Archive for December, 2010

To the mountains and beyond!

neil On December - 28 - 2010Comments Off

We leave tomorrow at 4.30pm, heading for the Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. We will head north to the town of Keith and then head for Granton on Spey, we could cross via Dufftown, because we will have the Landrover, but it ain’t no Ferrari for overtaking all the Dod & Buntys on their ‘Crimbo’ drives.

Our plan is to get to the car park ASAP do the 1.5 hour walk in, establish a base camp and pitch our tent. Then depending on the weather we will bag one of the less difficult multiple pitch routes before it gets dark. This will be the first time that Radek and I have climbed a mixed route without the aid of a guide. However we are both competent rock climbers and Im sure we won’t fall off!

Mixed climbing differs from rock climbing by having to use ice axes in your hands and crampons on your feet to get purchase on the face. Because we will be cilmbing traditionally, we will be setting and removing all our own protection on the way up. This is one of the major differences compared to our summer climbing as the cams that we normally use don’t work to well in the frozen rock, they have a tendency to slip out (not good!).

We will also be placing for the first time ice screws. They can be quite tricky to place as you have to hang from one hand while you screw the ice screw in with your other hand. Sounds easy eh! Try this with pumped forearms hanging on to one axe hoping you’ve made a good placement on the ice whilst below you is 800 vertical feet of snow, ice and rock.

Once we have bagged our first climb we will find a good gully to down climb and then head back to the tent (hopefully in the daylight!). Then we’ll cook a lovely 3 course meal, well kind of (boil in the bag stew with dough balls) mmmmm! Then it’s into the tent for a shower and off to the thermostaticly controlled bedroom for a good nights sleep, well that’s what it says in the brochure anyway!

Then up early next morning to bag another climb, then back to the camp pack up and head home.
I’ll let you know how we got on when we get back.