Sunday, 26 February 2012

Cairngorm winter skills - day two

No wind in the morning though it did pick up a bit around midday. This was day two for the guys on the Talisman course and Vish, Dom, Paul and I walked up Windy Ridge then on to Ciste Mhiread discussing navigation, snow, clothing and plastic boots! Once into the little corrie we found it was quite busy with other groups so we explored the existing snowholes before enjoying lunch in the sun then we found some snow slopes to cross that tested our step kicking skills before heading back down.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

La Grave La Meije January 2012 part 2

Ian has been busy editing the pictures and videos. Here is part two with part three hopefully to follow soon.

La Grave January 2012 part 1

Some pictures and video clips from La Grave. There's still more to be edited by Ian so I'll add these as they are completed.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Meall nan Tarmachan

I was out on Saturday with the Climbmts and Tiso Edinburgh winter navigation group. The weather obliged by being very wintry and the cloud came in to give a good navigation day.
We came across an interesting type of gate on the way and some huge icicles too!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Snowholing expedition

Ron was taking Eamonn and Ben on a snowholing expedition so as I had a couple of days free, I thought I would go along to join in the adventure.
Yesterday was less windy than we expected as we walked up the ridge alongside Coire an Lochain and today more so! The return journey up Coire Domhain was quite exciting as we battled into the gusty winds which at times blew us and our heavy expedition bags (and Ron's light expedition sack!) off our feet. It was amazing to see the debris from the avalanche that occurred last week near to the Feithe Bhuidhe. The size of the avalanche and the amount of debris were much greater than we picked up on from recent photos.
We found some pre-dug snowholes which proved to be very comfortable and hard to leave this morning but by careful route choice, we found a relatively sheltered way back down.

More from Ron about his lightweight sack here and more about the trip and lots of photos here.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

A lovely day on Cairngorm

Sue and I took the winter skills and mountaineering group into Coire Chais and up the back of the headwall where we found some great snow to use the crampons on. Once on the plateau and into the sun, we continued up to the summit to enjoy the stunning views today.
We continued our journey down into Ciste Mhiread and after exploring the snowholes, continued back down past a flock of ptarmigan and many skiers. We counted at least seven, ptarmigan that is, there were many more skiers enjoying the lovely day.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

A soggy day on Cairngorm

It was a bit of a soggy day today in the "anticyclonic gloom" forecast by MWIS! However it was still a good day for practising winter skills on various different snow slopes which gave us some hard snow, some soft snow and some very slippy snow.
This was the first day of the Talisman winter skills and mountaineering courses and Sue and I took our groups into Coire na Ciste.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Grooved Rib and into Crotched Gully

Today Sue, Carron and I went out to enjoy the good weather on Cairngorm. We walked into Coire an t-Sneachda and climbed the first pitch of Grooved Ridge then traversed across into Crotched Gully where we met up with Ron, Jason and Jude who were on the Talisman Mountaineering course. They had climbed Crotched Gully and photos from Ron here.
We found a mix of good neve in the gullies and unconsolidated snow where we traversed!
Ron sent through some more photos

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Cairngorm summit and snowholes

The weather was so much better today compared to Saturday though our views over the Cairngorm Plateau were brief. Sue and I, with the Talisman Mountaineering winter skills and mountaineering course participants walked up to the back of Coire Cas then up the steep headwall where good and steady footwork was required then we continued on to the summit. The visibility deteriorated and Sue took us all down to Ciste Mhiread where we found a comfortable and clean snowhole for what was possibly our third lunch!
We dug some emergency shelters then had a look at how we could get down over some cornices using the rope and a snow bollard and then climbing down, both with a variety of fun results!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A bit of a blustery day

It was the start of the Talisman Mountaineering winter skills and winter mountaineering courses today and what a blustery one it was!
We started from the Coire na Ciste car park to get to a sheltered spot to look at all types of movement skills, using the boots, the axes and finally crampons. After some practise at self arrest with and without the axes, we dropped down to lower levels later in the afternoon to look at some navigation techniques.
The forecast looks much more promising for tomorrow!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hell's Lum

With such a good weather forecast for today, Ron and I decided to go over to Hell's Lum to see what we could find. A few other folk were also headed in the same direction including Oli with some of his mountaineering club friends and John and Dave too.
We walked underneath the crag towards the Chancer which Ron quite fancied climbing again but there were quite a few climbers in Hell's Lum itself so rather than wait to climb it's first pitch to reach the icefall of The Chancer we took a line to the left so we could try and cut across a bit higher up. Where there was good ice, it was great but otherwise the ice was a bit thin and the cracks were mostly iced up. We did a couple of short pitches then traversed across into Hell's Lum and climbed down.
Our change of plan had us climbing up Kiwi Gully which gave some interesting and very enjoyable climbing especially the steep pitch in the middle. We had spindrift pouring down on us for the last section but no cornice to contend with!
More pictures on Ron's blog here.