Saturday, 28 February 2009

Winter skills in Coire na Ciste

We had a pleasant day in Coire na Ciste practicing winter skills with snow that was good for for all we wanted to do. It was a bit soft for cramponing though! Donald, Una, Patricia, Wye and Alix came along on the Inverness Tiso winter skills day.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Snow anchors and Cairngorm summit

In complete contrast to the crowds of last week, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Coire Cas headwall today sharing it only with a couple of ptramigans. Tom, Chris, Eleanor, Becky and I spent the first part of the day digging out snow belays and practising dynamic belaying. Once we had finished we got the crampons on and made our way up the ridge to have a look at the cornice and then on to look into Coire an t-Sneachda where Tom, Chris and Eleanor will be going tomorrow for a climbing day with Ron. We carried on to the summit of Cairngorm, Eleanor's first Munro!
The weather was kind to us with light winds and good snow for winter skills practice and views too!
Thanks again to Becky for her help over the past few days.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Basic ropework and belays

Today Eleanor, Tom, Chris, Becky and I found a sheltered place to practice some basic ropework and setting up belays. The red squirrels kept us company and we had a pleasant day going over skills that will be useful to them later in the course.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Navigation, snow shelters and more

It was blustery today but colder and we had some brief snow showers poor visibility just when we wanted it as we practiced navigation on our way up to Ciste Mhiread today. The Talisman winter skills and mountaineering courses again joined together for a day of navigation, snow shelters, climbing up and getting down over cornices and a pleasant lunch in a snowhole big enough for us all.
Thanks to Becky for her help again today and for sharing her knowledge with us about glaciers and glaciation.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A change of scene - Meall nan Tarmachan

A day in Edinburgh yesterday and then up to the Ben Lawers Visitor Centre car park and the slopes alongside Meall nam Tarmachan today with the Edinburgh Tiso Winter Skills group
The day started off dry and breezy then got a it soggy later on in the afternoon. Even so, the snow was good for ice axe braking, step kicking and we even found some hard enough for some step cutting and a look at how to use crampons.
Back to Cairngorm tomorrow!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Runnel

After a sociable walk into Coire an t-Sneachda, Sue and I decided to climb The Runnel as it was one of the few routes we could see the start of through the mist!
We shared the route with Ewan and his two clients from Climb365 though they took the right-hand chimney and we took the middle one. The snow was great but we thought that the footsteps in the lower part of the route must have been made by giants!
It was more wintry than I expected and by the time we reached the top, everything was freezing up - winter again!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Half a gully and a bit more

Mark and Becca climbed Half a Gully at the back of Coire an t-Sneachda whilst Gareth and I watched on and enjoyed the views. The snow was great, the views appeared and we met up with Ron and Morris at the top for a group photo.
The corrie was busy with loads of folk out enjoying the day!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Jacob's Ladder

Mark, Becca and I headed up Jacob's Ladder today whilst Ron was over to the right climbing the gully alongside with Morris. There was a big queue at the belay for Hidden Chimney but nobody else on Jacob's Ladder which pleased us!
The snow was soft but good for plunging the shafts of the axes into. The cornice at the top was not a problem though the gap just behind it was a surprise!
Compared to yesterday, it was a much better day but still so mild and now the snow has disappeared from my garden, I can see the first of the snowdrops coming through.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Lots of digging in the mist

Mark, Becca and I were out in Coire an t-Sneachda today digging snow anchors and looking for different types of rock anchor.
It was a misty, blowy and rather soggy day and my camera got a bit misted too so no photos.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Skiing clip from Friday

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Good fun skiing on the trails at Slochd on Friday.
The snow and the tracks were excellent and were being enjoyed by quite a few skiiers. We were surprised by the number of trees that have been brought down by the weight of the snow. They made for interesting challenges to ski around!
See the post below for info about today.

Winter skills from Coire na Ciste

It was rather busy today at Cairngorm and by 09:30, we were almost the last cars to be let in to the lower car park at Coire na Ciste. We were told that folk had been queuing since 07:00 for the skiing. Conditions looked good but there must have been a bit of a wait at the tows.
Our Talisman group of Mark, Ben, Su, Becca and I headed up from the car park towards Coire Laogh Mor to practice step kicking, cutting and ice axe braking and to look at the differences in the snow as we moved around the corrie and up the ridge. Despite the mild temepratures, we found some suitable snow for the crampons too.
Even the reindeer were out in Coire na Ciste today!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

So much snow this morning in Aviemore...

So much snow in Aviemore this morning that the ski road was closed and the traffic queue was apparently backed up to Aviemore. We had a quick change of plan so instead of wallowing in the deep snow to try to reach Coire an t-Sneachda, we all got Nordic skis and headed off around the trails at Glenmore.
The snow was a bit sticky to begin with and lots of effort was put in by Ron who was breaking trail. On the way back, the track was good and the skiing really enjoyable especially skiing around the edge of Loch Morlich.
And it's snowing again this evening! :-)
Photos and more from Ron here

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Skiing through the forest

Blue skies, sunshine, great tracks and lovely snow!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Out in the snow in Coire an t-Sneachda

I was out today helping Ron with his group from the Rockhopper Mountaineering Club. We wanted to find somewhere the group could practice moving over some steeper ground. Initially we were heading towards the Twin Ribs area on the way into Coire an t-Sneachda but there were a lot of groups there already so we went a bit further in and found some great ground away from the crowds.
The winds picked up in the afternoon and it was decidely blowy on our way back down the ridge. The wind had also blown away the track into the corrie as it had filled in with spindrift and we found ourselves trail breaking yet again!
Photos and more from Ron here

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Trail breaking into Coire an t-Sneachda

Tamsin and I walked into Coire an t-Sneachda today though I'm not sure "walk" is the word that best describes how we got in. To begin with, there was a good trail but as most of the folk in front of us were heading off to the Fiacaill Ridge, we found ourselves trail breaking. At times, it was easier and faster to crawl so that our weight was distributed over the deep snow.
It was very peaceful in the corrie, surprisingly and we did some lots of winter skills practice before digging into the snow to make emergency shelters only they ended up quite comfortable as the snow was just great for playing with!
The skiing looked excellent today and I heard from my friend, Elaine that it was as good as it looked and well worth the trip up from the Borders.
Back at Glenmore, we had to dig Tamsin's car out as it had been buried by the snow plough. Our thanks to Bill at Glenmore Shop for use of a shovel.
Ron found similar amounts of snow in Coire na Ciste and more here

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A busy couple of days and heaps of snow in Aviemore

Yesterday I drove down to Glasgow through a very snowy Drumochter to work on one of the Climbmts Tiso winter courses. Today it was back up to Aberfeldy and the snowy slopes below Ben Lawers which were great for practicing loads of skills.
On the drive back up to Aviemore this evening, I was amazed by the amount of snow that had fallen when I was away. My cats would disappear in the snow if they went out into the garden now!
Photos show a view south over Loch Tay, beautiful, snowy hills and good weather and the group from Glasgow.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mess of Pottage and winter skills

Ron took Peter and Martin for a journey onto steeper ground today and I tagged along to enjoy the day and the chat!
They climbed up alongside the Mess of Pottage then headed off to Coire Domhain to look at emergency shelters. I went down by the Goat Track to have a look at the climbs and the queues for the popular routes - Red Gully and Goat Track Gully had heaps of folk waiting to climb and that was quite late on in the afternoon! The routes did look good but unfortunately my photos don't do them justice.
The weather was windy again and the paths were very slippy. The Goat Track was quite a steep descent and not the place for a slip as the rocks below in the corrie looked decidely uninviting!