It’s been almost ten months since I was last in Scotland winter climbing, but it’s funny how quickly the old routines come back. Yesterday’s drive up from Devon had left me pretty knackered, even with Matt in the car sharing the driving, but with a stellar weather forecast we set the alarms early to make the most of the good weather.

We had plans on the Shelterstone, with a back up of Hell’s Lum if our first option didn’t work out.

It tempted us all the way to the bottom of the crag, which turned out to be far too warm (and black from below), so we had the pleasure of a return journey back up to Hell’s Lum.

I had been meaning to climb “Deep Cut Chimney” for a while, so it was a good opportunity and after a quick solo to get up to the chimney proper, we swung a couple of leads to get back into the sunshine. The crag was being stripped of snow in all the sunshine, with bits and bobs falling off. Not a great place to be in thawing conditions but inside the chimney we were pretty protected.

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Matt Knapp on Deep Cut Chimney