pic; me leading the first pitch
Yesterday James and I headed back to Udlaidh. I was hoping to try Andy Turners new mixed line on the lower tier but when I got to the base of the route I found that it was dripping and running with water as the temperature was quite high. Not wanting to knock it down, I decided to leave it for a colder day.
pic; James seconding the first pitch
We then headed over to do “Organ Pipe Wall” because regardless of the temperature this route is mega fat and stable. There were a few parties waiting to climb the right hand line, so we opted for the steeper and more direct line because it looked better and meant no waiting!
Pics; Me seconding the Last pitch (cranking out!)
I lead the first steeper pitch and took a hanging belay so that James could get some of the leading action on the second pitch. It was a good route and even though I had already climbed it earlier this season, the direct variation felt like a completely different route.
Pics; (first 4) Me on the first pitch
After returning from the Alps on Saturday, I was keen to get out climbing again so today James and I headed up to Beinn Udlaidh to get stuck into the fat ice that James had been raving about over the past few days.
We went up to do The Smirk, but when we got to the route there was already a team on it and another two at the bottom waiting. So we decided to do something else, as we where walking away I noticed a good looking steep line to the left of the Smirk. It had an ice bulge at the bottom then a rock traverse to a hanging icicle. It looked very continental with some rock hooks between the ice.
The route looked good, so I jumped on it and got stuck into the surprisingly good climbing. The first ice section was straight forward and then came the tricky traverse which was fairly strenuous and steep. Once I was on to the hanging icicle and got a screw in, I made my way up the hidden thin icy groove which was home to more ice than I expected, then to the fatter ice near the top.
I took a belay and called to James to start climbing. When I started taking in the rope and finally could see my second I got really confused when I realised it was not James who was coming up but Tim Blakemore. I then learned that James was not keen to do the route and had bumped into Tim at the bottom who was waiting to do the Smirk so it all worked out in the end as Tim was psyched to climb the route. He then went on to lead the short but steep last pitch.
Pic; Tim leading the top pitch.
I have made some enquiries and I am pretty sure this is a new line. It goes at about VI/7 and I think I’ll call it “The Grin”. It was a great line and if anyone else gets on, it would be good to hear what you think.
We then walked off and met back up with James who went on to lead The Smirk (V/5***) and had a blast while doing so.
Pic; James leading The Smirk