Petestack Blog

30 December 2010

Soggy steps on familiar hills

Filed under: Running — admin @ 9:14 pm

Keen to get out for some good hill days on ‘new’ ground with February’s WML Assessment looming, but lack of excitement about current thaw conditions saw me settling for a wee run over the very familiar peaks of Am Bodach and Stob Coire a’ Chairn this afternoon. Not much snow left below about 800m and even what’s still ‘covering’ the ridge mostly soft and soggy, but found some steeper/firmer patches to cut some slash steps and pigeon-holes (quite reassuring in places with ‘running’ footwear) and thought the steep NE descent of Am Bodach testing enough for trail shoes and MICROspikes in its current shape. No idea why there’s an arrow planted in the cairn of Stob Coire a’ Chairn (seems about as logical as the Sgurr Alasdair squirrel!), but left it as I found it and ran on down, finding the snow lining the Coire na Ba path just the right depth to keep trapping and tripping a runner’s lower legs. So pretty crap conditions really for hill running or practising axe work, but still good exercise and hoping the forecast refreeze means some better snow up there for some big boot work soon.

12 December 2010

Back for Meall Greigh

Filed under: Running — admin @ 9:53 pm

Despite waking up late enough today (on a stunning frosty morning) to consider just going for a local run, it didn’t take long to start thinking sod-that-and-get-going-because-there’s-long-enough-to-settle-that-unfinished-business-with-Meall-Greigh and head off Loch Tay way for a hit-and-run on said hill. So that’s what I did…

Nice to be able to drive straight over Ba Bridge for the first time in ages, then loads of roadside snow from Crianlarich (they must have been buried!) onwards, with cars parked at the foot of the wee hill road from Loch Tay to Bridge of Balgie and even the few metres I could see of that in passing looking like an icy non-starter. A largely snow-free ascent of Meall Greigh’s south ridge, quick confirmation (as if I needed it!) in perfect visibility that I’d all but topped out before, nice run off towards the Lawers Burn on crisp snow down to about 700m and I was back at the van a couple of hours after setting out. Oh yes, and Sealskinz waterproof socks don’t seem to be waterproof although they do still wick away moisture pretty well when wet.

Not perhaps the most complete or memorable of hill days, but still satisfying for healing a festering sore! :-)

6 December 2010

First route of the season…

Filed under: Climbing — admin @ 5:55 pm

And (despite others having been out with the axes and crampons for weeks now) it’s early for me! Yesterday I climbed the splendid Raeburn’s Route (IV,4) on Stob Coire nan Lochan with Johnny MacLeod, thus completing the classic trilogy of the venue (the others being Twisting Gully and SC Gully, which I did in January and February this year). But, although Raeburn’s was possibly harder and certainly more sustained than we expected (NB it’s easily the hardest of the three), our day out doesn’t begin to compare with the fantastic effort of Donald King and Andy Nelson in completing the neighbouring Satyr at a giddy IX,9…

The crag was in great condition despite a fair covering of the kind of soft snow that just doesn’t take axe picks, and there were other teams enjoying a variety of routes including Crest Route, Twisting Gully and Dorsal Arete. Stunning (clear, snowy, sunny) prospects of the surrounding hills, too, although both the road and the pitched stone path to get there were compromised by an evil icy glaze after Saturday evening thaw and harsh overnight refreeze. Then heavy snow last night, with the Kinlochleven schools closed (first snow closure of the season here) and a thought-provoking half-hour drive to Glencoe Primary (normally possible in about 10 minutes) this morning!

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