With the forecast for the weekend not looking quite as favourable as the past week or so, Steve, Dave and I decided to make the most of the current cold and calm weather, and headed over to Coire an Lochain in the Northern Coires of the Cairngorms with an open mind.
Conditions on the west have been good, but with more snow, patches of less frozen turf and bonded rocks, we thought that a change of scenery would be worthwhile, so made our way into Coire an Lochain, home to a number of steep (and less steep) mixed routes. It was clear on the approach to the coire that no one had been in for a couple of days, and with that, many of the routes clearly hadn’t been cleared of rime and ice, so we picked The Overseer Direct, which looked less chocked up with ice and so more amenable than Deep Throat and some of the other surrounding routes for arranging protection.
The route takes in a couple of steep corners, which Steve cruised up (clearly the indoor dry tooling has paid off), before I jumped on the sharp end and climbed a slabby groove, before tackling an awkward pull onto a good ledge and a steep corner with good hooks to finish with. Great fun!
It was another stunning day in the Highlands, with views as far as the eye could see, I could get used to this. Plenty of other folk out making the most of the conditions, with teams on a number on routes in Coire an t’Sneachda including Fiacaill Ridge, Invernookie, Fiaciall Buttress, Stirling Bomber, Finger’s Ridge, Fluted Buttress Direct, Broken Gully and The Haston Line. Plenty of other folk out skiing, snowshoeing and generally enjoying these brilliant winter conditions.
We have a couple of thaw/freeze cycles coming up in the next week, with it cooling down again considerably towards the back end of next week, so it’s looking very promising for this early in the season.