UPDATE July 2015: Ken and Hannah are now running Scottish walking, mountaineering and climbing courses for West Coast Mountain Guides.
Yesterday was a bad day, a very bad day and for one reason… Having only managed two bites out of my sandwich, the wind greedily whipped it away from under my nose. The rest of the day was by and large very enjoyable, with again, some interesting climbing in another new location.
Friday was Justin’s last day of his Winter Climbing Course with West Coast Mountain Guides, and so with very strong SE winds on the cards, and with some handy beta, we chose the low level ice route of Finnisg-aig Falls (AKA Smoking The White Owl), which is situated on the NE flanks of Sgurr Finnisg-aig, a subsidiary top of Aonach Mor. Access is very straight forward, along the forestry tracks from the Nevis Range Ski Centre. A short but steep approach over rough ground brought us to the base of the main icefalls, at about 450m above sea level. From there, we were able to climb three progressive pitches of ice, starting at around II and finishing on the steeper main icefall at about IV,4. The ice was mostly good, but required a bit of care, as some of it was a bit thin or cruddy on the surface, but no doubt it will be in better condition today given the cold temperatures.
I lent Justin my BD Vipers and spinner leashes to allow him to experience the freedom of climbing without having his wrists permanently attached to his Charlet Moser Pulsars, which enabled him to swap hands and remove gear with much greater ease. He made short work of the climb, and together, we made even shorter work of the 50m traverse eastwards and decent down the obvious snow ramp. The winds didn’t really interfere too much with the actual climb, but we did get buffeted a bit on topping out, never mind the rude devouring of my sandwich.
So, there’s a substantial reward for anyone who finds and re-unites me with my sandwich (peanut butter and jam), with a most two bites taken out of it!
I’m now working on a Teams & Leaders Development Course with The Outward Bound Trust, and then… more winter climbing!