A beautiful day in the Southern Highlands
Yesterday was the second time I've soloed Taxus (III***) on Beinn an Dothaidh, and if anything it was even more enjoyable this time around.
Grateful to find a track of footsteps to follow into the corrie, I was slightly discourage to somehow lose sight of it half way there and to find the approach up beneath West Gully was through deep soft snow. I knew Taxus had been climbed a few days before, but you'd never have known anyone else had been up that slope leading to it. Was I going to find Taxus full of snow shifted about by the wind?
First light on the Grey Corries
Taxus is the steep gully just left of centre, leading up to the highest point in the photo.
I remained slightly doubtful until I sank my axes into the first ice pitch and found it in good shape. There was one large-ish hole in the ice but it made no difference really, and there was a good move to get over a bulge on the left of the hole.
A totally silent morning in the corrie.
Nearly at the base of the route.
Pretty much the whole first half of the route was on generally great neve with occasionally crusty patches, and it was a pleasure to be moving fast on ice again. The ice step in the middle of the route was quite a lot steeper than the last time I did the route and a bit thinner too, but I was soon over it and into the upper basin.
The easy upper basin of Taxus.
I love this part of Taxus, where the confined snow basin opens up onto a narrow ridge and the final steep slopes lead to the top, with Rannoch Moor spreading out around you.
I'd been climbing in a deserted corrie and didn't see a single other person all day. It looks to be turning into a great season.
Conditions on the mixed routes looked excellent too.