/ Climbable routes in thawing conditions in Cairngorms?

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masa-alpin - on 15 Feb 2013
Seeing the forecast of warming up for the next few days, I am looking for routes that are climbable in thawing condition in Cairngorm Norther Corries (and anywhere accessible from Aviemore)... The grade range is from III to VI, and I'd accept if it becomes by just a grade harder due to the condition.
I guess all the ice routes must be out, so it should be rocky mixed routes that don't rely on turfs (I don't want to damage turfs and mountain flora, either).
If I remember, Savage Slit in Lochain was OK. I guess Fingers Ridge in Sneachda should be OK? How about Message?
Any suggestion is greatly appreciated!
Also, any suggestion for the routes that come in condition quickly once the temperature drops is also very welcome! (Hopefully it will improve Wednesday onward.)
Thanks, Masa
(The time of our long-waited week-long climbing trip is finally come, and the conditions are now deteriorating - how Scottish...)
iksander on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to masa-alpin: Don't know, but we're in the same boat... (hopefully not literally)
Joe G - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to iksander:
> (In reply to masa-alpin) Don't know, but we're in the same boat... (hopefully not literally)

Good point - boat! Hire a canoe, chuck in in the Spey, paddle to the sea - a great route when the Cairngorms are thawing :-)
Dave Kerr - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
> > I guess all the ice routes must be out, so it should be rocky mixed routes that don't rely on turfs (I don't want to damage turfs and mountain flora, either).
> If I remember, Savage Slit in Lochain was OK. I guess Fingers Ridge in Sneachda should be OK? How about Message?


That's not really how it works. The first things to get stripped and be out of nick in a thaw are buttress routes. Ice routes actually persist for a lot longer. Obviously in an extreme thaw collapse is an issue.
Kevin Rutherford - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
Having been in Sneachda today which is still very wintery and holding on to cold air, id recommend heading West until things settle down. Lots of big loaded looking slopes, big fragile cornices, deep buried facets still being found on certain aspects, a very big avalanche track coming out of Jacobs Ladder area (it had a fresh dusting of snow on it, possibly released last night)............. hope im painting a picture. Fiacaill ridge was nice, busy but safe.
Ron Walker - on 15 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to masa-alpin)
> [...]
>
>
> That's not really how it works. The first things to get stripped and be out of nick in a thaw are buttress routes. Ice routes actually persist for a lot longer. Obviously in an extreme thaw collapse is an issue.

Given the forecast that's my thoughts too though climbing a summer route with axes and crampons and claiming a winter grade seems the norm these days!
Once all the recent unstable stuff has fallen off and the forecast if correct (which I doubt!) It looks good for summer rock routes with an alpine approach, snowy gullies, grooves and very thick ice routes!!
masa-alpin - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
> (In reply to masa-alpin)
> [...]
> That's not really how it works. The first things to get stripped and be out of nick in a thaw are buttress routes. Ice routes actually persist for a lot longer. Obviously in an extreme thaw collapse is an issue.

Well, when a route holds enough ice, that doesn't mean it's good to climb, does it? In the temperature above zero, collapse is a possibility as you've pointed out, and placements, particularly when climbing slowly, let alone screws, are less trustable... I don't fancy that.
I agree buttress routes that critically rely on what little ice they hold are proner to thaw than many ice routes. But if not, and if turf-independent, they will be still climbable under thaw (though whether you can claim a winter ascent is debatable). That's what I think.
masa-alpin - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Ecosse Mountains:
> Having been in Sneachda today which is still very wintery and holding on to cold air, id recommend heading West until things settle down.

Thank you. A friend of mine who went to Ben said it was pretty bad, though... He decided to pack and leave now..
Dave Kerr - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to masa-alpin:
> (In reply to Dave Kerr)
> [...]
>
> But if not, and if turf-independent, they will be still climbable under thaw (though whether you can claim a winter ascent is debatable). That's what I think.

If you want to climb black buttress routes then go for it but be prepared for a slagging!
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French Erick - on 16 Feb 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:
or don't claim anything and when asked tell them all about canoeing on the spey!

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