Saturday, January 3, 2009

Glen Shiel and New Route for Lurchers.

The Lovely hills of Am Bathach and Ciste Dhubh.
Happy New Year. Busy couple of days. New years day Becky and I headed into Glenshiel and did a lovely hill just above the Cluanie Inn. The First hill of Am Bathach was a well defined grassy ridge, with lovely views and good walking, this drops down to a col before a final steep pull up to Ciste Dhubh. Any climbers thinking of heading this way, the rock was black, but well frozen, and the central gully of Coffin gully was complete.
A steep grass descent saw us back on the valley track and back to the car within 5 hours. Every drop of moisture on the hill side was frozen solid. With vast areas of ice in the streams and on the paths.
With that in mind Andy, Joe and I headed into Lurchers yesterday in the hope of finding a bit of ice to climb, the crag was as a dry as a bone with very little obvious ice to be seen. A traverse of the entire crag found us below a very thin ice fall and a voyage into the unknown. (we were off the topo in the SMC guide). Not recorded in the guide this obvious gully feature looked to have just enough ice to make it climbable, so off we went.
Andy on the thin first pitch
After about 100mts or so the gully ran out and after another 50mts of route finding we found ourselves in a very definite cul-de-sac. With a steep headwall all around, a bit of a puzzle. The only problem being it was a little loose in there, anyway we found a way through via a back left corner and very large and conspicuous loose flake. From there our mountaineering adventure continued to the top of Lurchers after 250mts of climbing. We await to see whether anyone as done the route before, I know a lot of new routes were done up here last year, and the first pitch is a very obvious feature. We shall see. A full day on the hill though, with a moonlight walk off.
Andy below the steep mixed crux.

Had an email from the SMC so this is a new route,
Desperate Measures IV4 250mts.

Route details:
Desperate Measures IV 4 J Omond, A Porter and ME!
Takes the obvious depression at the back of a small bay right of deerhound ridge. Climb a thin ice pitch for (25m), to gain easy angled ice for a further (75m). From below a small island of rock take the increasingly steep right fork (60m) to a steep step into an obvious and well defined ampitheatre (30m). Here the back left corner provides an exit via an obvious and dubious looking flake(crux)(10m loose) Continue along easy ground to the plateau(60m)

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