From the Cairn Ban Archives... 

Taxus on Beinn an Dothaidh

Steve MacLuskie, 12 January 2008

My first ‘proper’ winter climb and a stunning, sunny, still and snowy day.

The thermometer in the car read -7 when we set off from the car park at 8:30 but we quickly warmed up on the 2 hour trek to the base of the climb with heavy rucksacks loaded with ropes and climbing gear. We geared up at an obvious big boulder with another two groups and set off on our climb, the other pair of guys (seen in the pictures) set off on a climb on the other side of the big gulley that splits the North West chunk of Beinn an Dothaidh in two. We were tackling Taxus, which is a grade 3 winter climb up a steep gulley to the South of this big main gulley. Recent heavy snowfall meant that conditions were quite touch in that we couldn't get good secure axe holds in deep powdery snow and progress was slow.

5 pitches later we emerged at the top at 4:30pm to see the last of the sun fading. After packing up the climbing gear (and making the rucksacks twice as heavy again) we walked round the corrie rim and back down the shoulder to the North and descended to our gearing up boulder just as the last of the light faded. We enjoyed some pale light for a while from the sliver of the moon which made the snowy landscape absolutely stunning but after crossing the snowline we needed headtorches for the last hour. When we got back to the car we met the two guys who had been climbing to our North and swapped a few stories of poor snow consolidation and early season neve (I nodded and pretended I knew what they were talking about).

First climb bagged, hope to get climbing again a couple more times before the end of the season.