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The Unforgiven.

Date: Jan/Feb 2009
Submitted by: Iain Miller

And sho to Schotland, where thingsh did indeed get wintery.

Arrived in Glen Coe at 11pm, bedded down on the pasenger seat of the car and awaited the sun. I was armed with the latest edition of the Scottish Winter Climbs guide and the object of the excersize was 3 or 4 starred routes with the word alpine in the Job Description. Alas I was not aware at this juncture what was to follow in the coming week, the essence of any great adventure is a journey in which the outcome is uncertain. Let the games begin....

6am and I was awoked by troops sorting their toys!

Window down and from the cosyness of the down bag, "Where you heading men?" I enquired.

And thus we were three.

Sron Na Lairig is a 300mtr offshoot ridge at the head of Lairig Eilde with a 4 KM walk in and mucho atmosphere. We solod the first 200 or so metres and roped up for the final steepening and awesome ridge pitches. We arrived on the parent ridge and battled our way to the summit of Stob Coire Sgreamhach through the howling fury of Scottish winter winds. A spot of nav on the summit and we traversed the Beinn Fhada ridge. The day was topped off by a 600 metre bum slide to the valley floor. Why walk when you can fly? An awesome way to start to the week!!

The following day I ventured up Curved Ridge accompanied only by my inner demons. The conditions were very unnerving, a foot of overnight snow on the main road and heavy laden slopes, zero visibility and a heavy sense of doom.

 Passed the first steepening and stood listening to the roar of a nearby avalanche. Threw myself to the ground, buried the axe, cuddled it and waited to die.

And like a snake I slithered.

leaving the white world behind.

In emptiness, I arose, into daylight i arrived.

Descended to the car hastely, Shaken not Shtirred, another day and another brief visit from The Reeper.

And sho to the Ben....

Left the North face car park at 4am, the forecast was absolutely awesome and I was in very high spirits. Climbed the left hand varient to The Curtain Rail and followed Ledge Route to the summit of Carn Dearg, alas it was now only 0710am.

What to do? What to do?

Descended the ledge route arete to the Pinnacle block and traversed into No5 Gully, climbed it to the summit of Carn Dearg. HURRA! Alas it was now only 0905am.

What to do? What to do?

Descended No 4 Gully and climbed North Gully, descended No 4 Gully again and traversed into No3 Gully. Climbed No3 Gully and continued to the summit of the Mighty Ben Nevis. Apologies to all I met on these routes that day, HMMM,  I was kinda "in The Zone," wide eyed and ranting would be nearer the mark! But hey  I was having more fun than I thought possible with a single walking axe and a pair of flexie crampons!

The following day a return to the Mighty Ben was made. This time armed with the Ice Monster Tony stone, another ealy start and we romped up Tower Ridge in Awesome weather and conditions! HURRA!! Tower Ridge was ABSOLUTELY AWESOME, mucho exposure and a huge sense of "Look at me I'm F*cking alive." Thingsh just couldn't be better!! HURRA!! Alas this took us to the summit at 1100am

What to do? What to do? 

A quick descent of the Carn Mor Dearg Arete followed by a 500mtr steep ice traverse across Coire Leis and we began to ascend The North-East Buttress. Much less shelter on this ridge with blinding spindrift and an awesome atmosphere. Whilst Brother Stone cruised the mantrap, I struggled spurned on by his carmera work and internal grins! :-) An absolutely awesome day and without a doubt the best day I've ever had in the mountains! It was also the first tme I've used Tech ice tools and my forearms were pumped out their tiny minds!! :-)

The following day was a rest day so a quick romp of the Forcan ridge, again accompanied only by my inner demons.  

And so to The Cobbler. 

Another very early start from Loch Long was the order of the day. Climbed Chockstone Gully and The Great Gully to the summit of North Peak, it was now 0700am and the sunrise over Ben Lomond had me in tears. Words fail me, it was simply excellent! Proof of the existance of a higher being is in that what we seek. Anyways, I digress, traversed the central peak and descended to the bottom of Central Gully. Climbed Central Gully to the steep chockstone and became absolutely stuck. After much, much, much thrashing and grunting I took a BIGGIE. Popped off and cartwheeled/bounced down the steep face below, 100 or so meters later I lay on a pile of fresh snow, puked, cried and laughed as I slowly checked all body parts for damage. None found!! HURRA! 


So that's Scottish Winter?

Excellent, Mish Moneypenny!

Massive thanks to all the troops I met on this visit, I trust a visit to Donegal would be in order as I have a cunning plan.......... :-)




09 Feb 2009

Were you alone on Central Gully? I feel like puking too.

09 Feb 2009
Anthony Feeney

A dozen routes and 2 near deaths? You don't do things by half Mishter Miller! Love the poetry.

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