The day after my Cairngorm mission I was in need of a break from it all. So when I had a message on my phone from Francis asking if I wanted to go climbing I jumped at the chance. I had been very restrained all winter and just gone walking to make sure I was prepped for the WML assessment, so I was pretty psyched.

We walked in to Coire an Lochan, discussing what to do. It seemed that Francis was going rather well and, not wanting to hold him back, I agreed to having a go at ‘Ventricle’ which, at VII 8, would be my hardest winter route.

Francis starting our second pitch.

I led the first pitch which was well protected and desperately technical. Francis then led a long, sustained pitch up a corner and I had the ‘easy’ (still VI 7) finish up an off-width crack.

Second pitch.

It was a great route and just good fun to climb. Although it left me hungry for more, my assessment was coming up so it was back to walking for me. I’ve found the only way I can really get ready for these assessments is to get focussed and have no distractions.

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