“Sron na Lairige, on the Braeriach side of the Lairig Ghru, is a cliff largely visited by locals when an east facing cliff with middle grade routes is wanted,” Andy Nisbet writes. “The classic is Lairig Ridge, originally climbed in summer by Bill Brooker in 1950 and in winter by Greg Strange and Bob Ross in 1985. Without the urgency of competition, new routes have gradually worked rightwards and this year the right end of the cliff has seen some action.
The rightmost route was a buttress with its crest climbed by Polar Bear (IV,4). Seeing icy conditions from Lurchers Crag, but actually a day too late as it had started thawing (January 8), Sandy Allan and I climbed the corner between this buttress and an unclimbed one to the right. A picture on his blog caused a stir on UKC as it showed little snow but the base of the corner was hidden on the picture and climbed on ice at IV,4 – Goth’s Corner. The route names here have a gruesome theme, or should that be Ghru-some?
On a rather wild day at the end of the month (January 30), Sandy Allan, Dave McGimpsey and I went in to explore the buttress right of Goths’ Corner. A photo from across the valley showed a turfy corner, and it was certainly cold and snowy enough. This right-facing corner turned out to be easier than expected at Grade III (named Blood Brothers), so there was time to try a mean-looking roofed corner to the right. A thinly iced groove led to the roof which turned out to be an imposter, where a step left gained good turf. A final rib led to easy ground and the finish of Kowloon (IV,4). We had walked in with John Lyall and clients who amicably avoided competition by climbing two new routes on the next buttress right. And they were keen enough to climb a third the next day, but that’s John’s story!”