1hr to the Cic hut.

We reached the snow and geared up. A fast local team overtook us and headed further up no 3 to look at Babylon, they reappeared later saying it was still black (no ice or snow)

No 3 gully buttress started with an actual ice pitch! Stubby screws and a bull dog were placed! Belays were good and we made quick progress.

Steve hadn’t been to the Ben summit before so we ticked the top and had a snack in the summit shelter, (avoiding the puddles of wee)

The other team had said they were descending no 3 gully with a bit of downclimbing at grade II. A look in put me off and we went for number 4 gully instead.

The gully was a bit rocky further down but still easy going. The cornice was banked out and easily bypassed.

The descent was brightened by more bum sliding where the gully widened.

The forecast had now swung to warmer windier conditions with a thaw setting in so we decided to head back a day earlier than planned.

Tuesday we went to the ice factor and then stopped for chips at the clachaig inn before heading home.

Important numbers

Fuel cost for three people in a van £180

Aviemore Youth Hostel £20 pppn

Riasg and similar club huts around £10 pppn

2 hours in the ice factor £22-27 depending on concession

Average walk in time 1hr

Drive to Aviemore 8hrs

Battenburgs eaten x4

Key learning- be flexible, talk to every climber you see.

I’m hoping to do plenty of short trips after Christmas when the conditions are good.

Watch this space and please post up with anything winter related.

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