Honeypot, Cairngorms

With the forecast not favourable for the east or the west myself and Max headed over east to battle with the high winds rather than stay on the west coast with the heavy snow.  And so we arrived to find the road up to the ski car park closed and ‘not opening for an hour’.  So with nothing else planned for the day we waited to see and luckily it was only half and hour.
From the car park we walked in with a few other parties into Coire an t-Sneachda and the wind began to build from heavy gusts to almost constant battering, i’m glad we had our backs to it.  It was quite a sight standing in the corie watching the wind blow the snow vertically up the crags in big gusts.  We headed for Mess a Pottage crag as that we more ‘sheltered’ from the full force of the wind.

Mess a Pottage

We decided to head for a route called Honeypot (IV,6) which I had tried with Jo last season but had to back off the crux a few moves from the finish.  So with a score to settle we geared up at the base with another team at the base of the Message (IV,6).

Max headed up the first pitch which was a stiff start with the lack of snow on the rock but made good work of if and carried on round the corner.  For the second pitch Max lead off again, firstly up an enjoyable open corner and then up a tighter and steeper corner but with good hooks to the belay.  I made my way up and swapped gear and jackets.

Second pitch

I then headed up the slabby, open right-facing corner crack.  I thought I had a good hook but it actually turned out to be a torque (twisting the head of the axe to push against opposing rock walls to gain grip) with my axe, my foot slipped and so did my axe and down I went about 2 feet with my axe catching further down the crack on a nut that I had just placed a few moments before my feet would have touched the snow ledge.

So, finding the actual hook I made my way up again to under the roof and the start of the right wall crux.  With a few bits of gear placed and peg clipped I started my way up the off-balance wall still half blind with the wind, which was buffeting me around a bit.  I then reached the point I had got to last season and looked for the hook that I need and with a bit of grunting, pushing and helped by the wind I made my way up.  Done!  But not quite.  The wind pushed me up the final 10 meters to the summit plateaux where I had to resort to crawling to the belay.

Me belaying Max (and taking a photo)

So sat in the snow with the wind moving me around (even though I was sat down) and with ice being pelted in my face I started to belay max up.  It was then a simple case of throwing the ropes in the bags and staggering off back into the corie, which was more effort than we wanted with having to walk into the wind.

My windest day out climbing and a very intence day but wholy rewarding for the route climbed.

It's a bit windy

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