And then...

Saturday was a biking trip to Kirroughtree with the tri club. I'm still loving my new bike - it makes me want to go fast and I feel a lot more confident on the drop offs. Kirroughtree is really undervisited of the 7 stanes but well worth going to. We were hugely lucky with the weather - blue skies all day til we got in the car - and with my puncture timing - deflating tyres as I hosed my biked down, munching on some pineapple cake. Then it was out for a curry, which I struggled a bit to stay awake for but it was nice to see all these triathletes dressed up in sparkles instead of in lycra!

Sunday's adventure was my first trip winter climbing in a couple of years, on sron nan lairig in Glencoe. It's a grade II winter climb up a lovely alpine-feeling ridge.

I'd like to make it sound like a really gnarly day out but I suspect it actually bears very little resemblance to the kind of winter climbing Neil normally does. We had great weather, not too much stuff to carry and no tears or tantrums at the trickier bits! Brilliant!

Winter climbing is definitely not a graceful sport but I did quite enjoy swinging my axe into frozen turf and testing out my crampons on the ice. It actually felt amazingly solid and, as long as I didn't employ any imagination or curiosity, it wasn't too scary to solo up some of the steeper bits. We roped up for the trickier and more exposed sections. Neil just sauntered across these (they were mostly narrow ridges) while I think most of what I was doing can only be described as technical crawling, with as many points of contact as humanly possible.

I really enjoyed the day but, to be honest, quite a lot about winter climbing seems kind of wrong to me. Too many opportunities for it to end up badly. And even worse (!) -it's almost impossible to eat while you're climbing. Howling gales, snow flurries and rock fall whilst you've got only your crampon spikes to hold you onto the mountain makes reaching into a backpack unappealing. I tried to be all hardcore like Neil and just not eat for the day but by the time we hit the walk out my pilot light had well and truly gone off and it was only with much jelly-baby assistance that I got back to the car at all. My body needs fuel - I don't understand how these climbers do it. I had to make up for it with haggis pizza when we got home!

our climb was the ridge at the back right hand side


kate said…
what a brilliant weekend. glad you're back up and adventuring. hope i can get at least one more 'winter' trip before the thaw. you're totally right about winter climb but i guess that's also part of the lure and the bigger payback..maybe

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