There are some outstanding slots to climb in Glen Coe. Crypt Route is the most impressive but there's also Crowberry Gully Left Hand, Raven's Gully and Dalmation Couloir. With climbing conditions on the turn today, John and I went to try Dalmation Couloir and we came away with an amazing experience of adventure!
Yesterday's thaw triggered lots of cornices to fall off and some very large avalanches. Crowberry Gully avalanched way past the Waterslide boulder and Coire Altruim avalanched right down to the lairig. Crown walls were visible all along the foot of the crag on Stob Coire Altruim and the debris from at least four separate slides was spread out across many hundreds of metres at the foot of the coire. Today it had not re-frozen properly and the snow was pretty soft and wet. At 925m there was a thin crust but certainly not enough to hold body weight. However, the snow in Dalmation Couloir was really quite useable and I even placed an ice screw at the start of the climb.
The first pitch had some steep ice and mixed moves into a bay underneath the first chockstone. This was fun to climb around and led to snow going all the way into a brilliant cave. The cave was well banked out at the entrance with a 2m drop into the cave. Some beautiful ice pillars were standing on the floor of the cave but they were not needed as belay anchors thankfully.
The steep bridging out of the cave was great fun and the steep snowy groove from there to the top was easy to climb but the firm snow was blocky and some of the blocks were not well attached to the cliff. So I tried to bridge the gap rather than just climb the snow and made it to the top without anything (or me) falling off. We got to the top after climbing a nice snow crest into warm sunshine and stunning voews of snow covered mountains in all directions. The snow cover is amazing right now and tomorrow, after a hard frost, it should be much better well frozen. Hopefully.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.