Monday, 18 February 2008

Circus skills and snowholes

Today we went to dig snowholes and practise climbing up steeper ground and getting back down again. It was interesting to find out that Charles and Alastair both had experience of "circus skills" with Charles practised in the art of performing acrobatics using long, silk ribbons. He compared the skills he knows with those needed for doing a classic abseil using the ropes in place of the ribbons!

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Ben Macdui and sun on the summit

It was cloudy with a surprisingly cold wind today and by the time we walked down, the grass was white with rime ice and us too, well, a little bit!
Alastair, Charles and I walked into Coire an t-Sneachda and climbed up onto the plateau to find lovely neve for walking on. The snowholes at Coire Domhain were almost as busy as the ski area car park so we walked on and up to the summit of Ben Madui. The cloud cleared at just the right time to give fantastic views.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

And more sun today at Cairngorm

More sunshine though I'm not complaining!
Alastair and Charles enjoyed crampon practise on rock hard neve today whilst Ron's group wandered up the ridge above us.

Views from Beinn Ghlas on Friday

A lovely sunny day yesterday on Beinn Ghlas with great views across to Meall Corranaich and Ben Lawers.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

More sunshine and some fun climbing

Simon, Steve, Mark and Alex and I were out making use of the skills we all practised yesterday. The sun was shining, the views were fantastic and the snow was quite hard for digging belays and good for the crampons.
As if they all hadn't climbed enough, the climbing wall at the ski area gave an additional challenge at the end of the day and the bottom photo shows Simon and Steve showing how it's done!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Snowholes and cornices

We had great fun today digging snowholes, climbing up steep snow and cornices and working out how to get back down again! Jeff, Julian, Dawn, Annette, Anita, Davy along with Kim and I took a little break from digging our own snowholes to squeeze into this comfy snow space!
The weather was even quite kind to us - a bit misty and drizzly in the morning but that was just perfect for navigation then the sun was only just hiding behind a veil of cloud giving some interesting views as we came down.
More details are and a big group photo at

Monday, 4 February 2008

A windy, wintry day

And I thought yesterday was windy!
Today there was meant to be a lull in the wind in the morning but we didn't experience it! I was out with a group from Highpoint Mountaineering with Omar, Hassan, Will, Matt and Rich. The strong wind and spindrift did not deter us from heading up into Coire Cas. It was only when the gusts started to blow us off our feet, we sought a lower location for our ice axe braking practice. The pictures above show just how difficult the conditions were when we stopped to put on crampons.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Snow and lots of it

On Friday I was out with a group from Nottingham University and we swam our way through the drifts up the Allt Mhor patch to the ski area and then onwards to play in some of the deep drifts. More info here on the Talisman Mountain Diary at

Today, Saturday, was quite different with much lighter winds though Colin, Gavin, Ross and I still found heaps of snow and the walking was a bit easier! We ice axe braked in slow motion due to the softness of the snow and then we went for a wander in search of some scoured slopes for cramponing. Great fun!