It’s been a while coming and at last I managed to get out in the sunshine for a route like many other folks have been enjoying recently.
Derek and I had a nice relaxed walk in the morning sunshine into Lochnagar. The corrie was looking a little more bare than i had expected after the recent thaws. Routes were still in and the snow for the most part was good.
Given that some routes we were contemplating were looking thin and my shoulder was a bit worse for wear we opted for Parallel Gully A (III **). The lower pitches had decent ice with some smaller ice patches higher up. The snow however was a little cruddy with hard layers in places along side powder covered in hard sugary snow.
I ran out the first pitch having been drawn towards the large ice bulge for a belay. Derek followed up and continued through the second pitch below the second difficulties.
The third pitch gave another run out section on snow of varying quality (especially on the traverse right to the penultimate belay stance).
Derek led the final pitch into the sunshine and avoiding the small cornice which was actually quite crumbly no matter where you topped out (cation advised for the larger cornices).
A great day in the sun with teams on Eagle Ridge and a pair that will remain nameless just now on a harder/new route too; i’m not sure what they did but i’m sure it wasn’t easy!