On sunday my friend Kevin came up from Dumfries keen to get out for his first few routes of the season, and like many of lifes best experiences the trip started with beer!
James was also keen to get out, so at 4:30am the trio assembled with the Northern Corries in our sights.
7am at the Cairngorn car park.
The visibility was pretty bad but we managed to take the right path and arrived in good time at the foot of Aladdin's Buttress.
We headed towards the right edge of the buttress as it boasted "Goat Track Gully" and "Red Chimney" two starred routes that had caught our eye. We were very aware that on a weekend in one of the most accessible winter crags we would have to be fast and ready to switch up if the route we wanted to climb already had a team on it. We managed to get there ahead of the crowds and decided to shoot up Goat Track then try for Red Gully if it was free on the descent. Soon after we were joined by two other teams!
Here is James on the belay.
Kevin lead the first pitch enjoying his first taste of ice, rock and turf of the season.
The crux involved a short steep wall with good hooks.
The route brought out many different emotions, here is James advocating peace and Kevin during war cry.
After nipping down the Goat Track we found that Red Gully had a team on it already, so we rushed across to The Runnel and luckily found it empty. Kevin and James took this one on alternate leads, Kevin taking the left hand variation of the top pitch.
Although we reached the climb first it was a busy route with three teams climbing at once.
Here are all three variations of the top pitch, Kevin is just visible on the left.
And then we have the classic victory shot!
After a lack of navigation on my part and a few unplanned detours... we arrived back at the car victorious.