Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

25-01-10, Glen Coe - Winter Climbing

Monday has been a great day with the weather and the climbing. With there being so much snow in the Cairngorms, Kathryn and Myself headed over to the west, Glen Coe. Both of us have always wanted to climb the ultra classic Number 6 Gully (IV,4) on the west face of Aonach Dubh. With its relatively low altitude (by modern times) it hasn't formed readily the last 10 years or so. People have been climbing this route for the last couple of weeks so we hoped there would be some ice left. It was a good route but definitely showing signs of being hacked up and the very bottom may fall off if the next thaw lasts (Elliot's Downfall VI,6 fell down on Saturday). It gave us two nice ice pitches and a bit of snow plodding! Having finished the route at midday we walked over to the base of Stob Coire nam Beith (picture - right) to have a look at Deep-Cut Chimney (IV,4). This route gave us 4 good pitches of ice and mixed climbing. Pitch 1 had a overhanging block crux,with good hooks and good gear. Pitch 2 was ice (below).

The crux of the route for us was the third pitch with a left variation. Ice was thin and precarious, gear wasn't very satisfying (below)! After about 200m of climbing you can traverse off left across the mountain at mid-height following your nose between the gully lines and ledges.

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