Blackrock Cottage Jan 2023

The iconic Black Rock Cottage in Glen Coe was the base once again  for this popular oversubscribed meet which saw - in no order of importance - Cameron, Flo, Hana, Mhairi, Fraser, Mia, Baptiste, Vicky and her guest Evi, James, Michael H and me Jules, all meet up for some ice climbing, cycling/Munro Bagging, or in Fraser’s case  just pottering about,


Flo and Cameron got up at daft-o-clock on Saturday morning and headed off to the West face of Aonach Mor looking for some ice action.

Vicky and her Polish friend Evi had brought their mountain bikes, and decided to head up to the Glenfinnan Viaduct and cycle down to a bothy at the end of the glen, then do the Corryhully Horseshoe, taking in the two Munros Sgurr nan Coireachan and Sgurr Thuilm,

Meanwhile, the larger group of Baptiste, James and Mia and Hana, Michael and Mhairi, were also keen to swing their ice axes, so went to Stob Coire nan Lochan with the long energy sapping slog up Coire nan Lochan to the honeypot climb of Dorsal Arete – and yes it was busy. I tagged along but didn’t climb because I was a numpty and had forgotten my B3 boots. Instead I walked to the top, via the exit rout to the right of the mountain, then returned to wait for first party lead by Hana topping out. But before this, I counted at least three separate climbing parties of three, and one twatty young guy who soled it three or four times in the time that I was waiting – which was about two hours.

By the time Hana, Mhairi and Michael had topped out, I decided to head down as I was quite cold by then. I did see Baptiste on the final section, but by this time it was 5pm and I wanted to get down before it got too dark.

Meanwhile Cameron and Flo had a surprisingly crowd-free day on Aonach Mor and unlike Stob Coire nan Lochan, the sky was blue for much of the day. The daring duo climbed Daim Buttress III moving solo over the lower 200m, pitching the really fun mixed middle section and soloing the final top section.

Cameron, definitely not following the line of least resistance, battled up a great pitch which Flo said was fun to follow. Flo then lead the next section, which she described as a pitch loosely shaped like a chimney, which finished on some easier ground.

Flo added: “Even at this height the lower section of the buttress were not truly frozen, which called for some careful ice axe placement, turning what should have been a flying romp into something with far more serious moves.”

The two Doral Arete groups didn’t get back to Blackrock until 7.30pm. Cameron and Flo had been there for a couple of hours by then, with Cameron sitting next to an open fire when we arrived, bottled beer in hand. Vicky and Evi were also there as well as Fraser who had done a low level walk ending up at the Kings House.

Flo, James, and Mhairi headed back home Saturday night and the rest of us the rest of us sat about drinking and chatting as you do, drifting off to bed before midnight.

The weather on Sunday was pants, so with everyone in clean-up mode, the hut was vacated before noon.

Hana, Michael, Baptiste and me (Jules) headed to Fort Bill for a mooch, a coffee and a cake before heading home. I assume the rest of the group just headed home