After the day on the Ben, Ali and I grabbed some dinner in the fort then headed round to Laggan to meet up with Kieron, Ross, Nathan and Steve at the hotel for a beer before heading to the car park and a semi comfy night sleeping in the car. Nathan and Steve were up and away for 6am, headed for Pumpkin. Check out Steve's blog 'Mixed Picks' for pics of their day! Kieron and Ross had a slightly later start and headed towards Staghorn again to climb the cascade on the left wall of the gully. Ali and I were tired from yesterday on the Ben and were pretty uninspired by the wet morning weather, so opted for a leisurely breakfast and steady walk to stretch out those aching legs!
Strange lichens on the trees in the woods of Creag Meagaidh
A semi early start saw Ali and I setting off from the north face car park at 7.30am in crisp conditions. An hour and a half later and we were having a brew at the CIC eying up the days objective. We opted for Comb Gully and set off following a string of climbers heading towards number three gully buttress (and ultimately Comb!). The queue in the gully led us to continue up Number Two to have a look at Comb Gully Buttress but the snow condition dictated continuing up Number Two and topping out on the plateau into a freezing wind via an unconsolidated cornice exit. Half the descent was in thick cloud cover, finally clearing at the bottom of the red burn.
Went for a quick tooling session at the cove with Nathan on Saturday afternoon in leu of any winter action. It was a rude awakening back on the axes after quite a while away from the cove!
We started at the standard traverse for a warm up then headed over to the burl cave for a couple of burns on the problems there. Will have to get some gas lanterns so I can keep up the training through the week.
Headed up north on the Saturday evening with Kieron, Ross and Ali after Ross had finished work. Stopped over night in Newtonmore so we would be close to the mountain for the following day.
Things were a lot slower to get going on the Sunday as breakfast wasn't until 7.30am which left us a little behind schedule!!
Walked in to Meagaidh in a cold wind but relatively clear skies. Kieron and Ross were aiming for Staghorn Gully while Ali and I were going to try South Pipe Direct. As we got closer the views of the fat ice on Last Post were amazing. We all decided to climb Staghorn due to the time and the other climbers on and below most of the other routes!
The climbing was great, if a little tiring on the calves, with two brilliant pitches in the upper gully. We topped out on to the plateau into a really strong, biting wind and with the clouds threatening to close right in we set off down to the window and back to the car as the snow started to fall.
We finally got to the car park at 7pm and started the long trip back down the road!
Fat ice on the lower pitches of Last Post
Ali mid way up Staghorn Gully
A qiuck cuppa at the bottom of the window on the way out