We knew it would be cold, forecast 7c at 900m, and it was North facing, but at least it would be out of the wind, and maybe, maybe, it would be dry after this spell of decent weather? Aye, right! The first pitch was dripping, and at only Mod, Kerry still congratulated me on a good lead! We looked up, and the steeper rock did look drier - Oh the optimism of the climber when neither of you want to be the one to sack it.
There was a party behind us now, and thankfully they were really decent chaps, happy to wait while Kerry concentrated on her first Severe lead, in the wet, in the cold. She soon got in the swing, and stitched the pitch right up, relieved as she was to get to the excellent belay. I apparently made the seconding look easy, but it didn't feel like it, and my hands and feet were numb, adding to the level of discomfort. Note to self: Put your bloody belay jacket on!
I led off the third pitch, and it was a proper thrutch, made problematic by the fact I had elected to climb with sacks. I didn't want to descend the horrible loose path after abbing off, and always prefer a full route to the summit as it were anyway. I am not sure Kerry concurred as she huffed and puffed to join me at what we now know was an intermediate belay. It was a spacious and well-equipped ledge, so I took it. That meant Kerry had to finish the last 5 or so metres, once again up a difficult thrutch. Whoops, sorry. Once over this, you climb the sort of arete for a short while before getting to the belay proper, and the ab station if you don't elect to do the final, loose and chossy pitch.
I led this, which you have to tread carefully for the loose and slimy rock, including an off-balance move up a short wall that was interesting. Then it was just a case of a nice final belay to bring Kerry up, and a celebratory sandwich.
We were back at the car park for a mocha by 15:30, pleased to have got a route in less than optimal conditions, and pleased that even in the wet, we climbed it safely and calmly, despite our initial reservations. It must be a great route in the dry and warm!
Now off to Torridon this evening for work, Beinn Alligin, Beinn Eighe, Liathach and An Teallach. Fingers crossed for the weather.