Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Routes on Lochnagar

Saturday was an early start with the alarm set for 4:30. By 4:45 I was on the road for a two hour journey to meet Andy in Ballater before heading off to Lochnagar. Made only slightly longer by the untreated roads and few inches of snow that had fallen.
As usual I forgot how long the walk in to Lochnagar is, today it wasn’t helped by a very breakable crust on top of some deep powder. This should have given us a clue for things to come.
The weather for once was fantastic with wall to wall blue skies the order of the day. Crossing the col we had our first glimpse of the crag, very plastered was our take on things.

As we dropped into the Coirre we could see avalanche debris everywhere and lots of windslab still to release. Not fancying the track across the debris to the heavily plastered crag we headed up to a small buttress on the left of Coirre directly beneath the area known as the ladder.
Here we found some good rock, and new lines!
Andy climbed the corner, now known as Sonshine corner III, a good route with perhaps a move of two of tech 4.
I then had a go at the inset face left of an obvious buttress, this was a slabby climb in nature and used some helpful cracks to get established underneath an obvious roof. I turned this on the left through a bulge to finish up the arete and a shared belay with the top of Sonshine corner. The route was called fluffy face IV4. Partly because the face had tufts of turf sticking out and partly because I hadn’t had a shave for a few days and Becky thought it apt.

The routes provided us with a good safe days climbing when the Coirre is full of windslab like it was. My first, first winter ascents so we sent an email to the SMC for good measure.
The long walk out and drive home saw me complete a 15hour day door to door.

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