06/03/20: New Mixed Routes in Scotland
The BMC International Winter Meet happens every two years at Glenmore Lodge in the Cairngorm Mountains of the Scottish Highlands. Alpine clubs and federations are invited to send 1 or 2 members who are leading climbers to spend a week sampling Scottish winter climbing with UK hosts. Ice climbers from all corners of the globe where in attendance including USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Lithuania, Greece, Portugal, China, Japan and South Africa. Yes, there is supposedly ice in South Africa. Everyday we were teamed up with a local host and were sent off in search of icy adventure. In the 6 days we has slotted for climbing, the weather hosed us on 2. Luckily the 4 climbing days we did end up doing were stupendous. Since starting ice climbing 15 years ago, I have always wanted to taste Scottish winter climbing since it is the birth place of ice and mixed climbing. My 4 climbing days results in 2 days of ticking classics and 2 days of opening new routes.
The first new route was on day 2 with Mr Scotland himself,
Simon Richardson. We did an unclimbed buttress on Corrie of the Chockstone
Gully in the remote Braeriach area which entailed a 5 hour approach.
The long slog was worth every step as I got a great dose of true Highland
wilderness. The climb itself provided 3 pitches of perfect M5 (Scottish
V 6) traditional mixed climbing complete vertical frozen grass climbing.
We named the climb "Slovenian Death Water" after Rok Zalokar's
schnapps that his grandmother made for him to get us all wasted. I definitely
prefer the 12 year old single malt.
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