Thursday, February 19, 2009

Aonach Mor: Solarwind, Jet Stream, Aquafresh and Whiteshark

Andy and I had a very busy, but fun day on Aonach mor today. We both set off with low expectations but the climbing turned out to be very good, on steep snow/water ice allday. It ended up being a 7* day with 2 and half routes in the bag!
The temperature was still warm this morning when we dropped into the climbing col and traversed around toward Solar Wind. After the excellent first pitch, the ice in the groove ran out, so after Andy had a look over the rib to the left we decided to finish up Jet Stream. Although I did this the other day it looked complete so made for an obvious finish. Before we could head off that way I had to climb out of the guides variation chimney below after I unexpectedly fell down on the traverse to finish Jet Stream, nothing hurt other than my pride, but still it added another 10mts of climbing to the day!
After topping out we made a quick dash around to easy gully and towards the Shark Buttress, where White Shark looked really quite good.
Andy was chief photographer today, so a few pics of me for a change!

The first pitch of Solar Wind.

On the finish for Jet Stream.

Andy on Aquafresh which we used as an alternative start to WhiteShark.

Me on the steep last corner of Whiteshark.

The top corner was quite steep and felt more like V5 on the day. Topping out it was 4:40 and with the gear in the bag at 4:44, the last Gondola was at 5:00, we made it by 5:03. That gives you a good indication how extreme the bum sliding was!
In terms of conditions although wet-take plenty of gloves, the ice was still pretty fat and took the odd cosmetic screw here and there, the buttresses were wet and black as you might expect. Still lots to go at if you fancy a trip up there.

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