Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Wet Play

No, I'm not referring to some dodgy sex game. I'm talking about finding ways to spend my time when it's pissing with rain. And it has been. All last week was a wall of wetness, a saturated, dripping festival of badness. What's a boy to do?

MWIS, BBC and Metcheck all fooled me into thinking that the weekend would be nice and dry, so Steev headed up on the train and we crossed our fingers to see if we could get over to Shelterstone crag in Loch Avon to climb The Needle. Of course, we couldn't. Instead we went biking at the Moray Monster Trails near Fochabers and it was a blast, as our pan-oceanic friends might say. We ended up soaked to the skin, plastered from the very tip of my rotting, blistered toes to the top of my noggin in a thick crust of Morayshire's fertile filth. Lovely.

Would you trust him with your kids? Teacher-to-be, Steev.

The panacea view: Loch Avon

With a good forecast for Sunday we thought about an alpine-start and cycling in to Garbh ChoireBeinn a'Bhuird to climb Squareface, a quick drying four star VDiff. However, the liklihood of Steev missing his train put paid to this plan. Instead, we headed up to Coire an Lochan on Cairngorm to see what we could find.

Steve waving from the belay on Savage Slit

After retreating from a very slimy Fallout Corner (VS 4b**), Steev headed up Savage Slit (Severe ***). Despite a fair bit of water hanging around, it provided two brilliant pitches, including some good old-fashioned back-and-footing up the chimney. It's definately getting the Gaz Marshall treatment this winter. With a fair bit of time to kill before Steev's train, but not enough for a big route, we strolled down to the wee slab below and left of Hell's Lum in the Loch Avon Basin and I climbed Pluto (E1 5a*). It's 45 metres of friction padding on beautiful water-worn granite, mustering about three decent runners in it's length. The climbing was a doddle, but I guess the joke RPs in flared cracks made it pretty dangerous. Most of the winter snows have melted away by now, but there was still a wee patch just beneath the route so poor Steev got frosty toes while belaying from the bergschrund.

Who needs the Alps?

The Lower Slabs, Hell's Lum. A worthwhile spot for a second route.
heads straight up the driest line, above and right of Steev.

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