Monday, 15 September 2014

Creag a'choire Etchachan

Once again the weather has been torturing the pen pushers of Scotland this week with seemingly un-broken spells of midweek sunshine. Thankfully Saturday adhered to wishful thinking and the high pressure remained dominant.

Jim checking the route on a water streaked Creag a'choire Etchachan 

The plan was to head to one of the most inaccessible mountain crags in the Cairngorms, Creag a'choire Etchachan (yeah!  I know! A total mouthful, but translates roughly as ‘Crag of the Corrie of the Juniper’). This isolated kilometre long bastion of granite is located deep in the central massif at the head of Glen Derry and is over 7km from the nearest road end. Being east facing it takes a while to dry out and is consequently more renowned for its superb ice routes in the winter months. However, the rock is of such impeccable quality that it's also a fantastic summer venue hosting many worthwhile routes such as the classic route tick Talisman (HS 4c).

Will seconding the fantastically exposed second pitch of Scabbard (VS 4c)

The Crimson slabs dominate the right hand sector and provide over 100m of vertical climbing from VS standard to E3. The first route we opted for Scabbard (VS 4c), climbs the arĂȘte that bounds the right hand side of the slabs in 4 superb pitches.

Will leading the main corner of Dagger (VS 4c)

The Impressive second pitch of Dagger (VS 4c)

After that we had a go at Dagger (VS 4c) which climbs the water worn corner below Scabbard. The confusing and bold first pitch is soon compensated for by the outstanding second pitch corner which is pretty tough for VS!

Some campers setting up for a still night on the shores of Loch Etchachan

It's an amazing venue and it's defiantly worth the walk in! Something to note is we’ve had an incredibly dry summer in the Cairngorms this year, yet both routes were wet in places and the slabs were streaked with water. Defiantly one for a hot sunny day!

Hunting for bilberries in Loch 'Arn still a long way from the car! 

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