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Ice Climbs Created along the A9

Posted on Friday, 15 January 2010 05:03AM by BBC News, Highlands & Islands Dan goodwin
Ice climbers have been finding previously unavailable low-level climbs on rock faces and a road cutting along a trunk road in the Highlands.

The Slochd, near Inverness, and the cutting which is illuminated by lights at Aviemore are among the sites being tackled on the A9.

Mountaineer Dan Goodwin said sustained freezing temperatures had created "unique conditions" for ice climbers.

But heavy snow has made traditional routes in the Cairngorms hard to reach.

Mr Goodwin said: "Climbing in the Cairngorms has been a write-off because it has been swamped by snow."

He added: "We have seen some of the low-level climbs in the past, but very briefly. The Steall waterfall in Glen Nevis is frozen enough for climbing for the first time in about eight years.

Low-level climbs include this one at Kishorn

"The sustained freezing conditions has frozen water from drainage ditches at The Slochd, while the road cutting at Aviemore can be reached by walking up through the town."

The cutting, which is lit up after dark, is set away from the A9.

Mr Goodwin has been reporting on Scottish winter conditions on the website UKClimbing.com.

Ice climbers and walkers have been urged to take sensible precautions parking cars at climbing sites and, when heading for the mountains, to first check forecasts from the Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS).

Members of the SAIS reported six separate avalanches in the Northern Cairngorms on Sunday.

Veteran mountain rescue team member David "Heavy" Whalley said he has never seen so much snow fall in Scotland's hills.

He said: "The hills are fairly hard going with very deep snow in places, but wonderful all the same."

The retired RAF team leader added: "I was climbing a few feet above sea-level at Kishorn on an ice fall yesterday - magnificent."