Bowel Explosion Pre-Climb (Photo: M.Rankine)
Heading out early saturday morning, we started the walk in to sneachda at 7am hoping to beat the crowds, which we kind of did. Getting to the bottom of the Message we were keen as we were first there, so began gearing up, but unfortunately the nights food had my stomach in uproar so i tended to the call of nature firing off some logs. By which time 2 people had passed us and got on route, so hoping our other route choices were free we ran along the bottom of the crag to Pateys Route. It was free, but did look suitably buried. Ah well, Onward! Mark climbed the first pitch which was maybe tech 4. to the first stance. From there i collected the gear and headed up to the crux pitch. What a crux. Clipping the insitu gear under the huge chockstone and trying not to completely destroy my powdery footholds i swung over the bulge. Bridging as far wide as i could i managed to get the tip of my front points smeared on either side of the gulley. Pullinh hard on my left axe i reached up high. But just as i swung with my right axe to get a placement, both my feet slipped simultaneoulsy...Fuck!
Heading up to the Chockstone Crux (Photo: M.Rankine)
Getting a tad scared, i managed to crawl my feet back up onto the wall and pull back up to get established above the chockstone. Gave so much to that pitch i was very relieved to reach the stance further up.
Once we had ticked this route we traversed the snow-choked gullies of Aladdin and headed to the toe of pygmy ridge. It was in beautiful nick, bit lacking in turf but quality route. Mark led up off the crux pitch as i had the crux of pateys, he did well climbing on sloping holds and spaced gear. Finishing the route was a pleasure as the technicality dropped but was still engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. Getting to the plateau we realsied we were an hour late for the bus already so ran down the hill via point 1141. We got down to only be told a group of walkers sharing the bus were late as well so we sat down to wait. 4hours later with no communication they text us saying they were on the plateau.
The next day on the basis of the shite forecast (70mph winds, white out and lots of powder) we went on a reindeer safari round the hills behind Glenmore lodge. Needless to say we saw no actuall reindeer, just some foot prints. But it was a pleasant 13km walk that is good for the logbook.
All the money i had left.....(Photo: M.Rankine)