I was out today in the Cairngorms with a Falkirk Community Trust climbing team of Joanne, Linda and Wilson. We were working on the assumption that winter climbing opportunities would be limited, so headed for Creagan Cha-no with the intention of checking out conditions and probably climbing Duke’s Rib as a Moderate.

Joanne exiting the steep corner on Duke's Rib.
Joanne exiting the steep corner on Duke’s Rib.

After abseiling in we actually climbed the initial rocks on the right of Wile-E-Coyote in error, before traversing over to climb the steep left facing corner of Duke’s Rib and then up that to the top. We climbed it as a rock route without crampons and .with an axe handy for the odd old snow patch and the snowy top out. It’s worth noting that Duke’s Rib is described wrongly on UKC, see SMC Journal 2011. There was also a quick solo of Recovery Gully on firm old snow with one small broken section.

The team belayed on the rocks right of Wile-E-Coyote.
The team belayed on the rocks right of Wile-E-Coyote.

Turf was well frozen at crag height, but the crags were looking very black. Water courses were running in Coire Laogh Mor. There are patches of old firm snow in sheltered locations, but these aren’t extensive. A dusting of fresh snow on some hills in the area above about 900m and there was a very light snow shower during the day. Winds were light.

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