International Winter Meet Day 1

Luca Celano and Carl Nystedt from Sweden climbing Pot of Gold (V,6) in Coire an t-Sneachda. This route proved very popular on the first day of the meet with three ascents. (Photo Marc Langley)

After twelve months of planning, the 2020 International Winter Meet finally got underway last night when 55 climbers from 23 countries met at Aviemore Youth Hostel. After a slow start to the winter, the February storms have magically transformed the Scottish mountains into a veritable winter climbing playground with ice forming all over the Highlands. The psyche was high as teams dispersed to Mill Cottage, Lagangarbh, Raeburn and the CIC Hut early on Sunday morning (February 23) before hitting the cliffs.

The first pair down was Nicolas Dieu and Michael Poulsen from Denmark who climbed the classic Pot of Gold (V,6) in Coire an t-Sneachda. Other routes climbed in the corrie included Fingers Ridge, Fluted Ridge Direct, Doctor’s Choice, The Lamp, Vortex, Original Summer Route, Yukon Jack, The Slant Direct and Aladdin’s Mirror Direct. Jamie Skelton and Damian Granowski from Poland had an impressive day with No Blue Skies, The Message and Pot of Gold.

A couple of pairs ventured north to Torridon and found excellent conditions on Beinn Eighe. On the Far East Wall, Neil Adams and Peter Hoang (Canada) made an ascent of the modern classic Sundance (VIII,8) and on the Eastern Ramparts, Callum Johnson and Lukas Klingora (Czech Republic) came away with the fourth ascent of Boggle (VIII,8). In Glen Coe, Paul Ramsden and Wadim Jablonski (Poland) climbed the superlative Central Grooves (VII,7) on Stob Coire nan Lochan.

On Ben Nevis, the thaw on Friday saturated the snowpack, which has now frozen hard bringing many routes into condition. Ascents were made of Waterfall Gully, The Curtain, 1931 Route, Italian Climb, Route 2/Route 1 Combination and Orion Direct. Dave Almond and Trym Saeland (Norway) climbed Darth Vader (VII,7) and Rich Bentley and Seokju Woo (South Korea) made an ascent of Tower Face of The Comb (VI,6)

The 2020 International Winter Meet – Streap Alba Geamhradh – is hosted by Mountaineering Scotland and supported by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, The Alpine Club, British Mountaineering Council and Salewa.

About Simon Richardson

Simon Richardson is a passionate Scottish winter climber
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