Monday, 18 June 2007

#5: Interviews and Lochaber rock

Well, the interview can't have gone too badly because first thing next day I got a call from Gary Servant, the chap that is Lochaber Native Woodlands, and he asked me to come up to the Fort next friday for another chat and to go and see a timber extraction display in Sunart. Very chuffed. The prospect of real work in a the ecology world excites me. Especially if its based in Lochaber.

Infact it was a really nice day on thursday. I went up, had the interview, then hopped on my bike and rode down Glen Nevis for a spot of bouldering. I'd never really climbed there before. I say 'really' because Sam and I got rained off the first pitch of some crappy Severe last summer when the start of Storm was all minging. The rock is actually really good, when it looks like it should be green, friable and flaking apart. I did some really good easy problems on the Cameron Stone (Jazzamataz & Wooly Jumper) and tried my luck on the roof of the Heather Hat, but without a mat and spotter I didn't really fancy falling onto the big rock under Maisie Gunn. Then I bog-trotted across to Pinnacle Ridge and soloed this. It seemed very easy for Severe, but maybe I'm just fucking hard. Ahem.

I then did Silver Slab, which was nice.
Then on the train home I got 'approached' by the worlds most under-sexed drunk gay man from Oban. He decided to join me at my table and the first thing he said was "I'm off to the gay bars in Glasgow, are you in the gay scene?" and proceeded to comment on my strong handshake and 'defined pectorals', before telling me that I should go with a man 'on the side'. Full marks for effort and proudly waving the flag, but sadly his gay-dar wasn't on form that day. Nice chap though.
Friday was another day in the shop with the usual friday night tasting - some nice italians (wine, not customers).
On Saturday Chris and I had a very late start and eventually got to Etive Slabs by about 16.00.
We decided that given the time and passing showers we should do Spartan Slab (VS 5a). It was great, and maintained interest for all 5 pitches. I really love granite slab climbing so am very biased though. We made a mistake by starting up the first pitch of The Pause but it was straight forward enough to traverse right onto the correct line. Infact it was a good start at about 4c/5a. Chris' hangover really started to kick in when he started leading pitch 2, so he came back to the belay and swapped the gear and I was able to lead the whole route. Apparently a flake has fallen off from the crux, so everyone has to do the 'short persons 5a' moves, as opposed to the lank's 4c reach. Its well protected though so there's never really any fear involved.

"When will it all end?" Not for a while yet. Chris atop pitch 1 on Spartan Slab.

We had hoped to do Minus One Direct on the Ben on Sunday but it dawned with a lot of cloud over/in/on the North face. After a cramped night sleeping in the car at the Aenoch Mor car park we decided to get a Morrison's breakfast and head up the Ben to see what was what. We could have gone cragging down Glen Nevis but we both fancied a bit more of an adventure. The cloud was impressively/deppressingly thick, and we couldn't see anything that was further than 20m away. Tower Ridge was decided upon as the logical greasy classic choice. I won't bore with the details but its a brilliant, long, easy day out. Get on it and just follow the crampon scratches to the top. The thick cloud made it all very atmospheric, especially when it briefly cleared, allowing glimpses across to the Orion Face and Indicator Wall. Everthing looks so much bigger and steeper in the summer than in winter.

Gorrilla In the Mist: moving together on Tower Ridge.

Anyhoo, despite not leaving Edinburgh until about 13.00 on Saturday we got two big 4-star routes in and had a jolly spiffing time.

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