Sunday, February 12, 2006


I've been in Scotland climbing with the Hot Aches crew (Fools with Tools film etc). Got here Saturday, on Sunday Dave, Fiona, Paul, Tony and I climbed a classic "Tech 6" up Corrie Lochen or some such spelling, great fun. Morning started cold and clear then turned into raining and not sunny by the time we topped out. I'm not exactly clear on how it all works, but routes here need to be covered in snow to be in ethical conditions--no ice whatsoever, but rime snow is very important. If you climb the route without snow it's not a real ascent. There's some other rules that I missed or forgot, but a great day out with good people, these mountains aren't all that high but they are definitely wild. Dry tooling on good granite was a joy--the route was only three short pitches, but it was solid, fun and felt more remote than the hour walk in would suggest. Until large groups of snow rescue/skills groups showed up, amazing quantity of people. Anyhow, a good day out in a good place, and the forecast is for better weather after Tuesday. Right now it's raining in Edinbur (that's how they say it here), just as well as I'm thrashed but enjoying the scene here.

Monday's weather was really, really warm, so the Ben was out, and we ended up in an abandoned Quarry (not to be confused, as I did, with Corrie) on Scott Muir's Fast and Furious, D10+. Weird to be pulling on drytooling gear at +10C, but great fun climbing the drilled route. I haven't done much drytooling in a month, been more into beating around in the mountains plus sick and so on, so I got my ass kicked. Blew the flash when I got pumped out at the anchor, oh well, sent it second try, then started playing with the extension, Too Fast and Too Furious, M12 or so. Fun climbing all the way out this sort of mine shaft of a cave. Quite pumpy without spurs---it's a horizontal traverse across the lip of a roof on drilled pockets and pockets left over from the quarry days. No hard moves, but lots of 'em with poor feet on continuously steep terrain. Got pumped silly but fun. Today I'm beat up, not really in prime shape for this sort of climbing (I thought I'd be up on the Ben in a howling blizzard, not dangling on M, or as they say here, D 12). Too warm today to go up on the Ben so we're going back into the quarry cave for more of the same, not too confident of sending but looking forward to a good workout in a unique setting. Plans are to hike into the Ben Wed. morning and see if it comes in, Scotland's strong man, Dave Macleod, says it will be and he's the expert so hopefully it will be game on. I've wanted to climb on the Ben for decades, it's where the madness all started....

Likely no net access until Friday.
Likely no net access until Friday.

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