Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sax Appeal

A day for making the best of things. Andy was stuck at the snow gates at the Lecht whenI left town this morning, a run in with a friendly local saw him through, and by 9:00 a little later than planned we arrived in a very black looking Coire an t-sneachda. Plans to get further put on hold thanks to the Lecht snow gates. The best looking buttress was Fluted Buttress. Some of the other buttress looked very black indeed, but out choice held an onious snow and ice line. The snow was concrete, and freeze of melt water meant all the cracks were chocked with verglas. In the end Andy and I went for Sax Appeal, I pulled the straw for the first pitch. The old guide had this route, as poorly protected and V4 a very odd grade for mixed. After a short excursion into cruising and a hairy traverse back left I can understand the poorly protected bit. Not sure it was an overall V, but the gear is a little sparse and the climbing thin. Anyway somehow, and despite the late start and the fact there were 3 other teams on Fluted Buttress Direct, once we joined that route, we managed to top out by 3pm. Another really good day on the hill though. The snow lines and gullies in the Coire were excellent, and may be worth a trip back as long as things don’t warm up too much in the next few days.
Andy on the middle pitch of Fluted Buttress Direct, after Sax Appeal.

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