Rich and I made the most of a decent weather window on Saturday and headed into Stob Coire Nan Lochan in Glencoe where we climbed Central Grooves, VII 7.
The weather forecast on Friday was for some serious wind but with heavy snow showers and a freezing level of 750m, followed by a calmer period coming in early on Saturday morning. Sunday looked like it was going to be wild, wet and warm. For once the forecast turned out to be spot on!
It was still wild and chucking it down when we woke on Saturday morning, but the temperature gauge in the car was reading 2 degrees in Kinlochleven and we had (some mild) faith in the forecast. When we arrived in the carpark the weather was grim and a few folk were already there sitting it out. We cracked on and shamed them all into following. Although we did have to break trail through some quite deep snow, we got first pick of the routes 🙂
Opting for Central Grooves, a four star, VII 7 mixed line which the guidebook says is one of the very best winter routes in Scotland, we weren’t disappointed. As Rich was still recovering from 2 broken fingers, sustained in a cyclo-cross race, he offered me the sharp end for the first 3 tricky pitches. I gratefully accepted. The route looked to be in excellent condition (as did the other steep routes in the corrie) and it was with excellent turf, helpful ice and generally good pro apart from a pokey section at the beginning of pitch 3. Amazing, varied, steep and technical climbing with it’s fair share of hero hooks made for a totally memorable day out!
Rich lead us out up the final pitch of less technical ground and after some victory cheese, we descended Broad Gully (which was in good nick) back to the bags. Central Grooves really lived up to the hype and I have to say it’s one of the best mixed climbs I have done. It was nice to have such great conditions as well, being pretty much calm and dry for the full duration of the climb!
Other teams were out on Dorsal Arete, Tilt, Crest Route and Forked Gully.
We headed back to base via beer, chips and a weather check in the Clachaig Inn. Unfortunately the forecast for Sunday had not changed and when we left Glencoe on Sunday lunchtime, it was 10 degrees, windy and wetter than I’ve ever seen it (which is saying something)! Hopefully the forecasted snow and cooler weather over the next few days will help to bring things back into shape and we can get out again soon.
Be sure to check the weather and avalanche forecasts before you venture out: