• This topic has 54 replies, 17 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by lowey.
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  • Any Winter Climbers? (Scotland)
  • Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    I used to enjoy a spot of winter climbing, still would if I had the chance. Part of the problem nowadays is my regular partner of old turned into a teacher, so the random days off we’d take in the week to get the good conditions have now dried up. That said, we’ve both since had kids too.

    Anyway, wondering if any STWers get out in the winter – nothing too challenging, Grade II-IV classics ideal. No promises on my part, but if there are others in a similar situation looking for a weekend or two’s climbing over winter, I’m keen. I know there’s UKC and Facebook, I feel like I know STWers better 🙂

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    It’s always been my dream, except I live in Wales. Dozens of times we went up to find no snow, too much snow, wrong kind of snow. There were only two successful trips – once we climbed a frozen solid Idwal stream, and once we hit the jackpot with perfect conditions on an incredible day on the Trinities.

    So I’m in! I’ll need new gear though if it’s more than II/III probably. Willing to drive up.

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    Getting the conditions, time, partner(s) really does feel like stars aligning stuff, but when it happens…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    I’ve got a photo somewhere that we took at the top of Snowdon after topping out on the central Trinity at sunset. Crystal clear weather, snow on every peak southwards highlighted pink; we could see the Brecon Beacons, Pembrokeshire, Northern Ireland, the Lakes, and Southern Scotland. I’d post it but it’s a 6×4 photo print and I don’t know where I put it 🙁

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    Willing to drive up

    Uh oh… Prepare for dissapointment/absent climbing partner… 🙃

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    OP. Good luck and tell us about your adventures. I was always mince at Scottish winter climbing, way too scary , stressful and dangerous for me. Combined with the fact I never really found a regular partner to go with.

    A real revelation was a week in Rjukan. I climbed about 10 times more ice that week than I had the rest of my life. ( still not much TBH)

    Got me a little bit better, and eventually I struggled up a Scottish Grade 4, but then WW kayaking filled the “extremely exciting but a tad risky hole in my life.

    Premier Icon ffati
    Free Member

    I used to climb loads of winter did about 6 weekends in the bounce sleeping in the back of my ford fiesta when i was about 20. Best day was doing orion, zero and smith routes in a perfect blue sky day. So much easier now getting good weather and condition reports making the drive way less of a gamble.

    But for some reason i stopped climbing about 5 years ago just kinda fell out of love but never got rid of my axes and boots. And the itch to get cold and scared is returning

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    There are several FB groups and UKC has a partners forum.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    I’m going to head out Sunday although I’m not holding out a lot of hope…

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    Best day was doing orion, zero and smith routes in a perfect blue sky day.

    Would love to do Smiths. And did Orion with a guide as a birthday present a few years back. It was amazing how quick we moved with someone so slick at belays (not me).

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Would love to do Smiths

    Of all the routes, summer and winter, from that era that was the one which impressed me the most.

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    I remember being up on Castle Ridge and watching two climbers scampering around a big fat ice column down in the gully beyond. Looked so perfectly what ice climbing is about and had to ask my pal which route it was. Not sure I’ve the mettle for it these days but with a strong lead I reckon it’d go.

    Premier Icon Theodlite
    Free Member

    Is Kinder Downfall in yet?

    Done a bit over the years in the Lakes and Scotland during the good winters.
    A mere mortal compared to some of my friends exploits mind.
    Hoping to get more done, combined with split boarding this winter in the lakes.

    Your pic reminded me when I topped out onto the Ben one NY eve with an inversion, the surrounding mamores were just breaking through the cloud like shark fins, magical day.

    Premier Icon ffati
    Free Member

    Smiths was good would have been a wild lead to do it cutting steos back in the day.

    Always think that a lot of Scottish winter was about efficiency so that you are limiting sitting still. Remember belaying a mate on a early repeat attempt of some grade viii in wales was grim in 2 bug belay jackets

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    I remember being up on Castle Ridge and watching two climbers scampering around a big fat ice column down in the gully beyond. Looked so perfectly what ice climbing is about and had to ask my pal which route it was

    The Shroud?

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    19250850-10156114663569198-3815577068758527103-o

    Aha! So I can remember how to post pics, I’ll put up a few to get the juices flowing. That’s Magic Crack a few years back.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    16700617-10155099288169198-7498151285318663324-o
    Hot Toddy on Beinn a Bhuird.

    78498221-10157844414914198-5898062993123442688-n
    Cherokee Chimney, Braeriach.

    28616590-10156252569219198-4791540235557375122-o
    Poco Loco, Bidean.

    79215539-10157885682809198-1109176824610422784-n
    Lap of the Gods, Sgurr na Lapaich.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    171693-10150106528164198-6462150-o
    Blood Sweat and Frozen Tears, Beinn Eighe

    10903879-10153077710694198-5001528390938634173-o
    Der Riesenwand, Beinn Bhan

    194138-10150132298099198-5938049-o
    Sticil Face

    778784-10151383141394198-173004140-o
    String fellow, Ben Nevis.

    891571-10151502298489198-136303725-o
    Poacher’s Fall,Liathach.

    134532-491547769197-5056678-o
    Darth Vader, Ben Nevis.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    . I know there’s UKC and Facebook, I feel like I know STWers better 🙂

    I clearly didn’t read your post to the end, if I had I wouldn’t have suggested FB and UKC!

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Those pictures are amazing Spin ( apart from the Beinn Eighe one objectively speaking 😉 )

    Poachers in particular looks amazing, and I even recognised Sticil Face from some old magazine. I guess that’s the classic photo op.
    Amazing.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    even recognised Sticil Face from some old magazine. I guess that’s the classic photo op.

    The belay is a bit back from the pitch so it is indeed a classic photo opportunity.

    Premier Icon debaser
    Full Member

    @spin Those photos are terrifying and inspiring in equal measure! Superb.


    @jimmy
    I’d be up for heading out. Only been winter climbing a few years, but happy at those grades and have spent lots of time in snowy mountains and a while trad climbing. Edinburgh based, pretty flexible for last-minute mid-week condition chasing and weekends too. Can promise mediocre chat, moderate enthusiasm and decent snacks.

    Premier Icon kormoran
    Free Member

    Spin takes me back a few years and also wins the internet, bravo sir, bravo

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Spin takes me back a few years and also wins the internet, bravo sir, bravo

    Happy to oblige.

    Those photos are terrifying and inspiring in equal measure

    I know what you mean but with one exception (Der Riesenwand, which we retreated from after the crux!) they’re all pretty safe routes. I was always far more into snowed up rock than ice mainly because there’s rock gear but also because there’s just far more opportunities to do it in Scotland.

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    @debaser 👍 I’m in Roslin, so good to know.

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    @Spin

    The Shroud?

    Smiths, but I might be misremembering.

    Der Riesenwand [the giant wall] looks serious(ly impressive).

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Full Member

    Spin has, I’d say, owned this thread 😂

    I’d be up for anything up to grade III but not til after Christmas!

    Premier Icon elliptic
    Free Member

    Here’s a few more for the gallery – consecutive days of a stunning high pressure spell in Feb 2016, the fourth day was equally amazing weather but neither of us could face another 4am wake up and walk in…

    Gemini
    Gemini, Ben Nevis

    Mega Route X
    Mega Route X, Ben Nevis

    Stand And Deliver
    Stand and Deliver, Aonach Beag

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Smiths, but I might be misremembering.

    You wouldn’t see Smith’s from Castle Ridge so either you weren’t on Castle Ridge or it wasn’t Smith’s! 🙂

    Premier Icon jimmy
    Full Member

    Top of Glover’s Chimney, looking straight down the other side.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Top of Glover’s Chimney, looking straight down the other side.

    Ah ok, it would have been Smith’s but from Tower Ridge.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    A few more…

    12719117-10154022360489198-1203161433967744156-o
    Gully of the Gods, Beinn Bhan

    12764894-10154038384549198-3456881373563802766-o
    Ayatollah, Fuar Tholl

    1518620-10153120608499198-877688305539348759-o
    Pipped at the Post, Fuar Tholl.

    11046664-10153172101904198-772835268746489221-o
    War and Peace, Coire an Lochain.

    51786755-10157095068669198-4560881421513654272-n

    Something amusing on Creagan Coire Cha-no.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    192214-10150114628724198-3001257-o
    Grey Mare’s Tail 2010.

    83313809-10157984607229198-4887912399073443840-n
    The Inquisition, Coire an Lochain.

    27912934-10156182590169198-4576678699105141203-o
    Skyscraper Buttress, Sgurr nan Clach Geala

    16722727-10155099288174198-3701985468035602455-o
    Where winter climbing meets mountain biking.

    Premier Icon chickenman
    Full Member

    I found I could get a lot better at trad summer climbing largely by bullshitting to myself that I was in control. It never worked that way for me with winter climbing, the 300 footer down Centre Post Direct in crap conditions was probably the thing that sealed it for me. That and the zero body fat which made the interminable belay sessions in the freezing cold pretty unbearable. Hats off to those who do it though!

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Spin has, I’d say, owned this thread

    Yep so long as his aim wasn’t to try to drum up some partners for his next foray 😛

    Run for from the hills….

    Loads from Martin Moran’s stamping ground there Spin. Did you ever climb with him?

    Premier Icon thegeneralist
    Full Member

    Mega Route X, Ben Nevis

    That’s some serious camera tilt 😉

    But still lightyears beyond what I could ever imagine doing. Much respect.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Loads from Martin Moran’s stamping ground there Spin. Did you ever climb with him?

    Sadly I never even met Martin never mind climbed with him. His and Andy’s deaths were massive losses.

    Premier Icon elliptic
    Free Member

    That’s some serious camera tilt 😉

    Blame Mike P from Abacus, he took it 🙂 certainly felt steep enough at the time.

    Spin – the one pushing the bike looks like coming back down the Slugain from Beinn a Bhuird?

    Premier Icon elliptic
    Free Member

    Some older ones, late nineties mostly, before we all went leashless.


    Point Five

    Poachers

    North Post

    Cuillin Ridge traverse

    …to be strictly honest we didn’t do a full traverse, but bailed from the gap when it went dark again, having started from Sligachan at 11pm the previous night and done the first half by moonlight. No bivvy gear, just a stove for a brew stop on Banachdich.

    Premier Icon Spin
    Free Member

    Spin – the one pushing the bike looks like coming back down the Slugain from Beinn a Bhuird?

    Yes, that’s right, same day as the photo of Hot Toddy above. Failed on that due to not finding any gear on the crux.

    I’d be interested to hear where people get to this winter so maybe we could keep the thread running? Also if anyone wants any conditions beta, especially Cairngorms and North West, let me know. I’m in Inverness and out most weekends when there’s nick. Can be useful to have someone to ask if you’re coming up from down south and not up to speed on what it’s been doing.

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