Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Aberfeldy and more snow

I was down at Aberfeldy today working with Stuart Johnston and the Edinburgh Tiso Winter Skills course. With so much snow about we had lots of discussion about snow whilst we practised useful skills for winter hillwalking.
Back to Aviemore to find that a quite abit of snow had fallen and it had drifted over the main roads as I drove back.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Coire an t-Sneachda

We went into Coire an t-Sneachda today on a good but long trail which made the walking much easier than yesterday. The track goes down towards the stepping stones but don't cross over (unless you want to head towards the Fiacaill Ridge which is where the track looked liked it was heading) as the track then follows the stream up towards Coire an t-Sneachda. Step out of the trail and the snow is at least knee deep!
We were looking for a good place to look at emergency shelters, snow, some basic abseils off snow bollards and more snow! The moraine ridge was perfect.
Today we had views towards the climbs and could see some climbers heading up Aladdin's Couloir, Mirror Direct, Aladdin's Mirror perhaps towards Pygmy Ridge, Red Gully and Goat Track Gully.
The ski area was very busy today and we were lucky to get into the Coire na Ciste car park at nine thirty this morning. The skiing and snowboarding did look fantastic!
More about Talisman Activities and more from Ron here.
Ron is out with Richard, James, Nick and Steve tomorrow to find some steep ground to look at technical climbing skills. I'm off to Edinburgh for the day!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Coire Chais and a brief visit up to the plateau

I waded thorugh the snowdrifts into Coire Chais with Ron's Talisman Activities Christmas Mountaineering group, James, Nick, Richard and Steve. We didn't see much except lots of snow as it was very low cloud so no visibility but a great opportunity to look at picking out safe routes in snowy terrain and lots of navigation too.
We did make it up the ridge to Point 1141, our high point for the day.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Central Crack Route, Coire an Lochain

Yet another fantastic day on Cairngorm. I could get used to all this good weather and great climbing conditions!
Ron and I walked into Coire an Lochain to climb Central Crack Route. After the initial struggle up the tricky start and then a squashy kind of squeeze up the next little slot, we were onto good neve all the way to the top and no cornice.
Lots of folk were out enjoying the climbing and there were queues at the popular routes such as Milky Way and Ewen Buttress.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Message

Another fantastic day at Cairngorm!
Ron and I walked in through the ski area for a change of scenery and dropped down into Coire an t-Sneachda by way of the moraine ridge. Great snow for the crampons and nice, easy walking.
We headed towards the Message and nobody else was climbing on it so it was our route for the day. Lots of folk on all sorts of routes including Honeypot, The Haston Line, Grooved Rib and so much more.
The neve on the route was so good that Ron was halfway up the first pitch before he knew it! So we stopped, sorted ourselves out and up and away. Getting good gear placements was made a bit tricky by the iced up cracks especially on the second (crux) pitch.
This was the first time I had done away with the leashes on my axes except on really easy stuff and used spring leashes instead to stop me worrying about dropping dropping them. To begin with I thought, oh oh, I don't like this but after the next few moves I was won over and decided that it is so much less faff and my hands didn't get as cold as they usually do.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Spiral and Goat Track Gullies

Fantastic weather today on Cairngorm and great to be out playing in the snow for the first time this winter!
We romped up Spiral Gully then down the Goat Track to find a little bit of ice then up Goat Track Gully for a pleasant walk out under a beautiful glowing sky.
Pictures from Ron and heaps more about conditions here