Looking Psyched (and slightly Special)
So, 2:30 Monday morning and I'm back from Scotland. Conditions were ridiculous, with verglass and powder everywhere. I probably quarried somewhere in the region of ten tonnes of snow off Coire Sneachda over Saturday and Sunday.
The routes ticked? Well today Jack took me up a V/VI 6 called Belhaven, which was a brilliant lead considering the conditions made it quite bold and all the hooks were totally covered- mainly climbing up thick verglass (I think I used one hook in 40 metres). We then Soloed a three on the buttress to the left, which was ace.
Setting out on my first Scottish lead. (Three tricams is all you need for this pitch)
The main event was on Saturday though, when I led all 4 pitches of Magic Crack (did it in three). It was totally 'out there' as my fourth winter lead and not really knowing what I was doing. Luckily someone must have been on it about a week ago as some of the route had some snow stripped off. It was still a total pumpfest-quarrying epic though and I only just stayed on.
Mike Seconding (in walking crampons)
The first pitch is a V 6, which is then followed by a pitch of VII 7. The initial crack was a calf-burning battle, with very little in the way of feetm buut good gear. I got really pumped wearing leashes with massive mittens on, meaning placing gear was a total epic. After thinking I was going to fall for most of the route I got to a patch of neve, where I finally got some bomber gear. This protected a ridiculous move which relied on matching a torque under this flake and then smearing across to totally wank hooks and eventually the sanctuary of bomber neve. Under normal conditions, I would have been terrified of the set of moves gaining the corner, but I was well past caring about the consequences of a fall. Luckily managed it.
Looking at pictures of the crux on UKC today it is evident there is a big flake you can undercut higher up. But this was totally covered and I did a super tenuous (but well protected) set of moves across the slab below instead. Which looks like it was way harder. How interesting. Pitch three (4?) was a squeeze chimney which was well nice and not too bad. A romp up to the top finished off an apparently classic route.
Team Stubai Hornet
Whilst the rest of the Manchester Uni club stayed in a bunkhouse I bivied to save some cash in my 2 season sleeping bag. This wouldn't have been too bad, apart from the thermometer was reading -16.9 C by the time I decided to retreat to wake everyone up at 5:30 AM.
Mike on his first winter route. (what a legend!)
So a bit of an epic trip. Less than 4 hours sleep over 2 days. One tub of pate and a french stick for food. no liquid during the day and totally rimed-to-fuck VII 7s in the Cairngorms.
Have no fear, Frankie is leading. (below the squeeze)
I must also congratulate Mike and Em on seconding me up with style, especially as it was Mike's first winter route, ever!
I'm so fucked.
A bit of Rime