In between soloing Great Gully Ridge and a one-day round trip to inspect the slushy snow on Howling Ridge, Dave Keogh managed to squeeze in a quick visit to Scotland, cramming in an impressive array of climbs.
He doesn’t even enjoy climbing apparently and only does it to annoy Ken. But what a fine job he’s doing. Over to Dave…
Scotland Winter Jan 9-13
So after 2 canned trips during the Christmas period due to pish weather I made a last minute trip to Scotland. Colder weather was forecast and things looked promising.
€8 flights to Glasgow ➡️ Bus to Fort William ➡️ Bus to the north face car park ➡️ 2hr walk with provisions for 5 nights & 4 days ➡️ CIC hut.
Situated at 680m and just below Ben Nevis’s north face it provides an ideal base for a few days.
I had 4 quality days, 2 of which I spent with a climber I met through the UKC website after an 11th hour shout out for a partner.
•Tower Scoop (III** ice climb)
•Good Friday Climb (III*** ice climb) – Down Gully no. 3 (I**)
•Gully Buttress No. 3 (III,3*** ice & mixed) – Down Gully no. 3 (I**)
Day 2 (with my UKC blind date)
•Lost The Place (V,5*** mixed) 3 pitches 40,25,40m located high on Coire na Ciste. A really good route with a memorable top chimney pitch.
Day 3 (2nd date)
•Cutlass (VI,7** mixed). A lot of snow and a couple of other factors had us setting our sights low on the mountain. An excellent route which went in 5 pitches to the top of the Douglas Boulder. The climbing on pitch 2&3 (corner/chimney) is so good.
Day 4 (dumped)
•1934 route (II/III**) up onto Tower Ridge
•Tower Ridge (IV,4****). Snow has yet to really consolidate so it was well banked out. Being first on the route this meant a lot of clearing ledges and cracks for axes. A real shoulder workout.
•CMD Arête (I**)
Tower Ridge was a day to remember. One of my best. Cold (minus 6 on top), no wind and blue skies made things perfect.
A good start to winter!
Just a week later and Dave returns, to mixed conditions, this time with Cearbhall…
Scotland Winter: Thaw & Storms Jan 20-31
Myself and Cearbhall Daly had an interesting 8 days or so Winter Climbing in Scotland. It was a real mixed bag of thawing conditions, wild weather and some excellent climbing. We got to see a few new venues and even had a first attempt at some dry tooling down in the cave at Dunkeld. All the climbing was mixed as the ice routes haven’t formed at this point. Below is a list of the routes and areas we got to.
- The Seam IV,5**
- Savage Slit V,6***
- Hidden Chimney Direct IV,5*
- Ben Nevis
- No. 2 Gully Buttress III***
- Wendigo IV,4**
- Thompsons Route IV,4***
- No. 3 Gully Buttress III***
- Jackknife V,6
- SW Ridge Doulas Boulder IV,5***
I stayed on a for a couple of days after Cearbhall left and climbed with a friend of a friend at Stob Coire nan Lochan and yesterday we did Scabbard Chimney V,6***, Twisting Gully III,4*** and Dorsal’s Arête II/III***
I learned a fair bit more about Scottish weather and climbing conditions which play a big part in dictating your route choice.