Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Migrant

This weekends weather was looking promising for winter climbing. I met up with James Higgins at the Cairngorm car park at 6.30 am on Saturday morning, after roughly 5 hours sleep in the back of the car, and off we went into Coire an Lochain to find something that looked white. Jim was on about trying Pic n' Mix but we decided against it as it is really quite hard and would have been a bit ambitious for such early season. This was my first day out this season, and Jim's second. We were joined in the Coire by Neil Adams as his partner had forgotten his boots.

We decided to go for Nocando Crack (VII 8). I had seen some pictures on of it on UKC and it looked really good. Neil lead the first pitch and then I was given the second, which was the main crack and crux pitch. I started up a short corner and then onto a big ledge. From here I was to traverse to the right edge of the ledge and climb the crack to a big cut out. I spent a while trying to get gear in and find hooks. I couldn't find anything I trusted and after a while of fiddling around I asked Neil and Jim if they wanted to have a go at it. Neil said he would and came up to meet me on the ledge. He gained the crack and then started climbing up it on very thin icy hooks. There was too much ice in the crack to allow you to place gear, although he did find some in situ gear. Neil climbed about half of the pitch before deciding it was unjustifiably dangerous and lowered off his axe in a good hook. I was quite glad I didn't get that far as I'm not sure I would have done that.
Neil abseiled to the ground and Jim and I finished up the Migrant (VI 7), which was very good. Jim lead the crux on this, which was a thin traverse. I finsihed up the easy angle slabby terrain at the top, which I though climbed really nicely. We abseiled down Nocando Crack to retrieve Neils axes and walked out.
Despite the faff we had on Nocando Crack I had a really good day, and only got hot aches once. Hopefully the rest of the season holds more successful ascents.
Jim has also done a write up on his blog.

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