Petestack Blog

19 April 2009

The Polldubh Club, Ring Crags and Polldubh again

Filed under: Climbing — admin @ 10:36 pm

It’s been quite a week for both personal climbing and the future of the sport in Lochaber…

On Wednesday I attended the inaugural meeting of the new Polldubh Club and came away with a place on the interim Committee, a website to design (not much there yet!) and partners arranged for Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday Geoff Hewitt and I took advantage of the glorious spring sunshine to pay a long-anticipated visit to the superb gabbro ring crags (basically the rim of an ancient volcano crater) of Ardnamurchan, where we fortuitously bumped into fellow Polldubh Club founders Dean and Gary. Following a recommendation to head for the nicest-looking buttress at Meall an Fhir-eoin Beag and jumping straight on the crag classic Yir (VS), I also led Geoff up something the SMC guide thinks is one of two Krakatoas and Gary Latter’s book gives as An Deireadh (sort of Diff with a Hard Severe finish either way), the beautiful concave slab of Greta Gabbro (VS) on the neighbouring Creag an Fhir-eoin (aka Dome Buttress) and the venerable-but-not-so-classic Cuil Iolaire (VS, with a first pitch described by Gary as a ‘gardening route’ that I doubt I’ll ever do again). Dean and Gary also had a good day, ticking Greta Gabbro (which they were on when we arrived), Claude and some other routes in the VS/HVS bracket, but perhaps the real hero of the day was Geoff, whose efforts to tape his disintegrating rock shoes back together finally resulted in him losing his soul (yes, I know, sole…) to the much nicer second pitch of Cuil Iolaire! The day ended with the four of us howling with laughter as we drove straight onto the 8:00pm Corran Ferry to hear the ramp going up (nice timing or what?) the moment Dean’s wheels had crossed it. :-D

2009-04-18meallanfhir-eoinbeag 2009-04-18creaganfhir-eoin

Sunday’s planned day out with Rich Parker started unpromisingly with his callout on a rescue (paraglider missing overnight east of Glen Coe), so I took my camera down to Caolasnacon to explore some vaguely promising small crags I’ve occasionally heard of folk visiting before. But, with Rich back from a successful rescue (a remarkable tale of crashing, a night on the mountain with no phone signal and starting to walk out in pain this morning) by midday, our visit to Polldubh to savour the still perfect conditions was back on. So we did Promises (Hard Severe, my lead) and Dundee Weaver (HVS, Rich’s lead) on Dundee Buttress before heading upwards via Rubberface (E1, and definitely Rich’s lead!) on After Crag to Secretaries’ Buttress for me to contemplate the possibility of leading Twitch (E1 and shunted clean last Sunday, but I left it today…) and crossing the Sky Pilot terrace on High Crag to finish up the brilliant Shergar (HVS, my lead and I’m still smiling!) on Black’s Buttress. :-)

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