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21 March 2010: Parallel A, Lochnagar Winter Route Winter 2009/2010

Last weekend, I saw that the corner of Parallel B was well iced.  It really caught my attention, but we were on skis that day.  I couldn't shift it from my head all week, and it wasn't helped by finding out that it had been climbed on the Saturday, and the grade wasn't as bad as I had been expecting.  However, a week of mostly thawing conditions wasn't ideal, and in particular, yesterday was very mild.  However, I knew it was going to freeze overnight, so it was worth going for a look if nothing else.

Sure enough, all of the soggy snow was solid, making the walk in easy.  However, it was quite apparent that there had been quite a loss of ice from the corner of Parallel B.  We went up to the bottom of it and decided against it.  It was always going to be reasonably serious, but there were several factors that combined to make the decision not to climb it easy: the ice didn't look thick enough for screws, the ice was detached from the rock in places that we could see, there was water running down behind it, it was making ominous cracking sounds and on top of that, the freezing level was set to rise as the day went on, and we couldn't guarantee to climb faster than it rose.  It'll wait.

So, immediately, we were going to have a more relaxed day, so toddled round to it's easier neighbour, Parallel A, and did that instead.  This was my 4th time up here (would have been 5th if Richard hadn't fallen off the poorly formed first pitch and broke his leg in 2007!).  The only real pause for thought was the traverse high up, as the snow was turning to the consistency of a Mr Whippy ice cream, so it was a bit unnerving, but apart from that, a very pleasant day out. 

Early morning plod up to the col.
Panorama of the corrie.
Parallel A is on the left, and the much skinnier than last week Parallel B is on the right.
Paul on the first pitch of Parallel A.
Paul on the first pitch.  Despite it being frozen, it sounded like a small waterfall behind it at a couple of points!
Paul at the first belay.
At the top of the ice on the second pitch.
Paul heading into the upper section of the gully.
Paul embarking on the scary traverse.
Paul a full rope length away just getting over the cornice.
Stag Do.
20 March 2010: Ben Avon Skiing Winter 2009/2010
14 March 2010: Coire Kander Skiing Winter 2009/2010
13 March 2010: Gully skiing on Lochnagar Skiing Winter 2009/2010
10 March 2010: The Pumpkin, Creag Meagaidh Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
07 March 2010: Eas Anie Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
06 March 2010: Beinn a'Ghlo Skiing Winter 2009/2010
03 March 2010: Piste skiing, Glenshee Skiing Winter 2009/2010
02 March 2010: Ben Macdui and Derry Cairngorm Skiing Winter 2009/2010
28 February 2010: Mayar Skiing Winter 2009/2010
27 February 2010: Morven (again) Skiing Winter 2009/2010
21 February 2010: Carn Bhac Skiing Winter 2009/2010
20 February 2010: Skiing on Carn an t-Sagairt Mor and Lochnagar Skiing Winter 2009/2010
14 February 2010: Red Gully, Coire an t-Sneachda Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
13 February 2010: Ping Pong, Meall Garbh Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
06 February 2010: Scafell Pike, via Window Gully, Great End Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
30 January 2010: The Plaid, Cnapan Nathraichean Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
23 January 2010: Ritchie's Gully, Creag Meagaidh Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
17 January 2010: Morven Skiing Winter 2009/2010
09 January 2010: Culardoch Skiing Winter 2009/2010
03 January 2010: Morrone ski tour Skiing Winter 2009/2010
01 January 2010: New Year, 2010 Walk Winter 2009/2010
29 December 2009: Trysil, Norway Skiing Winter 2009/2010
13 December 2009: South-East Gully, Garbh Coire, Beinn a'Bhuird Winter Route Winter 2009/2010
12 December 2009: Loch Lee Walk Winter 2009/2010
29 November 2009: Beinn Dearg Walk Winter 2009/2010
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