Saturday, 6 February 2010

Big Days

Two big days in winter just gone. First up I made about 4 metres of progress on my project. Doesn’t sound much, but with it being 4 metres of roof, it’s a pretty crucial 4 metres!
I went back and forth about twenty times trying to find a way to move off a long undercut stretch. I sussed the method on my ‘last go’ and committed myself. Shortly afterwards I found myself hanging at the lip, both hands on one tool, feet dangling staring out a wire I was too pumped to clip. About a minute of desperately trying to clip it with either hand from a locked off postion followed, then some dejected dangling and preparing for the big fall and swing, contemplating leaving my tool in the crack until my attempt. But a sketchy heelhook and last ditch strength had it clipped and one move more before a total arm failure.
Lowering off ecstatic. One minute of action on the roof and then failure with a new highpoint worth many a day on easier routes. Next time I want another 4 metres of progress. After that there is just another 15 metres of summer E5 to the belay.

Next day I was out on Meagaidh with Michael. We climbed a pretty cool 7 pitch line up the centre of Bellvue Buttress which went at around VI,7 or maybe a bit harder? I got a superb big wandering pitch up the slab below the huge roofs and Michael got a tough set of steep grooves with just enough turf and flakes to make it go. It dark and heavy snow we missed the descent at the left of the buttress and descended into the adjacent coire, which left us with a bit of an issue with retrieving our sacks, now well buried at the foot of the route. A long walk in the dark ensued, so I was feeling the fatigue a little for my coaching clinics at Ratho the following day. 
Motivation is well and truly set for the next attempt on the project. Next shot, I have to be more disciplined and carry less rack. I just don’t think I can climb such a hard piece of M-double figures ground up with a massive kilt of ironmongery.

Michael leads off on brittle ice, pitch 1

Michael gets stuck into the difficulties on pitch 3

Bellvue Buttress, Creag Meagaidh. Our route breaks out left from under the huge roof and up the steep grooved walls above, just left of the buttress crest.

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