9th July 2015
Carn Gowla – America Buttress
Deceleration Lane – VS 4c – Alt Lead
The fact that Dave and I had arranged to meet at 6 pm should have rung a few alarm bells, especially on a trip to Carn Gowla. A route we’d not done; had no idea where the ab spot was or how difficult it was. Only two entries in UKC and both of them a while back.
Still, it was Dave who found the ab point. Left to me we would have been into some serious E stuff and probably prussiking out. And the ab was long too! Very scary, especially when it is into the unknown and only one way out. On the descent I noticed that the route was abit run out but it looked good climbing. Mind you the white blocks at the bottom and the green shit seeping out of the rocks made the first few metres a bit unpleasant.
Dave conceded the lead of the first pitch to me (many thanks) and it was off on a great adventure. A disgustingly smelly corner leads to a run out slab, in turn to overhangs and finally an amazing (although very dodgy looking) flake crack to finish on. Wild positions, wild atmosphere and all the beauty of Gowla thrown in. Very magical with an amazing setting sun as the backdrop.
Dave was clearly enjoying himself when he arrived at the flake with that wild Gowla look in his eyes. Gowla does that to you. Its a sort of a ‘thank God, we’re still alive’ look. Mind you with the light fading fast he didnt have time to reflect.
The second pitch is a bit of a mare. It looks like you can go straight up off the slab. Uhhmm… no. Dave tried that. No gear; teetering rock and plenty of grass made him decide to traverse up right facing in. This led around a corner to an equally tricky step up. Added in was the potential for a hideous Gordian Knot in the ropes so Dave belayed and I came around to do the final bit.
At this point the light was gone and we were in the gloaming. Head Torches on and gear stuffed haphazardly into our bags, we mooched off, with me having an interesting conversation with Chris on the mobile. It was nearly 11pm!
This one will be seared into my brain for a while I think.