Sunday, 15 January 2012

New Places

I have been trying to extend my horizons by visiting some new crags. In light of this Joanna and I headed off to the Cairngorms on Friday morning for some pre-university wintering. On friday we headed off up Coire Ciste to Creagan Cha-No, a newly developed crag on the eastern edge of Cairngorm. The walk in was nice and short and we arrived at the top of the crag by about 10am. This crag is only about 70 meters tall and there are a few hard routes dotted around. I was wanting to have a go at Falked Out, VI 7, but it was completely black so we moved abit further down the crag to the Arch Wall buttress. Smooth as Silk, VII 7, was looking good so we geared up and off I went. The first pitch followed a turfy groove to a big snowy ledge. The turf wasn't as frozen as I'd have liked but it wasn't too bad.
Me on the first pitch
I reached the big snow bay and set up a belay. I had to thread a small chock stone in a thin crag, which took abit of work.
The second pitch took a steep crack to the top and would provide the crux, as the first pitch didn't seem too hard. I traveresed out from the belay and managed to place some good gear in the bottom of the crack before bracing myself and heading into the unknown. There seemed to be a couple of little crux sections. Firstly gaining the crack past a hanging block and then secondly leaving the crack again, having to make use of some very small footholds.
Pulling through the second crux
Joanna managed to second me up this with not too much drama, despite it only being her second winter climb, so I figured she should probably try and lead something. We went back down to the base of the crag and managed to find the start of Jenga Buttress, III 4. Atleast I think it was the start, its not actually on the topo. Joanna set off up the first pitch following some turfy ground to the start of more blocky terrain.

Joanna on her first winter lead
It was starting to get dark now so to speed things up abit I lead the second pitch until just before the top where the rope drag was starting to get abit too much. Joanna ran up the final few meters and we began the short walk out to the Coire Ciste car park.
We headed down into aviemore for some food and a drink. While sat in the pub we checked the weather and planned what to do on saturday. We decided to go for Castle wall on the Shelterstone. The guide suggested it was a III but I have now found out that this is a mistake and it is actually a IV 5. The shelterstone is actually a big bolder with a cave underneath it, where people shelter. One side of the cave has been blocked up with a drystone wall and although it is abit of a grotty hole im sure I'd be delighted to find it if I was benighted.
The shelterstone crag is a large crag in the Loch Avon basin with some hard lines up it like Stone Temple Pilots, X 9, and the Cittadel, VII 8.
For further details on my climb on the shelterstone check out my previous blog post shelterstone conditions report 14.1.12 but here are some more pictures.

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