Friday 17th December 2011

Headed across to Beinn an Lochain in Arrochar today and climbed the classic Monolith Grooves with Pamela Millar. This is the third time this year I’d left home with this route as a possibility and the fourth in total. This time it paid off with the turf being frozen solid, a dusting of snow and the crag well rimed. We varied the first pitch by climbing the corner groove just to the left that arrives directly at the belay, as I’d been told the bottom groove felt out of keeping with the rest of the route. This gave an excellent starting pitch at about sustained tech 4. There’s no snow build up below the chimney of the final pitch, which the guide suggests makes it harder. There’s also no ice to help gain the turfy ramp higher up on the final pitch and these moves up a short wall and slab felt hardish for the grade and were the crux on the day.

Pamela moving up towards the cave belay

The crags of The Brack looked fairly black, The Cobbler looked in similar condition to Beinn an Lochain. The low level ice that was around last week has largely gone. Below freezing all day, light north to west wind with the odd very light snow flurry.

On the arete and contemplating the groove on the way to The Table
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