Monday, November 24, 2008

Aonach Mor: Early season action.

Jamie and I left Inverness at 4:45 on Saturday to head down to Aonach Mor. With a better weather forecast, and perhaps less snow I thought that West might well be best this weekend.
Missing out the finer points of walking up the downhill track, in the dark, we arrived at the top Gondola station after an hour and half, why oh why these places do maintenance with snow on the ground is a different story.
Contouring around from the climbers col things looked good and we settled on Force 10 buttress. The weather was also settled with zero wind, and the cloud just lifting off the summit.
I was expecting a romp. I was wrong.
The gear was well, er, poor, and the whole thing was sustained at 4 with quite a lot of 5. The guide book says it climbs steep and surprising ground for the grade, and it does, whatever grade that might be! I think it may have been graded for Neve and good snow, as the powdered up route we found was quite a challenge. There was a mention of excellent protection, 10mt run outs above dodgy pro, gave me a different story. Still we had fun. If you are in the Coire this winter check the route out, well worth doing. The crux sequence of chimney and crack is well protected.
A torch light descent of the world cup mountain bike trail just added to the days entertainment. The view from the 1st belay, the only pic to have survived the thaw in my bag!

No comments: