Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hidden Chimney: Direct start

The other day Jamie and I headed into the Northern Corries. Arriving in the car park at 8am to a warm, foggy and wet vista. The presence of the local winter climbing elite made me feel a little better. Despite the tight lips for possible destinations and routes I knew these guys would get something done. So we trudged into the mist. The muddy path gave way to a few signs of snow after 30minutes walking, but things weren’t looking good. The low cloud meant we saw nothing of the crag and we arrived at the lochain of Corie an-t-sneachda things looked a little more promising. This was only Jamie’s second ever winter route, but he was keen to try something a little bit harder than the stuff he did last time out, so I opted to go for the direct start of Hidden Chimney. Although I have done this twice, the guide book mentions another variation to the start, up a chimney just right of the direct start at about the same grade of IV 5. Although they only came in short bursts, the difficulties were steep and quite thin, a good solid IV 5.
Within no time at all, and after only one or two expletives Jamie joined me on the belay, smiling so I think he enjoyed it. Conditions underfoot were good with some useable snow and everything really hoared up for that full on winter effect.
I lead through the next two pitches and surprisingly for the first time actually got around to doing the top chimney pitch of hidden chimney.
This is a lovely pitch and well worth its 2**. The chockstone is a little awkward and was over come with a neck and footing chimney technique!!
A very good day out after such low expectations on the walk in. On the way home the cloud lifted to give us a nice view as we dropped back down to the car park.

1 comment:

JamieM said...

It was only one or two expletives i agree... Good times though and great day!