Saturday, 13 February 2010

Getting cold at Glen Croe.

My winter cragging plans went somewhat, but not entirely, awry today. I planned to go to the "roadside" crags in Glen Croe, a mere hour from Glasgow weegopolis, on the basis that they had some short technical routes, were easy to walk in to, and were south-facing to benefit from the glorious sunshine forecast all day.

In the event it turns out the short technical routes were a bit seepy, thus forcing an expedition to something drier but longer, the walk-in was short-ISH but steep enough to verging on climbing itself, which was utterly exhausting for me and also gave a misleading impression of how warm it was, as I crawled to the crag base, delirious and sweaty. And the sun, did it come out even once?? Did it FUCK.

Anyway, I jumped on a fairly challenging route on the basis that it was fairly slabby, had some good rests, and should be reasonably dispatchable. However I'd forgotten just how damned intricate climbing Arrochar schist slabs can be. Not a hint of chalk, a smattering of dusty lichen, a sea of undulating rock that perfectly hides the few useful holds - but not gear because there was scarcely any to hide in 40m (10 bits in 6 clusters), sustained run-outs and a committing technical crux. A great onsight experience but perhaps not so great on a cold February day. I did it, which was good, but the amount of faff (apologies to my climbing partner, I owe him one) made it a slightly hollow victory. Nevertheless it's useful trad mileage and useful learning about the rock and conditions.

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