Last time I climbed Taliballan we all used wrist leashes, it was so long ago. It must be over ten years ago in fact, well past the time after which I can call it an onsight again! So Louisa and I went for the long walk up to Stob Coire nan Laoigh today in the Grey Corries and we had a great time. We knew the crag was well rimed and the turf frozen since Lou and Guy climbed there a couple of days ago, and it was looking even better today. The northerly wind we have had for a few days now with some snow showers and cloud down on the crag has frozen the turf solid, rimed up the rocks and even formed a few dribbles of ice.
Taliballan climbs a steep corner system with bulges and great ledges for belaying on. The crux is a corner on the first pitch with a crack that is just too big for comfortable torquing. It's like an off-width torquing crack. However the quartzite rock is generally pretty helpful with thin cracks for picks, plenty of chockstones and positive ledges for frontpoints. Despite having some steep sections, a good bit of cunning will make the moves relatively amenable.
For a 70m climb, there is an awful lot of climbing. Most routes have some hard sections and some easy sections. On this crag and especially on this route, every move is a winner. 70m of climbing feels like much more. Having said this, there is no need to do it in five pitches at the guidebook says. The first two pitches run together very well, as do the third and fourth pitches. Then it's just one pitch to the top.
It looks like the temperature will go up during tomorrow and we will get a bit of a thaw over the weekend. It does not look like it will be a turbo thaw though, no pineapple express. Instead it will get the snow wet and provide a bit more water to form ice when the temperature drops again in the second half of next week, fingers crosed!
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.