On Saturday afternoon we headed up in Argie for an overnight at Coire Ardair car-park. The SAIS forecast was a complete green circle. Sunday was as good as we could have hoped for.
On Saturday I had a sortie into the Winter Coire of Dreish in Glen Clova. I was with Scott B of the OMC, and we were both keen to get a route done together before partnering each other on the Club's annual CIC Hut meet in March.
It was quite mild and misty in the coire, with no wind. We decided to do the straightforward Central Gully (II).
It was good to get back into some winter action, and even better to get the most benign conditions for climbing. The snowpack was damp, and where there was ice it was quite chewy. Uncovered turf was frozen. It seemed almost decadently comfortable eating chocolate on belay with exposed fingers, and picnicking at the top of the climb!
Although the route is not too challenging, I also got the chance to give the "new" Quarks a test run. They performed better than I'd imagined on the easy ground, and as well as I'd hoped on the few steeper sections.
A pair of Skytech Argon gloves also got a test-run. They're work gloves designed for low temperatures, and are a fraction of the price of technical gloves (approx £5 per pair). They seemed to do admirably, but as mentioned the conditions were very friendly. Judgement is reserved until a sterner test.
While I was climbing, Mhairi had a wander up to the scenic woodland at Bachnagairn, where we'd seen golden eagles circling over Juanjorge on a previous visit. The wood was filled with deep snow and made for hard going.
Overall we had a pleasant weekend at the old Carn Dearg MC hut at Braedownie. We'd assumed it would be a final farewell to the old place, but perhaps not- there seem to be serious issues delaying the completion of the new hut.
The only negative note was that I managed to bump the car on the way out slithering on the snow-covered road on Sunday. That'll teach me not to fit new tyres!
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