Friday, 30 December 2011

Snowholing and weird weather

I didn't expect to be updating my blog tonight!

Donna, Simon and I spent today digging out two comfortable snowholes in which to spend the night. The paths had been very icy on our walk up Cairngorm but with enough fresh snow around that we could walk without crampons. Fresh snow was falling throughout the afternoon as we burrowed our way into the snow.

By five o'clock the snow had turned sleety and by six, it was raining! A text from Ron confirmed what we were already seeing -  that the freezing level was going way above the summits over night and by seven o'clock, we had decided to leave our slowly, slumping snowholes. Sleeping bags were stowed away and bags packed and we were soon splashing our way over the plateau on very damp snow, slushy ice and with a strong, very mild, wind blowing.

Before the rise in temperature - enjoying supper!

Leaving the snowholes.

Saturday morning update and Cairngorm Mountain are saying "Saturday 31st Dec, (Hogmanay) Currently 2C at top station, wind speed 35 gusting 50 from the South West. Good visibility with clear sky. Plus 4C at car park . Wind permitting we will open Ciste, Ptarmigan and Cas tows, with the Funicular Railway doing Mid station stops. Runs currently being assessed due to overnight temperature rise and some snow loss. The Snow has softened over night."

Softened, it certainly did!

More from Ron on his blog here.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Wintry skills in Coire na Ciste

Today I went in to Coire na Ciste with Stuart Johnston's Tiso Inverness winter skills group. We were lucky to be sheltered from the wind though we could see the spindrift blowing around us in between the snow showers.
We practised skills using our boots, axes and crampons and had lots of chat about the weather, snow and so much more.
To finish off the day, we walked up on to the ridge to have a look over to Coire Cas and to experience how windy it was outwith the shelter of the corrie then down to have a look at some old emergency shelters on the way back to the car park.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Finger's Ridge, Coire an t-Sneachda

Ron and I walked back into Coire an t-Sneachda today to climb Finger's Ridge. The climb was in great condition with good snow and we soon caught up on the group in front. By this time the winds which had been forecast to drop started to blow us about us to the point where it felt good to be attached to the belays! We by-passed the team in front, who were on the fingers, by traversing off to the left for a quick finish.
More about conditions and more photos on Ron's blog here.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Red Gully & Goat Track Gully, Coire an t-Sneachda

Sunday wasn't planned as a climbing day as Ron was supposed to be working but the University group didn't turn up.
Ron and I walked in to the corrie late on in the morning to see climbers on a variety of routes. We climbed up Red Gully which was straightforward though with thinner ice in places than it looked from below then romped down the Goat Track to climb Goat Track Gully which gave more interesting climbing.
Photos from Ron here on his blog.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Grooved Rib, Coire an t-Sneachda

Great weather again at Cairngorm, more snow and less wind today.
Ron and I walked in to Coire an t-Sneachda to climb Grooved Rib. We had climbed this before taking the right-hand groove so this time we followed the left groove for our third pitch above the snowy ramp.
There was a lot of snow around especially in the groove where we also found some rather unhelpful ice and not many opportunities for protection. At the top of the groove however we found a fun chokestone to climb over and it also gave Ron a very reliable thread runner and a chance to relax and enjoy the rest of the pitch!
The last little pitch had me thinking about climbing on icing sugar....maybe I'm thinking about my Christmas cake!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Central Gully, Coire an t-Sneachda

The purpose of today was for Carron and I to get ourselves back into winter mode! We walked into Coire an t-Sneachda with nothing more definite planned than to enjoy the day and to be back downbefore the strong winds came in which were forecast for later in the day.
We watched the spindrift flying off the Fiacaill Ridge which looked very picturesque, just a pity I forgot my camera. We wandered up to the Trident area then continued our wandering up Central Gully. The snow was good if deep in places and there were lots of icy steps to enjoy.
Back down in Aviemore before the wind picked up and enjoying mince pies and tea when we found out that Ron had tried to join us but his car slid off the road so he had to "ditch" his day. (I know, very bad joke!) The car is now out of the undergrowth, back on the road and appears to be none the worse for its 360 degree spin.
Thanks to Carron for emailing the photos.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Storms, flying buckets and bunkers

Windy and wet in Aviemore with gusts that were strong enough to rip my garden bunker to bits. An old climbing rope seemed the best way of tying it together to keep it on the ground until it can be fixed properly.
I knew I kept that rope for something!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Runnel, Coire an t-Sneachda

Into the corrie for a look and a quick romp up The Runnel so we could keep moving and keep warm. We obviously need to re-adjust to the Scottish weather after the sun in Spain!
Lots of photos from Ron here