Tuesday 13 December 2011

Scottish Starters

After waiting and waiting for conditions to arrive, then not being free to take advantage when they did I was champing at the bit by the time it got to Friday and couldn't wait to get stuck into the action. 5pm saw Dave Garry, Pete Harrison and myself enroute. Dave Almond - keen as ever - had headed up the day before and already bagged a new route with Duncan, whose floor we'd be sleeping on that night.
I awoke at four in the morning to a very unhappy Pete. It seemed my snoring had kept him awake all night and all thoughts of climbing had left his mind, so after driving to Lochnagar we left him in the van to get some sleep while we headed to the crag.
After breaking trail through collapsing crust we started the day with some exploration. Probably not the best idea for the first route of the season...anyway more on that later.
By the time we'd finished messing about it was 11.30 and Dave Garry's enthusiasm was waning, but as always, Dave 'the machine' Almond was still wanting action, so Dave G headed to the car while 'the machine' headed up Tough Guy.
This route provided a good reintroduction to the Scottish way with a mix of everything: Steep pulls through roofs, interesting run outs and some technical moves...I even got to reattach my crampon while leading the crux!
Sunday we drove over to the Northern Corrie's and I climbed Open Heart with Dave while Pete and Dave Garry went up Ventriloquist.

After, I got to thinking about some of the ingredients that make up a successful trip.
They're not all required for every recipe but if you mix at least three you should get a tasty dish!

Climbing partners: Useful for holding your ropes, motivating you, taking turns at the sharp end, general banter and discussions about quantum physics.

Inspiring climbing destinations: Plenty of these in Scotland. Here's one from Saturday. The Tough Brown Face, Lochnagar.

Exploration: This time not very successful but good fun, although a new pick was required after falling from a couple of metres above here and shock loading the axe lanyard.

Success: Not essential but very rewarding when you get it, as seen here on the main pitch of Open Heart. 
My heart was in my mouth watching Dave lead the crack pitch of Ventriloquist with a massive runout, but he got away with it and as usual, we climbed the last pitch in the dark!

Right, now its time to head back to White Goods with a clearer picture of whats needed.
                                                                    Must get stronger!

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