After our last visit Jon and I were after a more normal outing up North. As well as getting avalanched with me Jon had managed to crash his car skidding on black ice on a previous trip so we were in a loan car from the insurance company while they patched his together again. Alex joined us to make 3 which was cosy to say the least in a Nissan Micra but once on the motorway we made good time, at least on the down hill bits. Crossing Ranoch Moor I slowed for the herds of deer crowding the side of the road, and settled behind another car. Within sight of Glen Coe I had just requested "the track" by The Fall - "Its a curse". When the carcass of a deer loomed 30ft ahead of us slap bang in the middle of road. I couldn't believe it as the car infront hadn't swerved or moved at all. I guess it must have been a high wheel base four wheel drive as the little Micra ploughed into the already dead animal. Initially there seemed little damage but within a few minutes it became obvious we no longer had a working radiator and the Micra was dead too. Luckily we managed to hitch a lift to Kinlochleven and crumble into bed at 2am. Jon volunteered to sort out the car aloowing me to hook up with Andy Turner for a day out.The dawn from Stob Coire Nan Lochan after a very pleasant approach on good neve.
A plastered Central Buttress with the long groove of Unicorn in the center a route that both Andy and I had both done previously.
We opted for the Duel IX,9 a route that took Cubby and Rab Anderson 7 seperate visits to heroically establish. Me on the wall pitch as the weather deteriorates, note the plume of spindrift above my head. Loads of verglass led to even thinner climbing than normal, with the crux for me high on this pitch just beneath the roofs. Unable to get at the rock hooks I had to chip 5mm edges into the ice to pull up with awful footholds 10ft above a cluster of dodgy gear. All in all I must have spent close to 3 hours on this pitch.
Andy making much quicker work of the 3rd pitch off width. We took 11 cams in all including two size 6s but due to the vergalss didn't place a single one. Superb route though, one I've been wanting to do for quite a while. Great to climb with Andy though, who gave me much needed confidence as I was fighting the demons of my last trip. Luckily the arm and back held out OK, although it was a very tattered Parnell who hobbled down to the road at the end of the day.
Throughout the afternoon a thaw set in which seems to be building further today. So even if we get the car sorted we will probably head home. Jon I think might be looking for psychological help after the run of luck he's had.