Tuesday, 23 February 2010

SC Gully

SC Gully in all it's glory.

With the west coast of Scotland still basking in Alpine conditions we made the long walk yp to Stob Coire Nan Lochan in Glencoe to find the crag in perfect condition. While Max headed for Twisting Gully we made our way to the foot of the classic SC Gully (III, 3). The steep entry pitch was probably the crux but gave excellent foot and axe placements after a few days of traffic. We opted for the alternative second pitch which climbs the icy ramp on the right at IV,4. The third pitch was easy snow slopes beneath some threatening cornices but the exit was easy through a good slot. We topped out in four pitches to stunning panorama with no a breath of wind. There were teams on Dorsal Arete, Twisting Gully, Twisting Gully Right Hand, The Tempest, Broad Gully, NC Gully and Raeburn's Route. Today I was working for Adventure Peaks giving Nigel some final training before his Everest expedition in April.

Looking down the steep first pitch.

Looking up at a team on the Variant second pitch at IV, 4.

Not as bad as it looks! Michael smiling despite being hit in the eye by an ice screw.

Ben Nevis & the Mamores.

Topping out into the sunshine.

The MWIS weather forecast got it right with light easterly winds throughout the day. The SAIS predicted a high avalanche risk on westerly slopes based on a strengthening wind throughout the day but this never materialised and the snow pack still consists mainly of unconsolidated snow on most aspects. The sun has stripped a lot of snow from steep south facing slopes but the surface hoar is reaching epic proportions with the continued light winds and cold temperatures.

Descending towards Aonach Dubh.

The Aonach Eagach ridge.