Thursday, 24 May 2012

Curved Ridge and Tarmachan Bivi

This week has been a tiring week at work with a few late evenings. Subsequently, I have been really lazy with the photos this week (and the blog update for that matter). Hopefully this laziness won't become a trend. Ha, who am I kidding!

Met up with James on Saturday morning and had a leisurely cup of tea at the Kinghouse Hotel. "Yes, that is all we were getting Mrs. Hotel Lady, but don't worry we'll be back for another cup later." The near on 20 hours of sunlight we are getting now meant we were in no rush to hit our objective for the day: Curved Ridge.

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the great herdsman of Etive

With flights to Genève booked and big plans for a week in Chamonix, some desperate skills and fitness training has been programmed on mu part. The last few weeks of sofa and biscuit filled evenings is not conducive to the alpine 'fast and light' mantra. So, the general plan was: lets practice moving together on easy ground and descending ridges.

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Alpine tactics

The pictures tell the story really, but it was a successful day with an aborted attempt on Agag's Groove in big boots. We rescued a guys rope, but to be quite honest the first pitch had me wishing for rock shoes.

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Lets come back another day

Talking of shoes...I stupidly tried on James' Scarpa Charmoz and found them too comfy not to immediately buy a pair. Why does everything have to be so shiny??

Not wanting to stop whilst on a roll and having not achieved my goal of winter bivi, I was determined to spend the night out under the stars. Plus, having left Inverness heading for Perth and with new boots and rope on the horizon, a hostel wasn't an option.

With a cracking suggestion from James I went to Loch Tay and kipped halfway up towards Tarmachan Ridge. Apart from having the b'jesus scared out of me by a passing grouse, I had a pretty good nights sleep. Awake in time to see the sun rising and listening to the bird songs (which in the morning silence sounded like Daft Punk!) I was on the route by 6am.

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Bed for the night
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Digital Love

The 'awkward down climb' which I thought would be a walk in the park turned out to be near deadly due to being covered entirely in verglass. After 10 mins of pondering my options I launched my bag down the rocks and hoped for the best. Armed with a walking pole and my fell shoes I somehow got down without slipping and bouncing my way down. 

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Exposure....blink and you'll miss it
After that it was all just a bit of walking in the mist until the return path home. Pretty pleased with an extra bit of hill mileage carrying bivi kit, all done by 10am! Plus, didn't see another soul until back at the car park watching several groups just starting. Ace. 

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