It's a good crag, rarely visited (despite it only being a 45 min drive from Glasgow) but definitely worthwhile if the conditions allow.
|Andy on the descent to Fan Gully Buttress|
When we stopped at the gearing up stone near the summit, we realised something was different from the usual suffering- we were comfortable while adding the layers. It was feckin' boiling- which was a bit of a conundrum. The air temperature was probably minus 4, but an unusually strong Scottish Winter sun was warming us. Anyway, we geared up as normal and trepidatiously descended a gully, to arrive sweating below the routes. The snow had been stable enough to walk down without avalanching on us but our prospects didn't look good. We were hot and bothered and the snow was melting off anything exposed to the sun.
A quick brainstorm came up with three options-
1/ Hanging Groove (IV,5) (in the shade).
2/ the recently recorded Gangnam Style- at the proposed grade of (V,7) (also in the shade).
3/ go home (we'd rather have gone to the pub).
Both the routes were in the shade. These could be our salvation and the pub could wait. I'd already done Hanging Groove with Jim Hall, so I couldn't resist the temptation of a bit of Gangnam Style, especially with the Mediterranean style sunshine. We could be in San Antonio....
|Andy Clark starting the crux pitch of Gangnam Style|
Andy made short work of the 1st hard pitch. I arrived at his belay after a decent (but enjoyable) tech 6 struggle. I looked up and very quickly decided it would be time for some 'block leading' on Andy's part. My Spidysense had detected difficulty...<Translation- I thought, 'F That', and sent the ropegun up there!>
|Crux pitch of Gangnam Style|
We finished up around 70m of grade II buttress ground, avoiding a steep wall that had been climbed on the first ascent. It was as black as the ace of spades and we didn't have the time to do it. As we walked off into the sunset the views were clear for 40 miles down the Firth of Clyde. Another stunning day in the Alps- the Arrochar Alps!
|The Cobbler, The Brack and the Firth of Clyde from Beinn Ime|