Aonach Dubh East face

After 5 days of beasting ourselves with two-hour walk-ins and feasting on Extreme and Hard Rock ticks, something had to give for the final day of our Scottish Odyssey if we were going to be home before midnight. Common sense prevailed and we settled for some “gentle cragging” as a wind-down. Or at least as gentle as it gets in Glencoe – still 40mins to the Lower Walls, and our primary objective of Lady Jane, E2 5b.

This climbs steep ground on excellent square-cut holds between a couple of seep-lines. Mercifully dry on the day, so we could fully appreciate the great climbing, and with a situ lower-off at the top of 25m of intense climbing. Paul did the hard work of putting the gear in, and I finally managed to persuade him into a colourful t-shirt to make the most of the photogenic surroundings.

He was kind enough to leave the gear in so Andy and I could also savour the lead without the faff or angst!

Andy took over the gear-placing duties on Sir Chancalot, which takes a parallel line a little further right at E1/2 – quite taxing enough in the searing heat.

We’d hoped that by this point the plumb line (and Extreme Rock tick) of Freak-out would be heading into the shade, but for future reference that doesn’t happen until around 3pm in July, and there was no way we were jumping on an E4 in the blazing sun. That left an amble up Spider, a highly recommended HVS, as our warm-down before a final paddle in the Coe and the long drive south.

Stupendous week of some of the finest mountain routes in Scotland – completely undermining the “received wisdom” that you can’t climb here in the summer for fear of the midges. Apart from a hellish hour at dawn at our Shelter Stone bivvy, we were barely bothered (and that was no worse than an evening at Burbage!) Great trip, great weather, great routes and great company – thanks Paul and Andy and who needs the Alps?

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