For what seems forever will this thaw ever come to an end?
After waiting with excitement for the last couple of months for the guys to arrive, all seems to be falling apart... Wanting so much to show people how good Scottish winter climbing can be things are off to a slow wet start.

 

At the same time as the guys being here an international meet is being held up the road at the National Mountain Centre, Glenmore Lodge. Every night everyone is pinned to the latest weather forecast hoping by some miracle some cold weather is on the horizon... Yesterday didn't bring the weather we were expecting, so a day of bouldering was had instead down by the sea. (See the previous post)

Day3 : We decided to get as high possible and head west to Fort William and head up the 'BEN'... 
Leaving Aviemore at 6.am : Things weren't looking good, the windscreen wipers were on full blast trying to clear the rain away...

Climbing in Scotland you always try and stay optimistic and just keep going higher and higher hoping rain turns to snow.
Unfortunately everyone else on the international meet had the same idea and the usual scrum of people headed up the track in the rain and mist. 

God knows what these guys were thinking having probally spent the rest of the winter climbing under blue skies in Chamonix and the ice falls of Briançon... We arrived at the CIC hut already with wet knickers.
Huddling in the doorway we tried to hatch a plan, this we decided was just to carry on getting higher and higher.

                             "Where is Waldo? (About 10 people!...)"

Gearing up in the bottom of the corrie you couldnt see anything more than 10metres away, and as on any hill you are familiar with you just follow your nose, not beeing bothered to open your rucsac and dig out the map.

After a further 10mins a posie of people came into view all queing for the same route. We quickly looked around and fired the guys up any routes that looked climbable... God knows what everyone thought around us, all these french voices echoeing around in the mist.

We decided on the classic DARTH VADER which Martial and Yann soon got to grips with, the others doing some filming on GREMLINS and GARGOYLE WALL.
We topped out and wandered back down into the corrie wondering what the rest of the trip holds in store.

 
Text - Andy Turner
Photos - Tony Lamiche