Jones nearing the tricky end of pitch 2
Again, Jones excelled herself and met me at the chock-stone in short time. I was impressed. Maybe she's a gnarly alpinist in the making. Infact, her inner thermostat seems to work in reverse, so maybe she is a natural in the hills. When its boiling hot indoors she's sat shivering with 5 layers, a beanie and 3 pairs of socks on, but when its snowing and she's sat on the belay for half an hour she's positively toasty. Bizarre.
I got her to lead about 3 metres up from my belay on the chockstone to a wee bay behind it so I wouldn't kick her as I made the last steep moves above. A bit of wriggling, a cam, a bomber hook and a swing across the chimney saw me exiting from the chimney onto the final slope up to the plateau. Jones got some funky high-step maneuvres in on this bit as the snow really started to fall. Before we knew it we were stowing the ropes as the wind tried to relieve us of them and scuttling back down Fiaciall a' Coire Cas.
High-stepping into the blizzard: Jones exiting the chimney
"Run away": Leaving the wind-scoured plateau
A spot of recuperation in Aviemore's Cafe Mambo was just the ticket and before long we were safely ensconced back in Banff Crescent, enjoying tea and tiffin, well, beer and sausage-cottage pie (which is actually pretty good). The drying room heater was doing over-time and we had that smug, self-satisfied glow that only comes after a days rewarded efforts. It's pretty sweet to have got out into the winter snows twice already, and December has only just begun. This Highlands lark isn't all rain and long, dark nights.
Sunday was spent doing not a whole lot. Jones and I ventured down the Glen as it was clear and dry and I fancied a go on Midnight In A Perfect World. Little did I realise that the combination of the last few week's moisture and the lack of sun in the Glen at this time of year had conspired to ensure everything was wet and slimey, so we just drank tea and admired the view, which isn't too bad. It might mean my pact will have to be aborted, unless we get some sustained high pressure before I head South for christmas. Drat.