What a stunner of a day. Scotland delivered an outstanding experience today for the thousands of people who took to the hills to soak up the sun, the snow and the scenery. Al, Bob, Rich and Bram along with Kev and I went to find a bit of spave away from everyone else on the West Face of Aonach Dubh. We climbed Pinnacle Face Route (IV,5) and Cyclops (IV,5) between us in great conditions, if a bit snowy, and in an amazing place.
After the snow fall this week it was tough to get to most places but this crag is really easy to get to and is not often avalanche prone. Pinnacle Face Route is best climbed using the summer line. Follow the chimney for the first pitch before going off right to find the steep pitch past the pinnackles at the top. It is certainly a technical 5 move or two and is really good fun. Take care of the big loose block on the first pitch though. We had a ricky wee descent getting in to Number Two Gully. The gully itself was fine but there were some deep deposits of snow on the way into the gully which took a little care.
Today we tried to climb at Beinn Udlaidh but we turned back when we could see into the coire from just above the tree line. The wind was blowing hard from the south east and moving a huge amount of the fresh snow, putting down wind slab on top of the hoar frost that had grown last night. Our intended climbs (Quartzvein Scoop, Captain Hook or Peter Pan Direct) would all have been threatened by avalanche by the time we got there and the spin drift would have made an unpleasant environment to climb in! So only one day of climbing this weekend but it will be remembered as one of the best for a long time.
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.