Monday, 26 January 2015

Auricle, Coire an Lochain (Cairngorms)

Frozen eye lashes, numb noses and frosty mono brows were the running theme of our days climbing in Lochain last week.

Mike and Myself waiting patiently for the gates Ryan Mchenry

Queue of cars waiting to get into the hills.

Probably the coolest guy in the Gorms.
Photo; Ryan Mchenry 

Ry and myself headed up to Aviemore last Saturday night, but rather than sleep in his Fiat Panda we were welcomed into Mike's parents home in Carrbridge. Was so nice getting a proper sleep in a comfy bed, as well as having a relaxing breakfast and a leisurely start. Unfortunately though we were stopped by the snow gates at Loch Morlich, which delayed us by an hour and a bit. Our Original plans were to go for Ventriloquist VII,7 on No.1 buttress. However after the delay with the snow gate and the slow walk in due to some deep powder in places, we didn't get climbing till 12pm. So rather than have a super long day we thought we'd get on the slightly easier Auricle VI,7. Ry had climbed this route before so he knew what the climbing was like and how good it was, so was happy to go for another round on it.

Myself heading into the Lochain.
Photo; Ryan Mchenry

Ry and Mike making there way to the bottom of the crag.

Mike starting to get his frost on.
Photo; Ryan Mchenry

Mike set off first up the first pitch which was probably about IV,4. This brings you to the bottom of the very obvious open book corner of Auricle. He set up his belay then brought Ry and myself up.

Myself starting up the 2nd pitch.
Photo; Ryan Mchenry

Photo; Ryan Mchenry

Photo; Ryan Mchenry

I then grabbed the kit from Mike and got involved with the short but pumpy corner. It starts of with these moves between chock stones. So gives it a very dry-tooling feel to it. Then you pull out left from a small cave and have a few thin moves to the next chock stone. The faces were covered in a nice frosting of hoar frost. Which made everything look pretty, but every time I would brush against the stuff it would blow back into my face. Blinding me and generally frosting my face up. A last wee squeeze through a small chimney brings you to a massive belay ledge.

Mike in the last squeeze bit of the 2nd pitch.

Photo; Ryan Mchenry

Ry took on the last pitch, again, as he climbed the last time he done the route. So we thought it'd be faster. The quicker we climb, the quicker we can go home! The pitch starts quite steeply from the belay, but every hook is massive. Again giving it a very fun sporty feeling to it. Then there's a slabby corner which brings you to a very awkward chimney squeeze. Made even more awkward with bags on. A few small steps brings you to the easy ground at the top. Then all that was left was the walk off down Fiacaill ridge. Which none of us had done before, and I think we built it up in our minds to be this mega Alpine ridge. Something like the Peautry Integral... Turned it wasn't.

Ry starting up the 3rd pitch.

Mega fun day out and was pleased with how we all climbed the thing fairly swiftly. Making it back to the car for 5. Cheers Boys for a fun day out.

Ry, Mike & myself at the top.

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