The Polldubh Club

Author Topic: Hadrians Wall  (Read 2886 times)


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Hadrians Wall
« on: 20 March 2016, 21:01 »
"So what time is early"? I asked tongue in cheek. There was a short silence and a chuckle before 3am was suggested, 2.30am it was then!

Myself and Tony left the top car park around 3.15am under a clear starry sky. It always feels exciting walking the Allt a Mhuilin path in the middle of the night, made all the better by the leisurely pace and chatter that takes place when haste is of no priority. I put forward Hadrians wall direct, a route high on my tick list. Although having done the route at least twice before and would be familiar ground, Tony accepted like a mentor putting an apprentices aspirations before his own. I sometimes feel guilty about it, but it never lasts long!

Bullet hard, old snow ice was reached shortly after the C.I.C hut where we geared up and were caught by a team of three racing snakes who inevitably had the same route choice in mind. Second on the route was a far more appealing option than a race up observatory gully ... as if we were any competition!! You can imagine the dissapointment of the third party reaching the base of the route before sunrise to be third in line.

I was eager to take on the first pitch, my third grade V, prior to witnessing the lead climber ahead placing only two screws in a 60 metre pitch. With excitement turning to nerves thankfully Tony was placing screws on my harness before i could bottle it. The pitch was brilliant fun and nowhere too difficult helped largely by secure axe placements with solid feet. With ice-screws placed more for the mind than anything else i reached the first belay of exposed rock realising i had been in complete focus for the full length of the pitch.

The outlook above the cloud inversion being spectacular, Tony lead the next chimney pitch. Fifteen metres of it consisting of steep soggy snow, with careful selection of tool placement required I was very grateful for the rope above for comfort. Three easier pitches on stepped out grade two terrain followed before Tony lead the final pitch. By belaying from a spike on the right hand side, a fifty metre pitch can be taken to a solid belay just below the exit. This did it justice as the climbing was superb on steep fat ice for the first half followed by thinner ice built on a rock slab for the top half. A perfect pitch, I grinned the whole way up climbing slowly to spoil myself.

We lethargically descended the summit, presenting stunning views in all directions below a cloudless sky, above a cloud inversion. A short abseil from a pre-cut snow bollard into number four gully avoided the initially steep cornice and large crack line. We witnessed around twelve climbing parties on the hill all day so were surprised by the overflowing North Face car park on our return. Probably folk bringing a close to a short winter season.

Time to dust off the rock shoes.



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Re: Hadrians Wall
« Reply #1 on: 21 March 2016, 10:34 »
Sounds amazing!

geoff h

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  • Lead wint. III/IV; Lead HS/VS sum. (second 5a+)
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Re: Hadrians Wall
« Reply #2 on: 21 March 2016, 10:58 »
Wow - any pics?


John Workman

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Re: Hadrians Wall
« Reply #3 on: 21 March 2016, 12:27 »
Well done guys.

Happy days eh.