Half decent winter connies â€“ for a day (or so) again!
- Monday 16th January 2017
Jan 16th; 2017
Winter conditions at the back end of last week enabled the faithful to get back into the hills in Scotland.
Ross Hewitt on Pitch 2 of Doctor Janus (V, 7), Coire an t-Sneachda. Photo Kevin Avery
Despite the first winter routes of the season being done way back in the first week of November conditions have been more ‘out’ than ‘in’ ever since. The usual ‘early season’ crags such as Coire an t-Sneachda and The Ben not surprisingly offered the first opportunities although teams have been rewarded from Skye to Lochnagar. Agruably best/hardest repeats pre-Xmas came from Adam Russell and Uisdean Hawthorn in late November when they repeated Avenging Angle Direct (VIII,8) on The Ben.
Since Xmas, the hills have been back ‘in’ condition only briefly before dropping ‘out’ again. Greg Boswell, having hung up his bear-wrestling aspirations, made a welcome return to arms with a repeat of Open Heart (VIII, 9) in Coire an Lochain.
Nick Bullock 'enjoying' East Face Route (VII, 7). Photo Matt Helliker
And so to last week which saw yet another promising dip in temps. With sharp tools at the ready, many were poised to get cracking on what looked like a decent snap. Kevin Avery and friends were busy in the Northern Corries doing Doctor Janis (V,7) and Rampart (IV, 5). The promising forecast had also tempted Matt Helliker and Nick Bullock north of the border although they posted on FB that their chosen target – East Face Direct (VII, 7) on Stob Coire Nan Lochan in Glen Coe was “heavily verglassed which made it tough for the grade in these conditions, being hard to protect with the icy cracks and foot placements covered up with a thin bullet hard sheets of ice, so an element of steadiness was necessary!”
By yesterday (Sunday 15th) the weather had flipped once again and it had all gone ‘Pete Tong’. Nearly three months into the winter season conditions remain remarkably lacking when compared to previous years.
For more details of the winter action thus far see Simon Richardson’s excellent blog here.