This week Nigel and I have continued with the theme of variety in the climbs we have done. On Tuesday we went to Applecross with its wonderful range of sandstone mountains, big vistas and wide open landscape. We climbed the mega classic Cioch Nose in improving weather. We got wet on the walk in, climbed the first two pitches on wet rock and enjoyed the rest of the climbing and th scramble to the top in the dry and with the cloud above the tops.
The sandstone is so clean and grippy that the wet rock does not make much difference to the climbing. We wore rock shoes to compensate and it was fine. If you walk in from the top of Beallach na Ba it is a short downhill walk to the climb and a very short walk back to the van after the climb. This makes it a reasonable climbing day trip from Fort William and you really feel like you've been on an adventure.
Today was another wet day in the west so we went east to find dry rock. Creag Dubh at Newtonmore can't be much more different to Cioch Nose, but it is just much fun to climb there. It is just a few minutes walk from the road and offers steep climbing on (mostly) good positive holds. We climbed King Bee and Brute, a pair of lovely VS 5a climbs on the Main Wall. There are some very serious climbs here and it was nice to see a few other teams out enjoying them. A friend of mine told me many years ago the climbs here do not get any harder as you go up through the grades, they just get bolder!
Thankfully these two climbs have great protection right where you need it and abseil anchors to get down easily after two or three pitches of climbing. The outlook is lovely and the showers seemed to bounce off the crag and away again so we didn't get wet at all.
Next time out Nigel and I should go to the Etive Slabs for the opposite experience to Creag Dubh! I will feel much more at home, that's for sure.
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.