Twisting Grooves on the crags of Stob Coire nan Lochan takes its name from Twisting Gully, an historic climb that winds it's way through very impressive terrain at a relatively moderate grade. Whereas Twisting Gully is devious, Twisting Grooves is actually beautifully direct, following a line of grooves from bottom to top of the buttress. A lot of twisting and grooving is required to climb it though with lots of great, technical moves on every pitch. Surprisingly this was the first time I have climbed the route and it was Mick's first winter climb for a couple of years. We both had a brilliant time and I will certainly be back for more Twisting Grooves.
Very strong westerly winds were forecast for today with a dropping freezing level. This crag faces east, so it is sheltered from the wind, and the freezing level had dropped below the bottom of the coire by the time we got there. Old snow was starting to firm up again and small bits of turf were frozen, blocks were mostly frozen in place. It was not in prime condition by any means but it was a good option for us today. I would not have liked to have been on anything harder but the crags were not rimed up anyway so the hard routes were not white.
There is pretty good snow cover in the coire. Rocks are sticking out at the bottom but the gullies are complete and there is a good crag apron of snow. There were no big cornices and the snow in Broad Gully on the descent was very stable with an icy crust for most of it. We did get blown around a bit on the short walk from the top of the climb to Broad Gully but as soon as we started to descend it was sheltered again. We had some blue skies and some quite intense squally showers of snow during the day but we came down dry.
Snow cover is building up on Bidean nam Bian but it's not really good enough or low enough to take our skis up yet. We will get a few more showers this week and it will stay generally colder; no mega thaw thaw this week, thankfully!
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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.