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29 March 2008: Western Slant, Lochnagar Winter Route Winter 2007/2008
Yes I know, Lochnagar again! With a front due from the SW late afternoon and Richard staying at Allt Na G with friends, it was an obvious choice. The walk in was hard going compared to 'normal' due to the blustery wind and unconsolidated snow. Once into the corrie, the shelter we had hoped for was anything but, and it felt very arctic as we made our way to the mountain rescue box. Last time Richard was here in winter, he left in a helicopter, so we were not up for a repeat of that day!


Out original plan was Backdoor Route, but we decided against it due to the approach slopes. A basic avalanche test on a block failed very easily about 30cm down. That block then separated itself while sliding, with a layer at 10cm also. We decided that heading towards Raeburns was a bad plan, so we sprinted between boulders to the bottom of Western Slant on West Buttress, a Grade III that skirts the right hand side of Black Spout Buttress. This gave us 5 full pitches, followed by a 10m scramble to the top. The front hit as Richard was seconding the fourth pitch, and he then led on up the last full pitch in quite rough conditions. It was like someone was pointing a very large snow cannon up the cliff, and made things a little on the difficult side!

Once we got ourselves over the top and ready to move, it was a complete whiteout. It's not often we have to resort to map and compass, but it was blowing a hoolie, and we couldn't see where we were putting our feet. We navigated to Cac Carn Mor without falling into Black Spout or Crumbling Crannie which was a relief, and we decided that it was not worth taking a chance on dodging the various gullies that cut into the cliff, so it was plan B: down by Glas Allt Sheil. This has always been a back up plan if conditions were such that we were concerned about stepping off a cornice (there's no cliffs to fall off, but it's a longer way back to the car), and it's worth pointing out that it is the first time either of us have ever made the decision to do this, so it gives you an indication of how rough it was. Once a bit lower, the wind eased a bit, and the snow eventually turned to rain, so we eventually arrived back at the car a bit more tired than planned and a little on the damp side, but quite happy to have had a 'full' day out (with no incidents!).

I dont have any software for stitching images together, but it gives you an indication of the cover in both corries.
Richard at the bottom of the route.  Above, there is a choice of 3 chimneys (you can just see the start of the 3rd one), and predictably I chose the rightmost and easiest looking one.  It was also the widest - I didnt fancy getting wedged in either of the other two!
Richard setting off on the second pitch.
Richard checking out the way to go from the belay at the top of the third pitch.
You can tell that conditions were deteriorating here at the belay at the top of the 4th pitch.
Richard just below the top at the last point that there was anything to take a picture of!  Conditions were becoming a bit on the challenging side.
16 March 2008: Turf Route on Shadow B, Lochnagar Winter Route Winter 2007/2008
15 March 2008: Ben Macdhui Skiing Winter 2007/2008
09 March 2008: Black Spout, Lochnagar Walk Winter 2007/2008
02 March 2008: South-East Buttress, Creag an Dubh Loch Winter Route Winter 2007/2008
24 February 2008: Stob Poite Coire Ardair Walk Winter 2007/2008
17 February 2008: Ben Macdhui Skiing Winter 2007/2008
16 February 2008: Bheinn a Bhuird Skiing Winter 2007/2008
05 February 2008: Trois Vallees, France Skiing Winter 2007/2008
20 January 2008: Morven & Glenshee Skiing Winter 2007/2008
12 January 2008: Skiing, Lawers Range Skiing Winter 2007/2008
06 January 2008: Skiing at Glenshee (again) Skiing Winter 2007/2008
05 January 2008: Skiing at Glenshee Skiing Winter 2007/2008
30 December 2007: Jacob's Slabs, Lochnagar Winter Route Winter 2007/2008
23 December 2007: Lochnagar via Black Spout Walk Winter 2007/2008
02 December 2007: Lochnagar Walk Winter 2007/2008
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