Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hiding in the clouds!

 Topping out on Golden Oldie covered in a nice layer of rime

While the rest of Lochaber was basking in the sun we went and hid in the clouds on Aonach Mor. After a couple of days in gullies Joe and Tom were keen to try a ridge and Golden Oldie (II) on the west face fitted the bill perfectly. We walked in in the sunshine but climbed into the cloud capping the summit on the final pull up to the start of the route. With plans for the alps, today was focused on the skills of moving together on a variety of terrain. The steep snow slopes on the approach were protected with a short length of rope with a couple of direct belays on steeper sections. Once on the buttress the snow disappeared and we ran out two long pitches on rimed rock and frozen turf looking at hooking and torquing. The snow reappeared where the ridge flattens out and we swopped back to moving together with natural and running belays. On this upper section the wind was bitter and the rime was forming in front of our eyes. The boys have had a very easy introduction to Scottish winter mountaineering this week so it was good to top out on to a featureless plateau in a whiteout and experience something a wee bit more normal!
3" of rime on a piste marker

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