Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy Hogmanay

After joining in with Ron and his group yesterday on Jacob's Ladder, I went back into Coire an t-Sneachda today in search of a gully without a queue!
I found one and climbed up on good neve onto the plateau to find a lovely, calm day and more fantastic views. How long can these conditions continue?
There were lots of people climbing in the gullies and Central Gully was very busy as the photo above shows. Quite a few chunks of ice and maybe rocks too were falling down from the Spiral Gully area making the slopes below, not a place to hang around.
All in all, a great way to spend the last day of 2008!

Monday, 29 December 2008

Cairngorm today

Over the past two days I have been out with Ron and the Talisman Christmas winter courses practicing winter skills. Today was navigation and we navigated our way up to and around the plateau with the cloud adding just enough atmosphere at all the right times. We found some mini cornices to stomp through and excellent snow for crampons then just as we reached the summit, the clouds cleared and the views were amazing with a low blanket of cloud pouring into the corries below us.
It was a bit windy on the way up so felt very cold and it was good to keep moving! The ski area was closed due to the winds today.
Pictures and information from Saturday and Sunday here

Thursday, 18 December 2008

A very wintry day at Cairngorm

I went into Coire an t-Sneachda today with Ron and his group of instructors from Hindleap Warren. The forecast was for very strong winds but we walked in and the wind didn't seem too bad so we continued on to the Twin Ribs area.
Ron instructed the group on all aspects of winter mountaineering whilst we got blasted by spindrift and by the end of the day, we were all looking a bit frosted but all had great fun.
A truly wintry experience and lots more from Ron here

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A very windy day today again but the morning was not too bad. I walked into Coire an t-Sneachda (again!) and headed towards Aladdin's Couloir but the thought of how windy it was going to be on the plateau put me off a bit so I went for a wander below the climbs first then back to Aladdin's and up!
The snow was crusty and crunchy to begin with then firmed up as I climbed higher and the wind wasn't so bad after all.
There were just a few other folk out climbing and most seemed to be heading towards the Mirror Direct - at least three parties! I wonder if there is much ice left?
Looks like being windy again tomorrow.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Jacob's Ladder, Coire an t-Sneachda

Today looked like it was going to be the last decent day for a few days so I went for a walk into the coire. I was planning to traverse under the Mess of Pottage and up the ground to the left and back to the plateau but Jacob's Ladder began to look quite appealing as I got nearer so I went up that instead!
The snow was good and the cornice had a slot already dug so that was fine. What surprised me was just how windy it was on the plateau and coming down the ridge to the ski area just after lunchtime was quite exciting. It looked like the skiing had stopped for the day.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Fiacaill Buttress, Coire an t-Sneachda

Lovely weather today and all the popular routes were being climbed. Ron and I went up to climb Fiacaill Buttress and found lots of fresh snow with a bit of a crust. Lots of digging needed!
More from Ron here

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Honeypot, Mess of Pottage

The road to the ski area didn't open until 9:30 today so we were a bit later getting into Coire an t-Sneachda than we planned and chose to head for the Mess of Pottage instead of heading further into the coire.
There were a couple of guys already on Opening Break, our first choice, so we headed up Honeypot. There was heaps of fresh snow and Ron tunnelled and dug and swam up the first two pitches. By the time I came to follow, all the snow that he had cleared was back and this was with only a light breeze. In fact, it was a beautiful day and the wind was much calmer than we expected.
Anyway, up we went and after the first part of the third pitch we traversed off to the side onto easy ground to reach the plateau before it got dark. Also, the guys on Opening Break had nipped in to the top pitch of Honeypot and we didn't fancy hanging around!
The sunset was absolutely stunning though the wind had picked up a little bit when we reached the plateau. Fingers crossed for more wintry weather next week.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Freezing cold, beautiful sunshine - perfect!

It was a beautiful, sunny day at Cairngorm today so it was lovely to romp up the Runnel to reach the sun on the plateau. It's all looking much more wintery and it was fun to climb on snow and ice instead of rock!
The views stretched for miles around only my camera froze as it was so cold so only one picture from me but Ron took loads and video clips too with his shiny new camera so I'm sure some will appear on his blog