Monday, December 21, 2009

The Ben and Southern Highlands Report 19-20 Dec 09

Got back at 2am this morning after a superb weekend in Scotland. Despite an intimidating forecast of blizzards and very high winds Malcolm Bass and I managed to get a couple of fine routes done. First was Sidewinder (VII,8) on the Ben which we luckily had got up early for after only 1 1/2 hours sleep. So the first two pitches (we climbed the summer start - highly recommended and more in keeping with the rest of the route) were climbed in calm weather. During the final corner the snow and winds got up and the spindrift started which was expected but still a little trying. It didn't take the gloss off an excellent well protected climb though.

On Sunday we were joined by Simon Yearsley, Malcolm's long time climbing partner, who has recently started a camper van hire business This was a novel bonus as we got a full nights sleep in warmth and comfort, tea and bacon for breakfast and the dubious pleasure of a bottle of Slovenian Death Juice. We opted to avoid the forecasted 60 mile an hour winds and lightning! with a visit to Beinn Dorain in the Southern Highlands. We climbed Messiah (VII,7), a great line and a truly mixed climb, lots of ice, frozen turf and snowed up rock. Highlights included the committing crux traverse on the first pitch, half our belay ripping out and one of my front points collapsing at the start of the third pitch.
Creag an Socach with the line of Messiah marked
Simon (with rather fine gaitors) linking turf blobs up the first pitch.
Myself on the final pitch
Simon and Malcolm appreciating the luxury of a post match brew in the van. The Slovenian Death Juice in the foreground isn't standard issue on all rental vehicles.
The weekend should have finished about 11pm Sunday night back home but snows, and lack of grit just north of Glasgow saw us lose 3 hours in traffic meltdown.

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