Cairngorm Reflections and Final Couple of Days

I'm now home in Wales reflecting on nine intense days of getting out walking and climbing in the Cairngorms. In this time I managed to see in the new year with Amy in a remote Scottish bivi shelter, climb seven winter routes (six of them grade IV or above), catch up with good friends and eat 12 slices of all-you-can-eat pizza. Its been an amazing trip.

The highlight for me (other than the pizza) was leading Savage Slit, an absolutely fantastic route, it was also my first grade V,6 lead. I enjoyed every move.  

Iv realised over the past week that I'm more confident and enjoy mixed climbing more than I do ice. I think this is to do with the familiarity of moving over rock gained from years or rock climbing. Ice climbing still feels rather insecure. I think more ice mileage is needed!

Reflection over. Here's what I got up in the last couple of days:

On Friday Tom and I climbed the ice route Window Gully IV, 4 on Lurcher's Crag. This route seems to get no stars in the SMC guide book but its awesome. Possibly the most funky ice route iv ever done. The route gets its name from the fact you climb a pitch in-between a curtain of ice and the rock, then bust back out onto the ice through a hole! I lead this funky pitch, it was pretty dam cool! The transition from crawling on hands on knees behind the curtain of ice to climbing ice verticality upwards again was interesting! 

Tom leading 1st pitch up to the curtain

Playing about on the curtain..the ice was bullet hard

Traversing between rock and ice

Behind the curtain

Looking down 2nd pitch

The day was made even better by the alpine like weather. The crag is SW facing so we got plenty of sun in the afternoon. Magic. 

Fantastic views 

On Sat I climbed The Seam IV,5 in Coire an t'Sneachda. The main chimney pitch is fantastic mixed climbing and one of the most striking lines in the Coire. A foot of fresh powder snow and verglassed cracks made the climbing and finding gear placements hard work. A proper winter experience! 

Looking up at the main chimney pitch of The Seam

Tim Seconding

loving it! 

Similes all round

The Seam is the obvious striking line on the buttress at the top left of the photo