Not much to report on the winter climbing front, in fact nothing of interest at all!
Busy on Mum duty at the 1st round of the YCS at Ratho on Saturday, so no climbing. But Sat night I drove (slowly and tiredly) up to Andy's to go climbing on Sunday. Forecast wasn't inspiring, snow showers, blizzard conditions, gusts of 80mph. Nice! But out we went, at least wanting a short day. We could have gone into Sneachda or Lochain but as always new routes lured us over to Lurcher's instead. We had thought about the longer walk in from Rothiemurchus, but decided to risk going over the top as it was a quicker approach for where we wanted to be. Bad choice in the end. The walk in was fine at the start. At 9am the wind was ok, and just little drizzly snow showers, but it was picking up by the time we were walking up and past Lochain.
I got blown over a couple times approaching the cliff top and was finding it very difficult to get my crampons on as I didn't have any thin gloves with me, and find it impossible to do up crampons with thick gloves on. Gloves were off for 10seconds tops before hands became painful, so gloves back on! And it took a while of this on/off process to get the crampons on. Gearing up was going to be a nightmare! Add to that, my duff goggles that I'd gotten which in my few years of winter climbing I'd never yet had to use, managing to grin and bear any previous wind and spindrift episodes.
But, walking directly into the wind, with a front just coming in and with the spindrift howling up the cliff and over the top and right into our faces was too much for my wee eyes, and my eyelids kept threatening to freeze together which wasn't helping matters!
Getting down South Gully was going to be impossible for me, I just wouldn't be able to see! I just couldn't decide what to do though, I've only ever backed off from doing a route once because of crap weather, and I don't like it! I hate the way it makes me feel, torn between wanting to climb and not wanting to have to put up with crap weather, especially when I've had so many wonderful days. Andy decided for me though, and said, 'let's go down,' and I was grateful for him for making it easy for me to choose to go back. I was disappointed though, and spend a lot of the walk out thinking about it, and thinking I should have kept on regardless, esp when we passed other people walking in and knew other folk would be climbing regardless! But they would have sheltered points to gear up, where as we didn't! (although, in retrospect, Andy did later think we might have got shelter at a certain spot on the cliff top, and could have descended down the far end of the cliff, rather than down South Gully. Ho hum, we will remember that next time!)
So, that's that, no climbing for another week. And by next weekend I will be tearing my hair out to get out again! Early indications are that it will be a bit stormy again, hoping that won't be true!
RB has had a much better time of things the past week or two.
The last Friday saw the final round of Avertical World's winter bouldering series and we both took part this time. I wasn't climbing the next day, so felt ok about tiring myself out and my elbow wasn't giving me too much grief either. I did ok, much the same as I normally do, probably a little better on some problems, but crap on others!
Out of all the rounds, RB won 1st place for Junior Girls and won herself £30, she was really chuffed and is putting the money towards getting herself a new pair of climbing shoes as the ones she has are getting a bit tight.
The weekend after saw the 1st round of the YCS at Ratho. 3 boulder problems (with 3 attempts) and 3 routes. There were loads more kids there than last year, which was nice and it was nice for RB to catch up with some of the girls she had met last year.
The first route was really easy for all of them and the first boulder problem too. All the 11-13 girls made it up the 2nd route too but the 2nd boulder problem was causing a few problems for some of them, with only half of them making it first go, and 3rd go! The second route, a 6b, didn't seem to cause any problems for any of them
and they all flew up with ease.
The final boulder problem was tough! An easy start, then onto a horrible rounded and slopery pocket to reach up for a thick horizontal type pinchy thing (and this is where most had trouble) Next it was a big stretch across for a sloper and a struggle to get feet higher and reach up for the next sloper. Most folk came off here (including RB) and only the 2 taller girls completed the problem.
Poor RB though, she was first to go on the hardest route of the day, which she was hoping to avoid, but that's just bad luck.
She flew up the start of the route, making it look like a doddle, the tiny holds posing no problems for her small but strong fingers! She got to the crux but couldn't reach the next hold. I think she just had her 'stretch' for it head on, and in her struggle forgot to think about her feet. I was shouting up, 'fffeeeeeeeeet!' but she didn't hear. There was a hold out to the right and I'm sure if she twisted round, got her foot high on that, she might have been able to reach back and up for it. But so easy for me to say, down on the ground!
All the other girls were struggling at an earlier awkward section and one after one they peeled off, until 2 of the stronger, more technical (and taller!) girls flew past the awkward section and reached through the crux without a thought! Nice to watch! So, RB was 3rd on the hardest route, but one of the other girls had bested her on the hardest boulder problem so RB came 4th overall, missing 3rd place by one point!
Next round on Saturday 28th March at AVW in Dundee.