Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Ice climbing and lead coaching on Beinn Udlaidh today.

Plenty of ice left in West Gully. Good belays and chewy for the axes.

After yesterdays deep storms it was pleasing to see that not every inch of ice has been blown or melted away from the lower climbing venues in the Southern Highlands. I was out with Scott today who has his MIC assessment in a month and he was keen to look at a variety of teaching leading techniques  Scott brought along his mate Paul and so we had a team for a very constructive day in West Gully on Beinn Udlaidh. Beinn Udlaidh is a fine venue for water ice climbing. Water was the word of the day. At times it felt like grade 3 river climbing, but mostly the ice was good and certainly thick enough to place ice screws in for belays and runners. There is allot of old firm snow in the gully at present, a little hollow in places but all good for ascending. We did the gully in four pitches swapping leads, climbing in parallel and series, demonstrating ice screw placements to Paul and having right old chin wag about all things 'MIC'. Scott did well on the 'crux' pitch as it was spewing out a stream of water over him as he arranged a great thread runner around an ice bollard. Belays were good but hard to find. A cheeky in- situ peg was welcomed at one stage.

Scott below the crux and in the shower!

Paul after 'the shower' crux.

Easy does it!

Happy Paul and his cats cradle . 

Watch the hole Paul.

The rest of the crag is looking thin and not in condition. However there are two exceptions, Sunshine Gully III  / IV and Central Gully II look complete for those looking for some adventure over the next few days. We do need a freeze though!