Saturday 9th February 2013
North Gully III
Central Gully III
After the fantastic time we had at Lurcher’s Crag last week we decided to return this week and see if we could climb the routes we meant to this time!
The walk in went pretty easily this time. What a difference a week makes: a fair bit more snow and a whole heap more people! When we got to the crag Ephraim and I headed up to North Gully seeing as there was only one other team on it. Things soon changed though – over the course of the day I counted 13 people on our route!
The climbing went very well with Ephraim and I swinging leads in a smoothly oiled display of mountaineering efficiency (honestly!). At the top we decided to take the left hand icefall line. This may be where the cracks in my mountaineering skills started to show. Half way up the ice fall, rapidly running out of ice-screws, calves burning and finding less than ideal ice, I chickened out! I teetered across to the edge of the fall where I found a good boss of ice to sink my last two ice-screws into – belayed and safe, phew. Ephraim came up and managed a composed lead through to finish the route.
It was incredibly featureless in the flat light at the top but we managed to navigate our way to the summit of Creag an Leith-Choin and by a miracle of timing met up with the other three just as they finished Central Gully. So it was back down the North Ridge with some fantastic bum sliding to the Chalamian Gap. Got to the cars before dark and a slap up chipper stop in Aviemore.
Report by David Mattews