/ Southern Highlands Turf Question...

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Mark020 - on 01 Dec 2012
Headed into Beinn Dorain this morning with intention of climbing Messiah.

Started up the first pitch and got about halfway up the corner but it turned out the turf was pretty shit. Now it wasn't really unfrozen it was more like really dry with no substance to it. Is that the norm?

Most of my climbing is done on the east and I've never come across turf like this. Anyway, pulled off a chunk (not a vital chunk!) decided it was a bad idea and headed down.

I don't know the crag at all but it looks a natural enough line that water would trickle down and freeze in the turf but it didn't appear to have done that.

The only reason I'm asking is that I'm now not sure when would be the best time to catch it in nick. After a big dump has thawed a bit and seeped in?

Any locals want to part with some knowledge?

Cheers,
Mark
wee jamie on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark020: Hi Mark, it needs a bit of thaw and freeze at all levels. So far, it's been very dry and below zero for a while now with the only thawing occuring low down and on sunny slopes. Consequently, the high-level turf all over the west coast is generally dry with an insulating layer of powder over the top. We're due to get a bit of a rise in temps soon - if it's high enough to melt that snow layer then re-freeze, it'll be great.
It was the same on the Buachaille this morning - dry and powdery.
Burnsie - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark020: From memory that corner on messiah is fairly dry at the best of times, dont think it's much of a drainage line, most folk do the crux with their hands rather than on tools. Was the turf explosive ? - ie cold and dry ?
In reply to Mark020: Not done Messiah but have done a couple of other lines on that cliff and I remember the turf on them seemed like good frozen turf anywhere else. It sounds like it was just very dry before it froze - does that make sense? I'm very far from local now, but I thought most of the UK had had a very soggy autumn? Have the S. Highlands been oddly dry?
French Erick - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Burnsie:
+1. Although more importantly. Was P3 ice formed?
Mark020 - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to French Erick:

Yeah there was ice on the top pitch.

Sounds like "normal" turf, Im guessing it must have just been too dry before it froze. It was weird, even dodgy turf gives some resistance. This stuff was like a rice crispy!

Swings and roundabouts I guess. Think we'll stick to a safer bet tomorrow.

Cheers , Mark.
Dave Kerr - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark020:
> (In reply to French Erick)
>
>
> Sounds like "normal" turf, Im guessing it must have just been too dry before it froze. It was weird, even dodgy turf gives some resistance. This stuff was like a rice crispy!
>

Perhaps not proper turf but that reedy stuff you get in the Southern Highlands. No matter how hard you hit it of how well frozen it is axes rip through.
Stuart the postie - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark020:

When I did this back in 97', I remember climbing moss on the left wall and the crack/groove up to the roof on P1. The roof had ice beneath it, before hand traversing left.

I think this route sees many ascents these days, we had 3 runners up to this roof, perhaps the crack is cleaner now??

I would say a long, cold, dry period, less snow the better. Much ice formation on Ben Udlaidh, could be a good indicator. P3 (when iced) is visible from the road, so is False Rumour Gully IV,4, a great wee route.

Stuart
Stuart the postie - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Stuart the postie:

Cloudy weather too.

Stuart
Erik B - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Mark020: ive had bad times with aerated turf on 3 different cliffs in that area, so not unusual.. luck of draw i guess

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