Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Glen Coe - Ice Ice Ice!!!

On the first ascent of Jane’s weep, Glen Coe

Last week with Donald I’d spied some desperate looking but amazing steep ice smears on the Lady Jane wall on Aonach Dubh in Glen Coe. Exactly how ice climbers dream of thin ice face routes could be - ice smears a few mms thick and occasional blobs running boldly up a wall, eventually gaining ever-thickening ice to finish on an overhanging pillar. And so today we had a bit of a desert island ice route day. First off Blair romped up a steep crack and ice pillar on the right side of the wall near Blast Off at VI, 7.

Then I looked at the smears running down the centre of the wall from Lady Jane. (a summer E2). Some bold and thin but excellent climbing eventually led to some good rock gear at half height and then the rest was pure enjoyment on perfect grade VI ice. I’m not sure whether it was VII, 8 or VIII, 8. But on reflection the crux seemed definitely harder and bold as Viva Glas Vegas which is VIII,7. I’ve always seen VIII as a ridiculously hard grade, but there a lot of steady VIIIs these days. It doesn’t matter in this case anyway. Perhaps it just scraped into VIII today, but another few mms of ice and it would be fine. 

Along with The Shroud on Ben Nevis I can’t think of a nicer ice route I’ve done anywhere.

With one more day before the atlantic strikes back with 8 degrees and pouring rain, we are back up tomorrow for more prospecting...

Blair going for it on his line

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