Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Skye weekend

And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.

Pink Floyd, Wish you were here.



 Heading out to the arete on Helen. From where I am the route moves left to the arete and climbs this, or the wall just to the right, in a great position.

Last weekend I had a good couple of days in Skye with Nona. On Saturday we headed up the the Vulcan Wall area in Coire Laggan. I was keen to do a route Enigma, mainly due to some good pictures I had seen of it. There were a few wet patches about, and other than forcing me to dodge about on the rather rambling second pitch,  didn't seem to affect the climbing. After that it was down the hill a little bit to the lovely arete of Helen. I remember first seeing this arete from the Cioch in May 1998, and had always fancied climbing it. There is some very nice climbing on it, with a smeary but well protected crux.

The new route at Neist. It climbs to the roof above Nona's head, then undercuts left into the groove. It climbs this for a few moves, then makes a tricky move left to pull through the roof at the notch to follow the flake crack above. 

Sunday dawned damp and cloudy in the Cullin, so we headed up to Neist where, a few weeks ago, I had spotted a new line a bit to the right of the classic E2/3 crack line Wish you were Here. 
Conditions were quite cold and damp, and having abbed down the line to clean it on a previous occasion knew it was going to be quite tricky. I decided to have a wee play on a top rope to get warmed up and see if I could do the moves. The way I had envisioned doing the crux moves leftwards across the groove when I had abseiled down and cleaned the line didn't work at all.
 However, I soon worked out a alternative method, stepping left lower down and laybacking up a rib.


On the first ascent of Cold Comfort for Change, E5 6b at the crux move left.

With the bit of knowledge the lead went pretty smoothly. Maybe not the most ethical of ascents, but I certainly didn't top rope it to death first, and with various other trips away planned, and not being sure when I will next make it back to Skye, I was glad to get it done.

We then went looking for a cam that I had lost at Poverty Point on our last trip to Neist, but didn't find it. Oh well, you can't win them all.




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