Back in December I climbed Taliballan on Stob Coire nan Laoigh in the Grey Corries with Louisa. We had a great day and really enjoyed the climbing. Today I climbed it again, this time with Tommy and it felt like a very different experience. It was just as much fun but the climb feels very different to what it did a month ago. We chose this crag so we didn't have to wade through deep fresh snow (lots more snow fell last night and yesterday) and so we did not get avalanched or spindrifted out of a gully. All of this worked out well - no spindrift, no wading, no avalanches!
What made the climb different was the snow build up at the bottom of the climb meaning we missed out on a few cool moves at the start and the amount of ice on the rocks. A thin veneer of verglas covered most of the rocks so some of the friends I placed were pretty useless. There was also a good amount of thick ice on the second and third pitches which got right in the way of finding protection. I remember placing two friends just above where Tommy is in the picture above. Not much chance of that today!
The last pitch has a thick line of ice in the initial corner. The climbing up here would be pretty easy but with little chance of protection without a fight! Instead I chose to climb directly into the higher left hand groove from the belay ledge. This gave us one steep move off the belay but worked really well from there into the groove. I know this crag is quite turfy and wet but if other mixed climbs are as icy as this right now don't expect an easy ride!
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.