Riders on the storm.
Nigel and I went back to Buachaille Etive Mor today with Connor, this time to climb the mega classic rock climb, Agag's Groove. We've wanted to climb this route for a few years now and never quite got the chance. Today the forecast was for the weather to worsten dramatically in the afternoon so the question, could we climb the route before the rain came in? We met at 8am in Glen Coe and quickly walked in to the foot of Curved Ridge. It was dry but clouds and a wind on the summits were telling us that the change was in the air.
We went up Curved Ridge as far as the first easing of the angle and went across to the foot of Agag's Groove. The groove starts as a tiny corner, only 20cm deep. Right from the very first step onto the rock you have interesting moves and they carry on all the way to the top. The corner quickly gets bigger and bigger until you can bridge across it. Half way up the first pitch is a disctictly harder section with smaller but very positive foot holds. The climbing is perfect for big boots and they seem appropriate in the big mountain setting.
Four pitches of amazing climbing culminates in the crux section on pitch three where you step left out of the groove to find a crack system going steeply up to a small ledge. This is in a sensational position with the onlookers on Curved Ridge below and the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor below them. There are a few rattley holds here and the nice spike at the top of the crack has fallen out in the last year or two. Take care! More hand holds might just come loose. The grade is the same though and there is good protection.
We got to the top and tidied up some of the old abseil rope anchors that have been accumulating on Crowberry Ridge. It's important that we try to keep our playground tidy and clearing away abseil tat is part of this. We abseiled down to the half way point with the idea of climbing back up the second half of January Jigsaw. However, the first drops of rain slowly started to come in and we decided to leave it while we were winning. We abseiled down to the bottom and scrambled down Curved Ridge in slowly worstening drizzle and rain, glad we got an early start and glad we didn't stay for a second climb. Well done Nigel and thanks to Connor. I wonder how many more classic rock gems we will be able to climb in the future.
So that's the end of the amazingly settled dry spell of weather. We have more mixed weather forecast and a big storm tomorrow as an atlantic low pressure system sweeps over the country. It will be very windy for June, what is normally quite a calm month. 85mph summit winds will make it feel more like a winter day than a summer day. Might be time to head indoors to Three Wise Monkeys Climbing for a bit of training!
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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.