Monday 7 March 2011

The Winter of Nae Climbing

Well the past couple of months seem has come and gone with very little winter climbing action for myself. Winter climbing seems to be a fickle beast, and I find that weather, conditions, partners and days off all have to coincide for success on a hard route.  My main problem is the last of these, days off. The reason for this is my work (avalanche forecasting). I love doing this job, I find it interesting, get out on the hill, get some good skiing in, earn some money and it gives me time to train for rock climbing during the evenings. This year in particular I have been offered quite a lot of work, which has been great, but has also meant that I have not had too many days off, and the ones I have had are off are random mid week days which can make finding a climbing partners quite awkard. 

Take February for example. Between the 1st and the 12th I had some training to do at Plas y Brenin in North Wales for a job I have there over the summer, and so this meant no winter climbing. I got back up the road on the evening of the 12th. From then to the end of the month I had 5 days off, the 16th and the 22nd to the 25th. On the 16th I tried to go climbing with Andy Turner and Nick Bullock. I figured getting dragged up something hard by those boys would get me going climbing wise. Unfortunately the weather was pretty foul, and we ended up blethering in the carpark for Stob Coire an Lochan with various other teams who were also bailing before heading back to Fort William for a coffee.

Charlie seconding Cutlass as the temperature rises (although it hadn't quite started to drizzle at this point)

On the 22nd, I did mange to get out, but the weather turned mild and drizzly through the day. We made a quick ascent of Cutlass on the Douglas boulder, before heading home. Then next few days the freezing level was miles above the tops, and it rained. So winter climbing wise, in February I have managed one short and quite easy grade VI,7. Not exactly ground breaking stuff, but there you go.