Monday, 9 December 2013

Magic Crack

On Saturday I met up with Pete Holder, who hitched all the way from Keswick to Aviermore (that's dedication). We headed into t'Schneada with a few idea about what we could try but no firm plans. Once in the corrie we decided to head for Magic Crack. This is a really iconic route, which was featured on the TV show the edge back in the day, or so I am told.
The route starts up The Genie before breaking out right up a steep foot less slab. Magic Crack can be done in two ways in winter. One by breaking out right after the crack pitch, for White Magic, or by following the summer line throughout, for Magic Crack.
I began by climbing the first pitch of The Genie, which felt really sketchy. I didn't manage to get much gear in but I got up it reasonably quickly. Pete led the second pitch, a really cool set of crack and a corner set just off vertical. Everything is there on this pitch but you do have to do some smearing in your crampons which is pretty good fun.
The third pitch was the money pitch. The finger crack is a pitch I had seen pictures of before and it looked really hard. I was a bit worried that there would be ice in the crack which would make protecting it really hard. The crack was full of the most helpful ice I have ever seen. It was good enough to allow me to hook it making the climbing easy, but not too good so that I had to struggle to clear it. I managed to climb this pitch quite steadily, until the very end of it where I spent a long time trying, and failing, to get some gear in.
The fourth pitch was Petes and he elected to climb the final hard pitch of Magic Crack, instead of copping out and climbing White Magic. He took a couple of falls on this pitch but persevered and managed to dispatch it. The climbing on this pitch was well protected but a bit blind with really poor feet!
The final couple of pitches were about grade II scrambles.
I really liked the climbing on this route. There was nothing too difficult but you were always thinking. I do quite like climbing things where you have to really try and place your feet as well.
I would recommend this route to anyone, especially if you get it in the conditions that we did! I have done a lot of route in the coire and I think I can say that this is by far the best one.

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