It has been a few years since we winter climbed in Scotland, mostly due to injuries and conditions. This year we decided we wanted to get back into it, but unfortunately conditions were making it difficult.

The option with the safest approach seems to be the Mess of Pottage at Coire an t-Sneachda in the Cairngorms. We decided to climb hidden chimney again as a suitable re-introduction to Scottish winter, unfortunately so did a large number of other people.

The walk in was surprisingly easy given how much snow was on the ground, and by the time we had arrived in the coire the cloud had lifted and showed us an excellent view of the crag, and the army of climbers in front of us.

Thankfully not many teams had already approached Hidden Chimney. We started the route behind out friends James and Jon and had a very enjoyable climb. It wasn’t too cold and the conditions on the climb were excellent, and very different to last time we climbed the route.

There was some very poor crag etiquette going on with a team climbing over us and the team in front of us as they were moving slower than they would have liked. If time was so important they should have climbed one of the other lines to get to the top!

As we topped out we were treated to fantastic views of the Cairngorms and surprisingly no wind. We also bumped into Katherine and Nick who had climbed Fiacaill ridge.

After enjoying the views and packing up our kit we started the easy walk back down to the ski center.

Walking into Coire an t-Sneachda in the morning
Plenty of snow on the walk into Coire an t-Sneachda
Approaching the misty crag
Starting to clear as we arrived in Coire an t-Sneachda
Stunning view back towards Loch Morlich
Becky on the first pitch of Hidden Chimney
Jon leading the second pitch
Becky on the first pitch
Becky enjoying the harder climbing on the second pitch
Becky after the difficulties on the final pitch
Group photo at the top
Amazing views after we topped out
Becky at the top of Hidden Chimney
Summit selfie
Great views on the walk to Pt 1141
Looking into the wilderness
Looking back towards Coire an t-Sneachda
Descending towards the ski center
Total distance: 9.15 km
Max elevation: 1074 m
Min elevation: 544 m
Total climbing: 1278 m
Total descent: -1326 m