Playing in the snow

Posted at 9:55:20, 19/1/2004

I had a good, if not very successful, trip up to the Northern Corries this weekend. I drove up on Friday night with Greg, Henry, Dave and Ben and met up with Spewy Tom's landrover at Glenmore Lodge. The next stage was to try and take my Astra Estate up the ski road in about four inches on fresh powder... needless to say, there wasn't a chance it was going to make it! The next suggestion from my helpful passengers (who had managed to push the car about 100m up the road!) was to get the landrover to pull me up the track. I was slightly concerned that any contact between the tow-bar of the landrover and the front of my poor, fragile, Astra would result in me no longer having a car! Anyway, it was quickly settled when the landrover failed to move anywhere apart from sideways with me attached.

Anyway, eventually we all made up up to the Cairngorm ski-station, five of us clinging onto various protrusions on the outside of the landrover. We camped in the snow, which I really like doing, although I'm not sure exactly why. Greg and I had decided to try The Genie (V,6), after leading the first pitch I found I belayed below an outrageous looking, hanging corner which looked absolutely desparate! Greg spent a couple of hours trying to get up the first few meters (he was making slow put steady progress as well) before deciding that it was definitely too hard! We were pretty sure we were on the wrong route by this stage and were slightly concerned we might have ended up on White Magic (VII,7); we weren't but I don't think we were on The Genie either!

So we came down again, and by this stage it was about 2pm. The next route we tried was Original Route (IV,6) and I set off up the first pitch. Having never climbed harder than (IV,4) in winter before, technical 6 was bound to be a bit of a struggle! I faffed around a lot, swore a lot and almost lobbed off a couple of times before I too gave up and came down. Fortunately Greg was able to get up this one, unfortunately some guy was faffing even more and if we'd waited for him to finish his pitch then we'd probably still be there now! Greg abbed off the route and we walked out of the corrie, looking back occasionally to see the head-torches of the pair who'd been in our way, still on the second pitch of The Lamp...

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