This morning I met up with some friends from the Avon Mountaineering club and headed up to Liathach to climb the classic Poacher’s Fall. Due to the weather improving in the afternoon we decided to have a lie in and meet at the car park at 6 and accept the fact that we would be queueing.
There were some showers first thing in the morning but they soon cleared and the cloud started to lift above the tops. We had a very atmospheric, but hard going walk in with plenty of wet snow low down and unconsolidated snow in the coire. Once we arrived in the coire we were pleased to see only one other team heading up to Poacher’s, which meant that we wouldn’t be queueing too much.
The ice on the route was fantastic, with first time placements all the way up the route, ice doesn’t get much better. On the first pitch some of the ice was a bit cruddy so protection was a bit limited. Due to having 60m ropes we ended up climbing all of the difficulties on the route in 2 pitches.
The first pitch was fairly straight forwards, with only a few steep sections. However while seconding and half way through one of the steep sections there was some of the worst spindrift I have ever encountered. All I could do was look down for what felt like an eternity while my calfs were getting more and more achey.
The second pitch was one of the best pitches of climbing I have done in Scotland with a number of steep sustained sections which were just fantastic and all slightly different, it was a sterling lead by Alex. We quickly made it to the top of the route to be treated by a fantastic view. We headed up the ridge to summit Spiderean Choire Leith before heading down to the col and making a b-line down to the road, the descent was very quick down soft snow and we lost height very quicky.