Lochnagar dressed for the winter - Tim
12th to 14th March 2010 - Muir of Inverey, Braemar
This weekend we were in the comfortably spacious and well equipped (apart from the mains water supply being a trickle) Cairngorm Club Hut at Muir of Inverey.
A blustery Saturday saw most hillwalkers heading off south of the hut for a round of the ridges leading to Carn Bhac. This was completed despite wind and copious slushy snow. Kate opted for the easier option of an ascent of Morrone. The group's climbers headed off for a mass assault on Lochnagar. Three pairs (Tim & Ron, Alan & Martin, Chris & Anne) tackled Raeburn's gully. This was a repeat visit for Tim (see previous meet report), keen to lead it this time; it was also Ron's first proper winter climb. Martin lost a crampon, fortunately above the ice pitch and even more fortunately retrieved by passing SAIS skiiers who returned it in the car park. Elsewhere in the corrie, Fiona, Alison and Kenny had an epic time on Shadow Buttress A, finishing quite late in the day after having to bypass the crux (see photos).
The plans being made on Saturday night for Sunday seemed to revolve around Corbetts and cafes. In the end Kenny and Alison bagged a demoted Corbett at the Spital, and Ged, Kate, Alan S, John and Helga managed another day of walking direct from the hut, climbing Carn na Drochaide at the Linn of Quoich.
Meanwhile Chris and Tim had decided enduring yet another trek in and out of Lochnagar to tick Parallel Gully A was preferable to hut chores. As with Raeburn's, the ice in the lower regions was superb but massive hoar on the higher pitches meant a lot of excavation to find belays, and alarmingly long run-outs. A particularly tricky section traversing collapsing soft snow appeared to have repelled a previous party, with some gear retrieved from an abseil rig due to fill out Tim's new ice-screw holder if unclaimed through UKC's Lost-and-Found forum.