Learning to winter climb on Dorsal Arete

Sheltered on Dorsal Arete, Glencoe

Last night was supposed to bring with it plenty of snow, and whilst it did precipitate quite heavily, the winds were so strong that much of the snow seems to have be sent back into the atmosphere. For Stuart’s second and final day, we drove down to Glencoe under what seemed to be quite clear skies, however, on arriving at the car park for Stob Coire nan Lochan, a fairly fierce squall of hail had us delaying our departure by five minutes. And that was it. Thereafter, whilst it was a little breezy for a couple of moments on the approach, overall, it was remarkably calm, helped by the fact that the crags of Stob Coire nan Lochan are very well sheltered from most winds.

Stob Coire nan Lochan, Winter Climbing Course

Snowing in Glencoe this morning

We climbed the classic Dorsal Arete, and whilst the direct start wasn’t quite frozen enough to climb, we took in all the awkward and tricky steps on the buttress above, and after the crux fin, climbed up a final groove on the left, which gave some fun chimneying before pulling into a narrow hanging groove which featured great hooks for the tools. Again, Stuart was keen to focus on building belays and ropework, but also got to practise his newly found mixed climbing skills in a variety of situations.

Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Course

Clear day on Dorsal Arete

 

Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Course

One of the upper grooves

 

Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Course

Stuart about to start the crux

 

Dorsal Arete Winter Climbing Course

The left hand variation finish

 

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