Friday, 30 August 2013

Wee adventures in the Highlands.

 Rubha Carrach, not a bad cliff, not a bad setting. There are only two routes in the section of cliff shown in this picture. 

Last weekend reminded me how good adventure climbing in the Highlands can be. It did look that promising early on Saturday morning with heavy drizzle and low cloud around Fort William. Myself, Iain and Tony decided to head out to Rubha Carrach, a sea cliff out near the end of the Ardnamurach Peninsula where we hoped for some better weather. I expected it to be adventurous given the guidebook description "terrain adventure", and the fact that picture in the guide shows Storky (Paul Thorburn) wearing a helmet. I have never seen Storky in life or in photos wear a helmet to go rock climbing.

Iain on Nostromo. The rock was very featured and interesting to climb on, and a quick clean, the rock was generally  solid. Much better than some of the choss found at Gogarth. 

Anyway I was not disappointed. The weather cleared up as we headed West away from the mountains, and the crag turned out to really impressive with some very featured and unusual rock as well as a cave. We did a number of routes, all of which were quite adventurous, with probably the best one being Nostromo (E5 6a) after Iain had given it a quick clean on abseil.
One final route at the end of the day.

After a late finish (got back to the house around midnight), it was up early the next morning to Stob Coire nan Lochan in Glen Coe where Iain and Tony had a wee project they wanted to finish off.  Their line goes directly up the pillar to the left of the Extreme rock route Scansor. Iain wanted to do a bit more cleaning, so myself and Tony climbed Scansor, with Iain abseiling off after the first pitch to a bit more cleaning.

Iain on the first pitch of Gecko wall. The route climbs the pod and crack to his left, to pull out left before the most prominent overhang. It then pulls back right a little higher up, and climbs direct up the wall and over the top left end of the top overhang. 

After a quick abseil and it was Iain's turn to give his route a go. His pitch was hard and varied with some tricky back and footing up the initial crack/fault, and then after a slightly easier section, further hard thin wall climbing. This led to the Scansor belay. Tony seemed to have no problem seconding, but I was definitely having up huff and puff a bit. A short second pitch directly up the wall above was then then easily dispatched by Tony to complete Gecko Wall E6 6b,6a. If you are wondering where the name comes from, then find out what Scansor means, and you should be able to work it from there.

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