/ Coire an Lochain: grade II ice paradise?!

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Tricadam on 30 Nov 2016
Wandered in to Coire an Lochain today for a pre-night shift stretch of the legs and to see if the buttresses are beginning to rime up again with a view to my day off on Sunday. The bad news is it's a firm no. The cloud was at optimal level to apply a good rime plastering, but the temps felt just above zero and, though a bit of white was visible toward the tops of the crags on approach, by the time I was in the corrie it was back to black. I'd hoped to solo out via Y Gully RH, but there was virtually no white stuff in it whatsoever, so I opted for the Couloir instead, which had nice neve plus one disgusting rock/turf step at half height. Having said that, for the ethically relaxed/dry toolers, the turf is still frozen ;-)

The good news is that, following the recent thaw-refreeze, the lower corrie, particularly the Great Slab, is absolutely drooling with ice, much of it beautifully rippled, translucent water ice. Plenty of places you could stick a stubby screw, should you wish! So if you fancy some grade II ice, have at it. The mini gully to the right of the slab was good value as an approach to Y Gully, as was the slabby traverse underneath No. 3 Buttress and a direct start to the Couloir. The sunset topped off a very enjoyable day out.
Andy Nisbet - on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to Tricadam:

Over the years, that place has been a regular site for Glenmore Lodge winter climbing courses when conditions are lean. I've climbed that ice many times. As you've said, ice flows out of The Couloir and gives a nice Grade II pitch, obviously in good nick just now.
drew52 - on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to Tricadam:

The same goes for lochagar at present. We have been going up the last few days and numerous ice routes are doing very well. Raeburns was in superb condition on Sunday.
DannyC - on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to drew52:

Really? I'm (very pleasantly) surprised! I ran the Lochnagar Munros on Sunday after thinking it wouldn't be worthwhile climbing, and the crags really weren't looking great from the col: https://twitter.com/DannyCarden/status/802947682301943808

Good to hear it's building.

Tricadam on 01 Dec 2016
In reply to drew52:

Thanks for the Lochnagar update, Drew. Bodes well for Polyphemus etc later in the season. Anything left on the buttresses? Hopefully the turf will take a while to thaw, having a frozen so hard.
Tricadam on 02 Dec 2016
In reply to Tricadam:

Photos now here: https://www.facebook.com/adamarchibald/media_set?set=a.10101935808247161.1073741880.61002384&typ...

Unfortunately I was too busy having fun to photograph the ice - and the light was crap at that point - but the photos give an idea of what The Couloir was like, and of the fine sunsets on offer at the mo!
george mc - on 03 Dec 2016
In reply to Tricadam:

Wandered around the corrie today. I guess we must have very different views on what an ice paradise is!

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