Chasing the Winter

On February 2, 2017 by Tim Neill

Here’s a few photos of some elusive winter climbing lately. The photos above and below are from Ben Cruachan, Coire Chat. With Matt I climbed a couple of classics on our way up North for some work. Highly recommended is to double up Dr Noe with Tainted Elixir. I’d been keen to go back after visiting  almost exactly a year ago when we climbed the tricky “Goldfinger”. Our friends Simon, Malcolm and Neil had done a good job of making Dr Noe look good that day and Tainted Elixir has been promoted to mythical status with its inclusion in a great new book called “Chasing the Ephemeral” … a timely and prophetic title given the season so far!



A couple of weeks work were followed by a brief coldish snap over the weekend, so a trip to the Ben for The Clanger Direct (avoids the squeeze pitch) with Matt and Keith. I’ve seen this heavily iced up (would certainly be more fun) but it was surprisingly helpful on frozen turf and snowy rock. The original squeeze finish looks snug…

The following day we snuck in a “Cold Climbs” classic from the Arrochar Alps in the form of Monolith Grooves on Beinn an Lochain. It seemed a reasonable bet as we’d experienced frozen ground well below the CIC hut towards the end of the week before and the snow had been forecast to dump there first. Luckily the predominantly turfy climb was well frozen and helpfully icy to speed our way up this great wee climb.


With the bonus of topping out on the summit of the mountain, nice weather and conditions we were soon on the road south and back in Wales for tea time. I’m looking forward to getting back there sometime as the crag was great…there’s a few other good looking established lines plus a glaringly obvious line waiting for the right team and conditions!

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