"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Days 1 & 2: ice cragging

On Sunday we walked up to Ben Dolaidh, east of Bridge of Orchy. Nick led the first pitch of Farenheit 435 (IV) but the steep slabs on the second pitch were barely covered with a thin layer of ice, so after giving it much more of a try than I'd have done, he came back down to the belay and we abseiled off.

An icefall to the left, Salamander Gully (IV) was in much better condition. It was my first winter lead since Canada last year, and felt pretty good.
The next morning we drove to Bridge of Orchy again but this time turned right (west) up a glen, and walked in to Ben Udlaidh. This north-facing crag had seen less sun and there was plenty of good ice to go at.

Here's Nick starting the first pitch of Peter Pan Direct (V).

I then led Quartzvein Scoop (IV).

On the top I spotted a small brown animal zigzagging about on the snow. It darted over to us and we saw it was some kind of shrew. ""Don't let it climb up your leg" a nearby climber shouted. It was so bizarre to see such an animal on a snowbound mountain top, that Nick took a while to get over his surprise and get his camera out.

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