Monday, 23 June 2008

The Misty Mountains

Jones honing her skills on the sharp end on Afterthought Arete

Just a brief one this week. Mid-summer weather is currently in effect in the Highlands, so the caress of stone has mainly been replaced by fondling chalk-smeared plastic. I've taken to hiding from the rain at Scott Muir's Extreme Dream climbing wall in Aviemore, which is pretty cool - certainly enough to satiate my addiction to severe forearm pump.

Hallowed walls: Shelterstone Crag with Carn Etchechan beyond.

Jones super-styling the first and best pitch of Pygmy Ridge

On Mid-summer's Day it stayed dry in the Cairngorms for a full 24 hours. Jones was in town so we headed for the hills in search of some gentle mountain rock. Starting in Coire an't Schneachda we wove up to the plateau via Pygmy Ridge (Mod**), crossed down to Loch Avon by Coire Dobhain and popped back up via Afterthought Arete (Mod***) on Stag Rocks, then back to the car down the Goat Track. A good wee circuit, taking in some pretty epic scenery on excellent rock. Jones and I shared leads all day and it was great to see her confidence grow throughout - practice makes perfect.

Roaring melt-water heading to Loch Avon

Just because it's easy doesn't mean it's not awesome!
Me on Afterthought Arete. (Photo: Sarah Jones)

Alas, any plans for Sunday were curtailed by ceaseless precipitation. Nothing to do but light the fire and batten down the hatches in the wee cottage.

After work today I ventured up to the Link Road Boulder by the Coire Cas car park. It's a big lump of glacier polished granite that doesn't have a single good hold on it's considerable bulk. I set to work with icy fingers on crystal crimps and ragged slopers until a big squall stopped play, then high-tailed it home. There's the potential for a few evening's playing, but none of the problems are particularly inspiring. If only Glen Nevis was just round the corner.

I'm hoping the good weather of yester-month returns, as I have many a date with the magical mountain crags of this land. Surely another summer can't slip by without at least my doing The Needle or Minus One Direct. To all climbers reading this: get in touch via email/text if you're getting out and want to play, I have no mobile reception so it's hard to find partners up here in the wilderness! Ta.

1 comment:

Stevious said...

Afterthought arete is fucking awesome.

Might be keen to head up for shenanegans next weekend. Will see what the lady is keen for too.