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The Long Drive North to the Windy Cairngorms
Monday 30th Dec

This week I made the long trip north from Devon to Scotland. We spent Monday traveling up, pretty wet and wild on the motorway so plenty of stops for coffee along the way to keep us focused. This drive has become a love-hate relationship, it’s hard to leave my wife behind for these trips, I know she worries when I am working in the mountains, especially in winter, but on the flip side it’s about getting into the mountains and climbing some of the best winter routes the UK has to offer.

Attempt Number One
Tuesday 31st Dec (New Year’s Eve)

Today we walked (well almost) to Coire an t-sneachda in the Cairngorms, we thought the winds were going to be too strong to climb anything but we were hoping to have a look at conditions and see which routes where coming in to condition. Unfortunately the winds were so strong it was impossible to walk in a straight line let alone climb, also there was a lot of spin drift being blown around and the cloud level was down so we couldn’t see anything in the Coire. So we turned around and were blown all the way back to the car park.

Successes
Wednesday 1st Jan 2014

After battling the winds for over an hour we eventually made it back in to Coire an t-sneachda, as the winds were so strong we decided to find a route that didn’t finish on the top of the Coire so we decided on Doctors Choice, a bit of a wondering line but good to be out and climbing. There was a whole lot more ice then we expected so I had to stop mid pitch for a bit of a root around in the bag for a couple of ice screws. The winds were really chucking the spin drift down on us and every time we opened our bags, they were half full with snow but we kept at it and eventually made our way to the top. Rather than go up and over into the strong plateau winds, we decided to drop down Aladdin’s Couloir. By the time we got back to the car park it seemed to be getting dark and we were both battered by the weather, another great but tough day in the Cairngorms.

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