Thursday 1st January 2009

Out today with Nettle. We fancied a short day given the previous evening and went to have a look at Beinn Udlaidh, but having looked from the road using binoculars decided things weren’t formed enough. It looked like Peter Pan, Quartz Vein Scoop and The Organ Pipes were forming, but looked thin.

Instead we went in to the North-East Coire of Beinn an Dothaidh expecting to do a few easy snow gullies. We followed the stream going up in to Central Gully from about 550m and as the bottom part wasn’t banked out the stream gave very pleasant and delicate solo-ing up thin, but adequate ice at about II/III. Higher up the gully became solid neve; about two thirds of the way up this we diverted on to the left side and put the rope on to climb an excellent 20m ice pitch at about IV, which headed up to a terrace below a pinnacle. The terrace gave access back right in to the gully and up to the summit.

We descended East Gully, which felt quite steep on very solid neve and then on ice in the stream bed until the final steepening where we headed out right (looking down) to regain the floor of the coire.

A superb day out with circa 1000m or so of climbing up and down and a brilliant way to start the new year.

Cool south-easterly breeze and below freezing all day, Beinn an Dothaidh was cloud free all day, but some hills e.g Stob Gabhar seemed to be in cloud most of the day. The turf was frozen solid, but had no snow cover except in the major gully lines, old snow was very solid neve and water courses were freezing. Taxus had some ice, but no real snow and was very broken.

Note we found a crampon in East Gully. It didn’t look like it had been there long. I’ll try and post about it on ScottishClimbs and UKClimbing lost and found in the next few days if you’re missing one.

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