Monday, January 30, 2012


Lectures that run from 4 to 6 on a Friday night are never going to popular. I was less than impress when my lecture announced that she wouldn't be stopping for a break at 5, because she feared none of us would return. I lasted 'til about 4:40 before discreetly leaving with the word's family crisis on the tip of my tongue if she challenged. I jumped into Livingstone's car and we drove to meet Ollie before heading north.

Lads on tour: Livingstone, Moneypenny, Ollie and me.
Ollie and James psyched in the car park
We met Moneypenny at Preston station and kept north to the Lakes, where we called in at my mum's for haggis, neaps and tatties (Thanks Mum!). Here we checked the forecasts and decided Lochnagar would be the best bet. By the time we made the decision it was almost midnight so we decided to have a couple of hours sleep before driving through the night. Up at 2:15 I had a very strong coffee before settling down for the first long stint. Three hours of the World Service later, at Perth, Livingstone took over and we pulled into the car park at Glen Muick just before 8.

When the weather is this good it is hard not to enjoy winter climbing!

The crag.
Livers with a crucial part of the modern mixed rack...

It was beautiful day, windless with clear blue skies, which more than made up for our lake of sleep.  Inane banter made short work of the walk in. Tom and I decided to head for the classic Parallel Buttress, whilst James and Ollie went for a gander at Polythemus Gully. (They found it to be out of condition and did Moonshadow instead.)

Livingstone seconding Pitch 1 of Parallel Buttress.
Tom leading the steep mixed chimney on Parallel Buttress Pitch 2.
Ollie and James on Moonshaddow. The three other climbers are just below the Crux of Shadow Buttress B.
Livingstone high on Parallel Buttress.
Livingstone leading the awkward crux tower on very thin hooks. 

Our climb was brilliant with lots frozen turf, good runs, and the occasional helpful bit of ice or neve. 6 pitches latter and I was belayed beneath the tricky looking crux tower. Livingstone struggled a bit, but eventually managed to negotiate his way through on delicate hooks. I attempted to follow suit, but to no avail, I dangled around on the ropes a bit before working it out. One pitch of easy snow and I was on the top. We coiled our ropes and down climbed the Black Spout, grabbed our sacks and headed back the car.

If the weather was always this good you'd never bother doing anything else!
Me in the Visitor Centre Doss - no spoon but a peg will do!
 We dossed the night in the nature reserve (cheers for cooking Moneypenny) before an early bed. The next morning we headed back to the crag and made a team send of Shadow Buttress B, which was great fun and straightforward apart from an intimidating mixed step in the middle. Livingstone made a slight cock up and dropped his camera half way up the route. He headed back down at the end of the day and amazingly found it!

The walk in on day 2.
Livingstone on Pitch 1 of Shadow Buttress B.
James was cold so Livingstone gave him hug...

Livers on the intimidating crux of Shadow Buttress B.
We made the long drive back to the Lakes, where we were greeted by large portions of sausage and mash. (thanks again Mum!) Up at 5 after another short nights sleep I managed to stumble into morning lectures bleary eyed and fueled by caffeine!

No comments:

Post a Comment