Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Cairngorm Lonelies

By Pete Rhodes | 14, Jan, 2011

Topping out after a great time on The Message

Before xmas I walked in to Corie an t’Sneachda to try and rope solo a route. It was raining and whiteout then and by the time I got to the base of The Message my head was elsewhere and I was fried. Cairngorm 1 – Pete 0.

Flash forward to Sunday just gone and I was an aching heap of flu curled in bed for most of the day with the couch as progress for a few hours. Sucky. Agressive Virus 1 – Pete 0.

However fresher on Monday and a good forecast for Tuesday meant that I was on my way to Aviemore at 7am on Tues morning. After a leisurely boot lacing and loo stop I walked out the car park just after 10. White out again but the headphones were blaring and confidence was a little higher. Back at the base of The Message, a route chosen for its lower grading and notoriously good gear, there was no reason not to tie in and find out. The whiteout in the corie making it all feel jolly lonely but generally calm.

Looking up at Pitch 1

My Winter belayer

Looking down from the crux

On the Crux!

No move by move here, I’m sleepy. The first pitch is easy. The belays for soloing are mediocre at best. The second pitch is non-stop fun with good gear where it matters and great holds on a surprisingly steep crux. The final snow ramp as the clouds cleared was fantastic. Abseiling back down it on a buried axe was less fantastic but required.

Hard to write down quite how much I enjoyed the time on the route. It got heady for a couple of brief sections but thats why we play right. As to why I wanted to sign off mildly arrogantly but with the cover of someones else’s words. When Scott Backes was asked ‘why?’ in his younger years he simply said ‘because others can’t.’ Unjustifiable perhaps, but concise.

  • Google+

In pictures

  winter climbing

No Comments

Share your thoughts about this article.

Related Deeds

Jollies in the Dollies
Ice climbing wizardry in the Dolomites
In Daring Deeds
Hard graft & blunt picks
Scottish winter climbing
In Daring Deeds
0Hiro vs Scottish Winter
Jack takes the sample out to the Cairngorms for testing
In Daring Deeds
Scottish Winter and a bit of tooling!
taking time off from competitions
In Daring Deeds


Winter Getaway choice
A selection of wintery goodies
In News



Crazy arctic nights and pulling on the trail tights
Introducing new customer service hero, Dave
In Spotlight
Catch Nature off Guard
Travel Quieter, Lighter and further, and stay out longer
In Spotlight
Scottish Suffering
Customer Support Hero, Fran’s favourite kit for Scottish winter climbing.
In Spotlight
Roca Winter Climbing Ropes
A look at the options for winter climbers in the Roca range
In Spotlight
Your companion in adventure
Filo the go anywhere down jacket
In Spotlight


Tau Makes Top 6

Explore Alpkit

adventure racing
adventure travel
alpine climbing
big shakeout
big wall climbing
bike packing
bike touring
cross country skiing
cycle touring
deep water soloing
dry tooling
duke of edinburgh
endurance racing
fat bikes
fat biking
fell running
film making
hill walking
ice climbing
micro adventure
mountain biking
munro round
night running
open water
open water swimming
outdoor photography