The Snow Pimp

Yesterday Guy and I headed up into the Gorms for one last blast before the winter climbing conditions leave us to make way for another summer.

Below; Guy on first pitch

Last time we were in Lochain we had spied a few new lines that looked totally awesome. One of which was a steep overhanging crack line to the right of “Hookers Corner”. We scoped the line form below and decided to go for it. There is another route that weaves around and follows all the easier angled climbing close to this one but we decided to go direct and take the steepest line throughout.
After sorting the kit and drawing straws (long and short quick draws) to see who would go first, we got stuck into the pumpy climbing that loomed above. As guy climbed up to below the crack it started to look steeper and steeper with every move he made.
Below; Guy making progress on the first pitch

After placing some high runners and reversing back down to de-pump on the lower ledge, Guy took some deep breathes and charged up the technical wall above. Once I had seconded the pitch and had pulled through the ludicrously hard crux, I looked up at the next section which was another hard looking overhanging corner crack except this time it was my lead!

Above; Me starting up the second pitch

A quick swapping of the rack then I was off on my way up the second pitch trying to find a line of weakness over the cracked capping corner/roof. I shoved the largest cam I had into the crack but it was only just big enough, the type of gear that you would definitely not want to fall onto. I finely gathered the courage to pull over using some strenuous laybacking on thin hooks, then came the fighting to get situated on the slab over the roof. All the time that dodgy cam was in the back of my mind except now it was way below me (not reassuring). After another short steep corner I pulled over onto the summit and quickly found a belay.

Above; Me on the second pitch.

The wind was blowing hard by this point so once Guy had seconded up to me we swiftly found a rap point and descended back down to our bags at the base of the route. On the way back to the car we talked about the grade and a name for the route, we decided to call it “The Snow Pimp” VIII/9.

Below; “Snow Pimp” topo

I was glad we made the effort to get one last route done before summer sets in for good and I am totally psyched for next winter and looking forward to see what it has to offer. But if it stays cold this winter might have one last adventure to offer, we’ll have to wait and see.

Big Country Dreams

Today Adam, Mhairi, Charlie and I headed to the Cambusbarron quarries for some smeggy dolorite action. Thankfully it was fairly cold today so the smeg was low and the friction was high.

We started in the out-quarry and all did a number of routes, Mhairi onsighted “the doobie brothers” E1 5b, Charlie did a few E1’s along with Adam and myself.

Below; Adam “Public Spirited Individual”

Adam then went for round two on “Public Spirited Individual” E3 5c, he had had a go on this route yesterday but unfortunately a hold blew off while he was climbing. So he jumped back on it today and put on a good show while doing the route clean.

Later on we ventured into the inner quarry and I jumped on an E4 6a called “Big Country Dreams”. This route was home to some awesome climbing and I was pleased to do this cool looking line onsight.

Below; Me on “Big Country Dreams”

Charlie also had a go at “Big Country Dreams” unfortunately he took a good fall and managed to get his foot caught and flip upside down, resulting in a sore bum!!!

Below; Charlie collecting air miles.

All in all it was a good day and Im psyched for a Dunkeld sesh tomoz!

Laughing Gnome 15/4/10

Yesterday we headed back to Dunkeld for some more trad and sport crankage. Mhairi and I were keen to get on “Silk Teddy’s” and Andy was psyched for “Hamish Teddy’s Excellent Adventure” so we started by sticking the clips in our routes and getting warmed up.

After a few goes on the sport wall I decided to go for the E5 “Laughing Gnome”. This route is well known for its steep climbing up an overhanging arete with little gear protecting the crux. I had been putting this route off for a while but having felt good on the trad latly I decided to give it a go.
Below: Me moving up the Arete on “Laughing Gnome”

A couple of deep breaths, then some steep moves and a long heave over the lip, I latched the good holds and pulled onto the slab. A whoop of joy then some easier moves to the top.
Below: Me on “Laughing Gnome”

Once we were back down we headed to the sport wall for a few redpoint attempts before Andy also got psyched for some trad action. This time it was the steep E3 crack of “Marjorie Razorblade” that was on the menu.

He put in an awesome effort fighting up the sweaty crack in the mid day sun, and it did not take him long to reach the top and scramble up the mossy ground to victory.

Above: Andy getting stuck into “Marjorie Razorblade
Once Andy was back down we all spent the rest of the day trying our chosen routes on the sport wall and as Mhairi and I are getting tentatively close to sending our routes we are psyched to head back up there again soon.
Below: Daisy scoping the moves and getting in the zone for her onsight attempt.

Pass Of Ballater 12/4/10

Yesterday Mhairi, Andy, Stuart and I headed up to Pass Of Ballater for some more granite trad action in the sun. Everyone got a bunch of routes done, including Stuart who did his first HVS which was also his 3rd trad route lead. Not a bad way to start his summer.

Mhairi and Andy also had a good day, Mhairi did the classic E2 “Anger and Lust” and Andy put on a good show doing the tricky E2 6a “High Steppa” (photo).

I had a good day doing lots of routes, the highlights were “Crumbling Dice” E2 5c and “Cold Rage” E4 6a.

It has been awesome being able to get out everyday for the past 10 days whether it has been on my road bike, running or climbing due to the good weather. Lets hope it continues for the summer.

Soggy Crag

Today Mhairi, Andy and I headed to Upper Cave (Dunkeld). We were all psyched for the sport routes but when we arrived at the crag we realised the sport wall was totally soaked through. Which was a shame, as the weather was awesome and the sun was shining.

We had a look around and realised that some of the trad routes were still dry. Which always means a good day out.

Mhairi and Andy both ticked the Dunkeld classic “High Performance”, which was a bit damp but nothing too drastic. As I had already done High Performance, I jumped on the well renowned crack climb “Marjorie Razorblade”. After a battle and some amazing climbing up the steep crack, I got the route ground up later in the day.